Spring Grove volleyball keeps playoff hopes alive
Spring Grove came into Thursday night in search of a chance to meet its preseason goals, while New Oxford came in already having met a different set of goals.
Spring Grove came away victorious in straight sets (25-17, 25-13, 25-22) to keep its hunt for a PIAA District 3 playoff berth alive.
"It gives us a chance on Tuesday (against Kennard-Dale)," Spring Grove head coach Mike Magalski said. "The goal before the season started was to make it to playoffs. With this win tonight, we have a shot to keep it going on Tuesday."
New Oxford came into its senior night with 11 seniors that have changed the culture around the school's boys' volleyball program.
"Before last year, we had one or two wins a year," New Oxford head coach Jason Barshinger said. "For us to have six wins and even have been talking about districts is a very special feeling."
For Spring Grove, the talk of districts is still very real, thanks in large part to some work the Rockets put in overnight on one of their major weaknesses.
"We worked for two hours last night on blocking," Magalski said. "That's been our weakness all year, and we were able to improve in one night, but we still have a lot of work to do."
The Rockets were only credited with four blocks on the night, but they recorded numerous tips and deflections that altered the attack for New Oxford.
After racing out to a 20-13 lead in the first set, the Rockets closed it out with three kills and a diving dig from Dalton Forbes.
The dig came at 23-16.
Forbes turned back to the net and went airborne for a ball that was hurtling toward the floor. He popped it up in the air with one hand, allowing his teammates to return it, which led to a carry by New Oxford.
Two points later, he closed the set with a ferocious spike that clipped the back line.
New Oxford led 2-0 in the second set before the Rockets ran off four straight points.
The Colonials closed to within 6-5 on a spike by Cal Meyer, but Spring Grove ran off five consecutive points, including two kills and a stuff by Liam Flaherty.
On set point, Forbes dug out another hit, and Jeremy Bossum calmly moved under it to set up for Forbes.
Forbes smashed it down from behind the attack line to win the set.
New Oxford fought hard in the third set, taking a 4-2 lead early and scrapping to 14-11 on senior captain Ryan McMaster's impressive stuff of a power hit.
However, Forbes' kill on the next point started the decisive 7-0 run for the Rockets.
"When I started coaching these guys last year, we made a couple of promises," Barshinger said. "We're going to work hard every day, have fun, and leave the program a better program than we inherited. These seniors did a tremendous job."
After the match was over, the seniors waited in the locker room for their head coach to come cut a cake they had to celebrate the event.
"I absolutely love these guys," Barshinger said. "I'm going to miss them - well I don't want to say that. I want to stay in close contact with them. We've created a family here."