Northeastern opened up the first round the state tournament with a sweep of Crestwood. Christian Arnold
MECHANICSBURG – When the District 3 boys’ volleyball tournament concluded last week with another championship, Northeastern coach Matt Wilson wondered aloud if his team wasn’t using Ohio State-bound star Reece Devilbiss enough.
That wasn’t the case on Wednesday when the Bobcats opened their quest for a fourth-straight PIAA Class AA championship at Cumberland Valley High School, against Crestwood.
With setter Matt Schaeffer dishing him the ball, Devilbiss notched 11 points himself during the first game alone. The blitz got Northeastern going and it didn’t stop, as the Bobcats swept the Comets 25-6, 25-11, 25-12.
“He has sort of been an afterthought,” Wilson said of Devilbiss’ role in the offense. “Matt came out and established Reece and eventually we went back to what we do – work the middle.”
Even Crestwood was in awe of Devilbiss, who drilled the first two kills of the game and added four more, to go along with a block as the Bobcats opened a 15-1 lead. Later, he drilled back-to-back aces that made it 21-3.
“He kept feeding me,” Devilbiss said of Schaeffer’s passing. “The past two weeks we’ve been running all middle. I’m not complaining – we’re winning.”
Of course, when the Bobcats did use the middle, Dakoda Hoffman and Jeff Reynolds were ready. Reynolds had three straight kills, and four total during an 8-2 run that helped Northeastern open a 19-7 lead in the middle set.
“This is a different level. It’s the final tournament of the season,” said Wilson.
Northeastern wasn’t about to overlook the fourth place team from District 2, even though the Bobcats easily swept Crestwood last season as well.
Afterward, Devilbiss said it’s a matter of getting ready for the remaining state tourney games.
“We got into it the same way each and every time,” he said. “We are just trying to get everything clicking on all cylinders. We were kind of sluggish in districts. That seems to be the same thing every year. We get to states and turn it on.”