Northeastern boys' volleyball coach Matt Wilson admitted his team hit a bit of a lull last week.
There were certainly reasons for that, not the least of which was a jam-packed schedule the Bobcats have played.
Perhaps more importantly, Northeastern was missing a key cog in its lineup. Senior outside hitter Cory Bair missed two weeks with a left knee injury.
Without Bair, the Bobcats hit some rough patches. They lost two games in a State College tournament to District 10's Meadville -- the squad which overtook Northeastern as the No. 1 team in the latest PVCA Class AA state rankings.
Bair returned to the floor Tuesday at Dover, and should provide a big boost for a Bobcats team hoping for a deep postseason run. The senior had eight kills, six blocks and three aces in Northeastern's three-game sweep of the Eagles.
"Especially from the service line, I thought he did some really nice things," Wilson said. "That's one area of his game he's been working on."
Wilson said Bair's injury -- which involves his kneecap -- came up last year as well. When healthy, Bair is a key part of Northeastern's talented lineup of hitters, which includes juniors Ian Tyger and Alex Reichard. Bair had two kills and a block during Northeastern's decisive run in game one Tuesday, and nailed two aces to help the Bobcats take control of game three.
Bair will need to be effective on Thursday, when the Bobcats host Central York (the No. 3 Class AAA team in the state) in a game which will decide the YAIAA regular season crown. Both teams are 10-0 in league play this year.
"I just feel like we still have a whole level we can reach," Bair said of his team's effort Tuesday. "Hopefully we reach that level by the end of the year.
"We made a lot of errors the first and second game (on Tuesday). We picked it up towards the end."