Northeastern volleyball wins state quarterfinal
Northeastern swept Christopher Dock Mennonite in a state quarterfinal matchup, but District 3 foe Manheim Central awaits in the state Final Four on Tuesday. Jim Seip, GameTimePA
LEESPORT - Even with all the questions Northeastern had about its opponent in Saturday's PIAA Class 2A boys' volleyball quarterfinal match, it was only a matter of time before the Bobcats figured things out. In fact, it took less than 56 minutes.
The four-time defending state champions advanced to yet another Final Four with a 25-16, 25-18, 25-17 sweep of District 1 champion Christopher Dock Mennonite Saturday at Schuykill Valley High School.
"Where it gets tough is you don't see these teams on a consistent basis," Northeastern coach Matt Wilson said. "We had to work pretty hard to get film ... and a scouting report."
The Bobcats faced the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect from Dock Mennonite.
"I honestly never know what to expect," Northeastern senior Dakoda Hoffman said about yet another state quarterfinal matchup. "This was a tough match for us."
"We sort of just had to adjust on the fly," Northeastern's Cole Brillhart said.
But they did.
Northeastern went on an early run, recording six straight points to build a 7-1 lead in Game 1. The Bobcats never looked back, with Cole Brillhart crushing the final kill of the game to put Northeastern in front.
In Game 2, the comfort cushion shrank, but the Bobcats cruised to another victory.
Dock Mennonite cut the deficit to 15-13 at one point in Game 3, but even then the Bobcats had enough to finish off the match in machine-like fashion.
Brillhart led Northeastern with nine kills, and freshman Nate Wilson added seven — including an impressive hit he pounded off an opponent's chest. Hoffman had a team-best four blocks. Brillhart and Hoffman each had two aces.
Now comes a rarity. Northeastern faces District 3 foe Manheim Central. It's a program located almost in their backyard, but the Bobcats did not face the Barons this season, even with the Bobcats' challenging invitational schedule.
Manheim Central fell to York Suburban in a District 3 semifinal, but the state semifinal matchup could be the Bobcats' biggest challenge in 2017.
"We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us," Wilson said. "They have fantastic talent and they can beat you in a lot of ways."
Northeastern boys' volleyball won its fifth consecutive District 3 title, defeating York Suburban 3-0 Friday, May 26, 2017. Jim Seip, GameTimePA