Northeastern boys win prestigious Koller Classic volleyball tournament

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

EMIGSVILLE — For all of its rich history and success — which includes nine PIAA championships — the Northeastern boys’ volleyball team does not own many titles at the prestigious Koller Classic. In fact, the Bobcats have only won the tournament held at Central York High School dating back to 1976 twice — 2018 and 2021.

Well, make that three times now.

After a nearly 12-hour day of pool play, play-in contests and the playoff rounds Saturday, the Northeastern boys gained both revenge and confidence en route to the finals opposite backyard rival Central York. Despite the hours of play on their weary legs, the Bobcats handed the Panthers their only two losses of the day with a 25-22, 25-18 sweep to capture the title.

Northeastern in between sets against Central during their volleyball game in York, Pa on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

MORE:Another perfect 10: Trinity Thomas ties all-time record

MORE:York-Adams weekend roundup: Dallastown baseball stays perfect with win at Red Lion

MORE:York-Adams League weekend scoreboard: April 14-15

MORE:Staples' last-minute goal lifts York Catholic girls' lacrosse past South Western

In addition to the team title, the senior Zach Trexler was awarded the Todd Goodling Most Valuable Player trophy for his play throughout the day.

“It’s an honor,” Trexler said. “It was a pretty eventful day. There were some ups and downs, but I think for the most part that we really showed up.”

The Bobcats didn’t come out of the gates on fire, as they split their two sets in pool play with Penn Manor to begin the morning. After that, though, the Manchester boys didn’t drop another set all day. During their hot streak, the Bobcats earned satisfying victories over Emmaus — the team that knocked them out of the Bobcat Invitational a few weeks ago — in pool play, as well as against Cumberland Valley, who defeated them in four sets two weeks ago, in the semifinals.

“We shut down a couple of the teams we lost to a couple of weeks ago,” Trexler said. “We came back, fought through some adversity and showed what we were actually made of.”

Northeastern boys’ volleyball head coach Lamar Fahnestock during spring sports media day in West Manchester Township, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Trexler proved his value when he had to fill in for sophomore standout Koltrin Forry early in the Cumberland Valley match.

“Koltrin had something he needed to take care of and Zach did a really good job of filling in,” Northeastern coach Lamar Fahnestock said. “And he played well all day.”

Another big reason the Bobcats walked away with the crown was the play of senior libero Gavin Meador. During the finals, Meador made a handful of big digs to keep the ball from reaching the floor, much to the chagrin of the Central York attackers.

“He’s just an incredible player,” Panthers co-coach John Feldmann said. “Even though he doesn’t play for us, I enjoy watching him play. He’s scrappy and a great passer. You definitely have to account for him wherever he is on the court.”

Central York coaches, from front, Landon Shorts, John Feldmann and Brock Anderson are seen during a match last month. Central York went to the final in Saturday's Koller Classic but lost to Northeastern. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Central York: The Panthers rolled through the competition en route to their appearance in the final. The CY boys swept all eight sets in pool play, then downed Brandywine Heights and State College in the first two rounds of the play-in and playoffs. After a slow start in the semifinals against North Allegheny, the Panthers rebounded to earn a 25-23 triumph in the semifinals.

Despite the setback in the finals, the way Central York played demonstrated to Feldmann and fellow co-coach Landon Shorts that the Panthers have the ability to win the York-Adams League, District 3 Class 3A and PIAA Class 3A titles this spring.

“Just the way that they competed out there today, we’re definitely proud of them,” Feldmann said. “They are just continuing to take steps in the direction that we want to go, and we’ve seen them implement successfully some of the things that we’ve been working in practice.”

Dallastown: The only other York-Adams program in the 20-team field Saturday was Dallastown. The Wildcats took some lumps in pool play as they were in arguably the toughest pod, which included North Allegheny and Cumberland Valley as well as Liberty and Brandywine Heights.

Dallastown finished with a 2-6 mark in pool play, splitting matches with Liberty and Cumberland Valley. The Wildcats downed Chambersburg in the play-in round before meeting up with Northeastern, who claimed a 25-19 victory.