Northeastern wins battle of league unbeatens vs. York Suburban; other Tuesday boys' volleyball

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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Before the season began, Aug. 26 was a date that was circled on the Northeastern boys’ volleyball schedule.

To say that the Bobcats were looking forward to their Tuesday night clash with state-ranked York Suburban would be a bit of an understatement.

“Oh, yeah,” Northeastern senior Owen Kohr said succinctly. “For sure.”

With a lot of uncertainty heading into this season, after the retirement of longtime coach Matt Wilson, the Bobcats wanted to use Tuesday’s battle as a statement game, both around the league and around the state.

The Trojans certainly got the message.

After falling behind 1-0, thanks to a big showing from Suburban standout Brady Stump, the Bobcats displayed the poise and resiliency that was the hallmark of Wilson's great teams over the past quarter-century and claimed the next two sets.

Not even a hiccup in Set 4 could throw off the hungry Bobcats. The visitors stormed out to a big lead in Set 5 before closing out a thrilling 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 15-7 victory.

“That was great,” said Kohr, who blasted down the final kill of the evening to set off a celebration on the court by the entire Northeastern program and coaching staff. “That is like the best feeling, to have that winning kill right there.”

Bobcats in good position: The triumph puts the Bobcats in prime position for a chance to claim the York-Adams League regular-season title. Northeastern improved to 8-0 in the league with the victory, while previously unbeaten Suburban fell to 8-1.

Early on, however, it seemed like Suburban, the No. 3 team in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 2-A state rankings, would be tough to stop. Stump put on a show in Set 1, blasting 10 of his 31 kills to set a positive tone for the home squad.

First-year Northeastern coach Lamar Fahnestock definitely took notice of Stump’s blistering start. Instead of sticking with the pregame blocking setup against Stump, Fahnestock called an audible by inserting Kyle Renner opposite Stump.

That move paid off. Stump had trouble generating the booming kills that highlighted Suburban’s victory in Set 1.

“I thought we would go with a bigger block on (Stump),” Fahnestock said. “That didn’t work out, so I brought in Kyle, who is a veteran and a senior and he did the job.”

The Trojans, however, are more than just a one-dimensional outfit. Jacob Brenner (11 kills), Jackson Bryant (five kills), Ben Kimes (four kills) and Matthew Torres (four kills) all came up with some big kills, even though the Bobcats defense made it tough for the Trojans to put balls away.

Northeastern shows perseverance: The perseverance showcased by the Northeastern boys in rallying back from an early deficit, as well as washing away the sour taste of defeat in Set 4, was vintage Bobcat volleyball.

Kohr, who finished with 10 kills on 35 attempts, was drenched in sweat after the marathon victory.

“York Suburban has always been a tough competitor for us,” Kohr said. “And I know that everyone was kind of questioning how our season was going to go, but I think that it’s pretty evident from our record, and what we did here tonight, that we’re pretty solid.”

Pressure should pay off later: The pressure that each side applied certainly should pay dividends for both programs down the road.

The reassurance of knocking off a big-time squad, such as Suburban, will do nothing but wonders for the Bobcats, who suffered nonleague losses to Meadville (No. 1 ranked in the state in 2-A) and Cumberland Valley (No. 3 in the District 3 3-A power rankings.).

The setback for the Trojans is something that coach Oliver Good hopes will serve as a bit of a wake-up call for a team aiming at earning a state title.

Jacob Hornberger led the Bobcats with 15 kills on the night while Zack Kilpatrick finished with 13 in the victory. Tyler Finch dished out 46 assists for Northeastern while Gavin Meador registered 26 digs for the Bobcats.

OTHER BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL

Central York 3, New Oxford 0: At New Oxford, the Panthers won 25-17, 25-13, 25-15. Individually for the Panthers, Matt Smyser had 12 kills, four digs and three aces. Also for Central, Ryan Roberts had seven kills, eight assists, six digs and three aces, Christian Bucks had nine kills and Lance Shaffer had 12 digs and three aces. Central is now 7-2 and has won six straight matches.

Red Lion 3, Susquehannock 0: At Susquehannock, the Lions (9-3) won the road match, 25-11, 25-16, 25-15. Gabe Sedora led the Lions individually with 10 kills and seven digs. Also for Red Lion, Joey Kozak had 11 kills, Tyler Good had eight kills, three aces and three digs and Logan Crowe had 39 assists.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.