Chambersburg has strong potential heading into the season. Don't believe it? See for yourself in volleyball highlights vs. Carlisle. Video by Lindsey Smith
When a team returns just one starter from an inconsistent season, the outlook doesn't always look promising.
But that's not the case for the Chambersburg boys volleyball team, which, despite returning just one senior starter, has potential to do big things this season - as previewed in Thursday's home game against Carlisle.
The Trojans claimed a 3-0 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division win over the Thundering Herd, despite immense pressure in the final points of each set. Chambersburg earned set wins 25-22, 26-24, 25-22, respectively.
Don't sweat it: Despite being stacked with first-year starters, it seemed like nothing could rattle Chambersburg. Late in the second set, the Herd scored three straight points to delay Chambersburg's win, but the Trojans forged back to claim a 26-24 win in the second game.
"We were pretty scrappy tonight," Chambersburg coach Marta Helfrick said. "We kept a lot of balls off the floor and when we were down we still showed some fight and some energy. It showed a lot to come back in a few of those games. I think that will take us further than some of the other things."
Chambersburg's back line, comprised of two sophomores, Wes Newman and Treyton Stepler, joined by veterans Dalton Strite or Dylan Culler, helped the Trojans stay in it late.
"Our back row is pretty nasty," Chambersburg's Nathan Walker said. "For as young as they are, their playing level and maturity level is really high, so I have to give them a lot of credit."
Senior spark: Similar to the second set, Carlisle pressured late in the third game, but Chambersburg (2-0, 2-0 MPC) had a secret weapon waiting on the bench.
Walker punched in the last three points with explosive energy to lock in Chambersburg's set and match win over Carlisle.
"Our coach had just told us that we needed one point to get us going and we could pretty much put it away," Walker said, "and that was literally all I could think about to push for that last point. So I did everything I possibly could."
"His effort has been tremendous the last two weeks," Helfrick said. "He was our backbone tonight. Our offense was off and on with everyone else, but he seemed to be pretty consistent. And then picking the team up with some blocks and some other plays at the net was really helpful."
Chambersburg was also sparked by Strite, the lone returning starter, and Culler, a vocal veteran who saw varsity time last season.
Attitude change: "The team chemistry and their attitude this year is tremendous and a big difference," Helfrick said. "I think that is allowing us in these close games to come out with the win."
And despite not having many years of varsity experience, most of the team has played club volleyball, which has not only helped the transition, but also the overall team chemistry.
"I honestly thought I was going to be under a lot of pressure, but it turned out not at all," Strite said. "Everyone has been stepping up way better than last year and that was our issue before and it's fixed now. We are playing better and playing with confidence."
Notes: Chambersburg's offense was led by Walker, who had eight kills, followed by Strite with six ... Walker and Will Simmers each had three blocks ... Kellen Stepler had 22 assists ... Strite also had four aces.