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BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Hitting errors, mental mistakes cost Chambersburg in loss to Central Dauphin

CHAMBERSBURG >> For the first 15 minutes of Thursday night's boys volleyball match, Chambersburg looked extremely strong.

The Trojans used a versatile attack to gain a four-point lead on Central Dauphin in the first set of the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division matchup. But then Chambersburg literally had a meltdown.

"I'm speechless; I really don't know what's going on," Trojan coach Marta Cummings said. "Practice doesn't ever look like this. When we're done practice, I feel good coming into the game, and then the game is just a whole different situation."

After allowing the Rams to tie the first set at 20-20, Chambersburg committed five straight errors to give CD the victory. Central Dauphin went on to claim a straight-set victory, winning the next two sets, 25-13 and 25-19, respectively.

"Game 1, we were kind of clawing our way through it, and I had to give our guys a bit of a pep talk," CD coach Josh Brenneman said. "When you see a team is down, you want to be a little more aggressive on the service line. I thought we controlled the ball a little better than they did tonight."

The snowball effect clearly took place for the Trojans (0-4, 0-2 MPC). After allowing CD (3-1, 2-0 MPC) to steal a victory in the first set, Chambersburg looked like it had fallen apart in the second set. The Rams ran out to an 18-4 lead before Chambersburg finally started to make some noise. Five of the Trojans' 13 points in Set 2 were won because of service errors.

"It was definitely a snowball effect," Trojan libero Kenny Coppens said. "Our guys, they make one mistake, and half the team is trying to pick the other guys up. But if all six of the guys aren't playing like they know they can play, we can't seem to get out of that mindset."

Give some credit to CD, though. The Rams boasted several strong hitters, and they used tips to their advantage.

"There's times before each point that I'll say to a certain person, 'Be ready to hit the ball, it's coming your way,'" CD setter Jake Kershner said. "There's also times when I'm up front, and I think a dump will work. But mostly, you don't think you're gonna tip – you see the other side of the net, see they're not reacting, and you gotta get it to that person or tip it yourself."

Kershner finished with six kills, as did Ozzy Hudson, and Tyler Flowers led the way with seven. Kershner also had seven blocks.

"We did a little better job of bunching in the court to put some pressure on their middles a little bit, because we knew they had two really good middles," Brenneman said. "The guys stayed pretty disciplined tonight. We drifted past their hitters a little bit, but when they stayed in the system, they were getting those blocks."

Billy Russo was the top hitter for Chambersburg with seven kills. Landon Miller and Riley Washington had just three apiece, and the Trojans finished with 18 hitting errors.

"We definitely came out strong, and we had some runs early," Russo said. "But they had a few runs, too, and I feel like they just wanted it more tonight. Everything we need to be good is there – passing, setting, even the killing and blocking. I think we just had a big mental lapse, and we lost focus."

On defense, Russo and Coppens had seven digs apiece, while Ian Patterson and Will Gerhart each dug six balls.

Central Dauphin 3, Chambersburg 0

Sets — CD 25-20, 25-13, 25-19

at CASHS Field House

Central Dauphin Statistics

Kills — Tyler Flowers 7, Ozzy Hudson 6, Jake Kershner 6, Nick Notestine 4; Blocks — Kershner 7, Notestine 4; Assists — Kershner 21; Digs — Jon Veli 11, Kershner 9, Carter Eck 7; Aces — Tyler Flowers 4.

Chambersburg Statistics

Kills — Billy Russo 7, Landon Miller 3, Riley Washington 3; Blocks — Brady Picking 3, Miller 2; Assists — Jayson Sollenberger 6, Ian Patterson 6, Kenny Coppens 2; Digs — Russo 7, Coppens 7, Patterson 6, Will Gerhart 6; Aces — Russo 1.

JV score — Chambersburg 2, Central Dauphin 0 (26-24, 25-18).