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BOYS' VOLLEYBALL: Hempfield claims L-L title with sweep over Cocalico

NEFFSVILLE- When Hempfield took the court vs Cocalico on Wednesday night in the L-L volleyball title game; they left no doubt about who was the best team in the league.

The Knights claimed the league championship in straight sets (25-11, 25-17, 25-23) over the Section Two champion Eagles.

"It's a confidence booster," Hempfield coach Mike Vogel said. "You work hard and the only time you get recognition is for a section championship or league championship and now we have that."

Right out of the gate, Hempfield set the tone; taking a 17-3 lead in the first game before cruising the rest of the way to grab the initial set.

Unlike their semifinal sweep of Lancaster Mennonite, Hempfield didn't let up in the second game; finishing on an 8-3 run to put the pressure on the Eagles.

"We saw what they did in the semifinals against Penn Manor and we really didn't want that to happen to us," Hempfield senior hitter Ben Naumann said.

Cocalico didn't go in the tank however; going on a late 8-3 run in the third game to tie the score at 23-23.

"During the timeouts, Coach kept telling us to stay focused and keep up the intensity," Naumann said. "We were trying to get a little too fancy with some of the kills and he wanted us to play our game and not get outside of ourselves."

A faulted serve and an unlikely kill from Hempfield setter Ethan Williams sealed the game and the match for the Knights.

"We get the kill from my setter, who I had been jumping on all night, and because he got that kill to end the match, he got his pushup total reduced by 100, so he's now down to about 1100," Vogel said.

Mitch Stauffer was the lone Cocalico player to register double-digit kills with 10.

Chris Booth led the Knights with 14 kills and 12 digs while Naumaan added 10 kills and 7 digs. In addition to Williams' lone, yet clinching kill, he registered 35 assists.

After the match, Naumann was named MVP of Section One for the second straight year.

"It's definitely nice that the coaches selected me but at the same time, while I'm in the gym practicing with the team, we're working towards a league title and not individual accolades," Naumann said. "But this is nice and I definitely appreciate this."

The league title is Naumann's second of his career with the last coming during his sophomore year.

"It's great because I'm not going to have any regrets down the road when I'm older," he said. "It's nice to have it and be able to look back on it." Hempfield will begin their District 3 Class AAA playoff run Monday when they play the winner of Exeter/Dallastown.

Cocalico will begin their Class AA run on Monday as well when they take on Brandywine Heights.

"We're going to move on. We're guaranteed one more match and if we win that, we're probably guaranteed three more matches," Vogel said. "You just have to enjoy the journey. You don't know what's going to happen but this is a great ego boost and confidence builder."