TOWAMENCIN — The North Penn boys volleyball team did not leave an inch of court unattended during Wednesday's showdown with Pennridge.
The Rams came swinging from all different angles, but the Knights were ready. The 3-0 Suburban One League Continental Conference sweep (25-23, 25-21, 25-22) shocked the perennial PIAA playoff team. The Knights needed a win like that to help them pick up confidence moving forward.
"This was a really important early season win ," outside hitter Gabe Stoler said. "Tonight a lot of things click."
Stoler and Kyle Sucro both landed 10 kills in the win over the Rams. Most kills came thanks to a improving blocking system. The Knights got their hands up at the net and the touches led to easy back row passes, which landed in junior setter's Mark Elias' lap. Elias dished out 30 assists and the hitters did the rest. Eric Mellman also managed to rack up seven kills in the win.
"We made blocking adjustments and played much better defense," Knights coach Tim Moyer said. "We are big and if we can get some touches and slow down the other team's offense, we can run with just about anybody."
"Pennridge never loses in three," Stoler said. "We practiced organization, changed our blocking system, and now we are clicking."
The Rams kept it close for a large portion of the evening. The experienced group tried to conjure up some energy, but they never were able to put together a long rally. It left coach Dave Childs,and the sixth ranked team in the state — according to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association's rankings — speechless, and a lot to work on over the next few days.
"They wanted it more than we did," Childs said. "We did not show up, they came out on fire. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game tonight."
The Rams were well aware they were walking into a challenge in the North Penn gymnasium, but they wished they would have been able to at least take a game from the Knights. They had their chance in game three with the score standing at 21-21, but Stoler came up with a timely touch and Sucro ripped a winner down the line.
"They are a real good team," Childs said. "They could beat us, but I wish we gave them a better effort. You have to hope it is a learning experience because we cannot come out like that."
It was by far the best defensive effort for the Knights this season and they can only hope for outputs like the one Wednesday will be there in the future. If they keep swinging and laying out for digs they will find their name in the state rankings in due time.
"Pennridge is a great, athletic squad," Moyer said. "It was a great effort on our side. I know this is the way we can play. The guys needed this to believe."
Follow Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.