BOYS' VOLLEYBALL: All four L-L teams advance to state quarters
It was an action-packed day for the L-L League as the state volleyball tournament commenced on Wednesday.
All four of the qualifying Lancaster teams advanced to Saturday's round of eight.
In the AA bracket, Section Two winner Cocalico upset District 7 winner Ambridge at Norwin High School, 3-1 (25-21, 25-15, 18-25, 26-24) and prevented the Bridgers from making it to at least the state semifinals for the first time since 2011.
"Coming into the tournament we knew that anyone we would play would be a great team," Cocalico's John Waskowicz said. "Our approach to tonight's game was to focus on our play rather than work ourselves up over Ambridge's past success in the state playoffs. We kept telling ourselves that it was just another game."
Mitch Stauffer led the Eagles with 17 kills while Waskowicz and Dylan Sattazahn both added 7.
"Tonight we came out with a lot of energy, which is something that has been difficult for us all season," Waskowicz said. "We had some trouble with Ambridge's tips in the third game but our defense tightened up in the fourth and our offense fed off our defense."
Cocalico will now play District 10 winner Saegertown, who swept Derry in their opening round game.
"It's been great having had the opportunity to make it this far in the postseason. We're taking one game at a time but us seniors want a chance to play in the state finals, a day after we graduate on June 6," Waskowicz said.
The Eagles' Section Two rival, Lancaster Mennonite also advanced to the state quarterfinals in Class AA after sweeping Palumbo, 25-5, 25-12, 25-18 at Wilson West Lawn High School.
Senior hitter Zack Alderman led the Blazers with 9 kills while setter Garyd Martin added 17 assists.
Lancaster Mennonite will meet up with District 2 winner Holy Redeemer on Saturday.
In AAA, Hempfield had similar success after they swept Pennridge in their opening round contest, 25-22, 25-20, 25-13.
"Our approach coming into tonight's game was shutting down their outsides; we knew they were going to be hungry," senior hitter Ben Naumann said. "At this point in the season it's 'do or die' and we've played them close two times already in tournaments and came out on top so it's obvious they wanted payback this time."
Naumann explained that his team stepped up in a certain aspect of the game to keep the momentum on their side.
"Our key to winning was absolutely our block. For a team that doesn't excel at blocking we did an extremely good job tonight and it took a huge load off of our defense to be able to stop them at the net. Cole Rineer set up a steel curtain and didn't let anything through.
Hempfield will now play Emmaus in Saturday's quarterfinal matchup.
"There's no way we are ready to end our season yet and for us to win a tough game at the start of the tournament is a huge confidence booster," Naumann said.
Hempfield's Section One counterpart, Penn Manor rounded out the evening with a sweep of La Salle College, 25-8, 25-10, 25-16.
The Comets will now take on Parkland from District 11 after they downed Council Rock North in five games on Wednesday.