Penn Manor had lost to Hempfield five times this season before defeating their league rival, 3-1, in the District 3 Class AAA boys' volleyball championship Friday, May 27 at Dallastown High School. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
Penn Manor had talked about this very day, this very match. When league power and District 3 perennial power Hempfield kept handing them loss after loss this season, coach Chris Telesco pointed to a day in the near future where everything would come together.
Sometime around the second game of the District 3 Class AAA boys' volleyball championship, the match started to take on that look.
Penn Manor players didn't just respond to points by pumping a fist or shouting toward the ceiling of Dallastown Area High School. The Comets kept coming, continually feeding their big star, Sam Greenslade, in a 3-1 victory against league rival Hempfield. It marked an unlikely scenario, where Penn Manor snapped its five-match losing streak against Hempfield this season by taking the final three games of the district championship match, 20-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-18, to win its first district title since 2005.
"When you lose five in a row, you've got to talk about it, you've got to be honest, you've got to admit that this is a great team," Telesco said about his club's five previous losses to Hempfield. "But all it takes is one. One game, one match to turn all of this around. ...
"All it took was one time playing our best ball, and we did it at the right time."
Penn Manor won a back-and-forth Game 3, when the teams almost took turns winning every other point. By the time Game 4 rolled around, Hempfield looked unglued. The Comets jumped out to a 17-8 lead and coasted to the title.
"Hempfield is a good team," Greenslade said. "We play them a lot. Sometimes you love it, sometimes you hate it. Tonight, we obviously loved getting this one.
"I think (a Game 1 loss) lit a little bit of a fire. I think we got a little tired of it. We were able to keep our heads up and just get after it. "
Greenslade, a George Mason recruit, had 26 kills and three aces.
"I knew if he got hot it would be virtually impossible to stop him," Hempfield coach Mike Vogel said.
Greenslade's play picked up his teammates. Penn Manor's Daniel Fry added 12 kills, and Ruben Kemrer handed out 45 assists. Josh Hess recorded 12 digs.
"We had some good momentum coming out of Game 2, just excitement," Greenslade said. "The fans were loud. Our bench was crazy, all those freshman and sophomores yelling at us."
Hempfield never looked right. Matt Sheerin had 12 kills, but nothing came easy.
"We couldn't score," Vogel said. "We just could not pass the ball, and that's what happens when you can't pass. ... The end result, we just didn't lose we got crushed because we couldn't get the ball to our setter, it's that simple."