Aces in the cards as Northeastern sweeps Cocalico to reach district final
Good serving in volleyball can produce two positive results.
First is the ace, which is what most casual fans know, partly because it is on the stat sheet.
Second is the disruption of the opponents' offense, which limits their options and makes them predictable.
Wednesday in the District 3 Class AA semifinals, Northeastern star Reese Devilbiss provided the first — nine aces — while his Bobcat teammates took care of the second as the Bobcats throttled Cocalico, 25-10, 25-6, 25-15.
The two-time defending district champions will meet No.3-seeded Lancaster Mennonite in Friday's final set for a 6 p.m. start at Dallastown.
In the opening semifinal at Central York, the Blazers knocked off second-seeded Schuylkill Valley, 25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18, to earn a spot in the championship match.
Northeastern coach Matt Wilson felt the service game turned what he expected to be a tight match into a Bobcat sweep.
"I think we were very good from the service line," he said. "I think they were on their heels a lot. We made them run their offense from 10-15 feet off the net, and that is good for us."
The biggest run on serve for Northeastern (16-0) came early in the second game where Devilbiss ripped off 13 consecutive jump serves, including four of his aces.
But the floater serves by teammates Drew Landis (two aces), Chris Lee and Brandon Arentz took Cocalico (14-4) out of any semblance of a diverse offense.
When Eagles hitters weren't making attack errors, they were giving the Bobcats easy free balls, which Arentz was more than happy to take.
"(Free balls) lead to us getting easy points. When we get them, we can run our middles and that draws blockers," said the junior outside hitter.
After two easy games for Northeastern, Cocalico held the lead through much of the first half of Game 3, the last one at 13-12.
But Northeastern responded with a five-point run off Arentz' serve, getting a couple of Jeff Reynolds' kills in that stretch.
Close third games have been a problem for Northeastern most of the season, something that Wilson is stumped to explain.
"I'm a little perplexed by what's taking place in third games," he said. "It's a pretty mature team. It's an issue."
Cocalico head coach Dave Weaver chalked the one-sided affair up to the difference in experience.
"They're used to (playoff matches), and we're not," he said. "We had to just come out and play the game. Obviously, we didn't do that."
Northeastern def. Cocalico 25-10, 25-6, 25-15 at Central York H.S.
Northeastern stats — Reese Devilbiss (9 aces, 9 kills, 2 blocks). Matt Schaeffer (25 assists). Phil White (1 ace, 13 kills, 2 digs). Drew Landis (2 aces). Chris Lee (2 digs). Matt Thornton (2 kills). Jeff Reynolds (5 kills).
Cocalico stats — Dylan Sattazahn (4 kills, 1 ace). Mitch Stauffer (4 kills, 2 digs). John Waskowicz (4 kills). Nick Baxter (4 digs). Deep Bharani (2 digs). Garrett Strunk (14 assists).