Perhaps Northeastern’s sweep of Red Lion Tuesday night was a bit misleading.
The Bobcats did defeat the Lions in three games (25-23, 25-22, 25-23), but it was far from an easy win for undefeated Northeastern. The second-place Lions clawed through every moment of the game and kept pace with the visiting Bobcats before they eventually pulled away.
“I would probably say that Red Lion deserved (to win) all three (games),” Northeastern head coach Matt Wilson said. “I thought they did everything in their side that they needed to do. My hat's off to Red Lion.”
The Lions have had a strong season this year, holding a 7-3 overall record and 5-2 mark in league play. Red Lion has gotten contributions out of Dillon Hildebrand, Cole Brillhart and John Longnecker, all whom played well on Tuesday.
Hildebrand and Brillhart each had 15 kills and an ace against Northeastern. Longnecker had 33 assists.
“I definitely think they haven’t gotten as much credit as they should in the preseason,” Northeastern star outside hitter Reese Devilbiss said about Red Lion. “We knew at the beginning of the year, even before the season started, that they were going to be one of the best teams in the league. We knew coming into this game that it was going to be a big one. They proved it.”
The Lions showed a lot of heart Tuesday, Red Lion coach Rick Torbert said.
“They rise to the occasion when we play tough teams,” Torbert said. “I think they deserve a pat on the back for everything they did tonight.”
Red Lion has a win over York Suburban this season, saw tough competition in the Bobcat Classic, and played a competitive match with Central York earlier in the year. The Lions can now add giving Northeastern a run for its money to their list of accomplishments.
Torbert hopes the team can take away a lesson from their latest experience.
“If we’re going to be at county championships and hopefully hang in there to make districts,” Torbert said. “We’re going to see big teams and we gotta play like this. If we don’t play like this we’re going to go down.”
The Bobcats are hoping to take away a lesson or two for themselves from Tuesday night. Not one for being complacent, Wilson hopes his team will head back to practice and improve on certain aspects of their game.
“We have some issues and we’ll go back to the drawing board,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll re-emerge from the gym in a couple days much better than we were today.”