The Lions won three straight sets to improve to 2-0 on the season
Cameron Mummert didn't know what to expect on Thursday night.
The Spring Grove boys' volleyball coach was making his coaching debut against Red Lion in the Rockets' season opener. Although he played volleyball for the Rockets during his own high school days, the 2011 Spring Grove graduate admitted it hasn't been an easy transition.
"Coaching is totally different than playing for sure," Mummert said. "It's a huge change that I have to adapt to and as the season goes on I'm sure I will. But I try to go into every game with an open mind."
The Rockets weren't able to give Mummert a victory in his first game calling the shots, as they lost to the Lions 3-0 on the road. The scores of the three sets were 25-13, 25-17 and 25-10.
While Spring Grove (0-1) showed some life in the second set by scoring five points in a row to cut its deficit to two points, it was unable to handle a Red Lion (2-0) lineup that is both deep and talented. The Lions have 10 seniors on their 13-man roster.
While the Rockets went 11-6 last season, they graduated their top-two players in Austin Muff and Dalton Forbes and are relying mostly on underclassmen this season. Still, Mummert believes the team has quality leadership and just needs to develop its skills.
"Right now we're just trying to rebuild and get back to where we were," Mummert said. "The whole team is pretty strong vocally. They all could be leaders if they needed to."
Red Lion head coach Rick Torbert is in a similar position to Mummert, having just taken over the Lions program this season. But while Torbert is also coaching at his alma mater (having graduated from Red Lion in 1983), he helped coach Red Lion's girls program the past four seasons and has 12 years of experience under his belt.
He also has the luxury of inheriting a team with plenty of experience. The Lions went 9-6 last season and with most of their lineup back believe they can make some noise in the YAIAA.
"It's been great because I didn't have to spend the first two weeks of the season working on fundamentals, they already have that," Torbert said. "We could work on details and getting focused. They don't make many errors and coming back after an error and correcting it is what they're good at."
Even with 10 seniors in their lineup, the Lions are relying heavily on sophomore Cole Brillhart this season. After finishing with 214 kills and 142 digs last season as a freshman, Brillhart has picked up where he left off. He paced Red Lion on Thursday with 10 kills, four digs and three assists.
"It's been a little bit different (having a new coach) but it's been better, a lot more serious and more tough," Brillhart said. "Wins like tonight are good to get everyone's confidence up for team's like Northeastern and Central (York)."
Spring Grove def. Red Lion
25-13, 25-17, 25-10
At Red Lion
Red Lion stats — Dillon Hilderbrand (3 aces, 4 digs, 7 kills, 2 assists), Cole Brillhart (1 ace, 4 digs, 10 kills, 2 blocks, 3 assists), John Longnecker (4 aces, 4 digs, 1 kill, 37 assists), Levi Davis (3 aces, 18 assists), Bennett Frey (2 digs, 7 kills, 3 blocks, 3 assists), Josh Donaldson (4 kills, 1 block), John Janowiak (2 kills), Caedan Sweeney (1 kill, 1 block), Garrett Aguilar (4 kills, 1 block), Joel Zamora (2 digs, 1 assist), Colby Myers (2 aces).
Spring Grove stats— Dakota Parker (1 kill, 12 digs), Noah Wilson (1 kill, 2 digs), Luke Huffnagle (4 kills, 5 digs), Aaron Mummert (1 kill, 2 digs), Mason Staub (1 kill, 6 assists, 2 digs), Caleb Becker (3 assists, 2 digs).