Northeastern boys' volleyball breezes into PIAA semifinals
In a matchup between two top-10 ranked programs in the state, Northeastern defeated North Pocono, 25-7, 25-16, 25-13, in a PIAA boys' volleyball Class AA state quarterfinal at Easton Middle School. The Bobcats entered the match as the No. 1-ranked team in the state, while North Pocono was ranked No. 10.
"I think more than anything we were worried about letting them get out to a quick start and building a belief system that they can win the match," Northeastern coach Matt Wilson said.
Northeastern took care of any worries when it jumped out to a 10-0 lead in Game 1 and rolled to the 3-0 victory. The Bobcats' Phil White recorded 11 kills and Reese Devilbiss added nine kills.
Northeastern advances to a state semifinal to play Holy Redeemer at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Exeter Township High School.
"This will probably be one of the biggest matches of the year," Wilson said. "I'm expecting a very close match, one worthy of a state semifinal."
Holy Redeemer defeated Lancaster Mennonite, 25-20, 25-21, 25-11, to reach the semifinals. Holy Redeemer will be facing its third straight District 3 opponent in the tournament, and, like Northeastern, it has won six straight games in the tournament. Wilson noted Holy Redeemer is big team that returned its core players and is "much improved" in service reception from a year ago.
Traveling more than 100 miles on the day - six Northeastern senior players graduated Saturday afternoon - the Bobcats needed a little more than an hour to earn the sweep.
"I think it went as well as it probably could have gone," Wilson said about playing on graduation day. "No real hiccups."
Northeastern is the lone District 3 entry still alive in the Class AA tournament after Lancaster County's Cocalico fell to Saegertown, 3-1.
The 16 points Northeastern allowed in Game 2 marked the most points it has allowed in its two state tournament matches. It swept Crestwood in the first round.
Northeastern is looking for its third consecutive state championship. The Bobcats have five state titles (1992, 1993, 2010, 2013, 2014) in program history, including three since 2010.
Northeastern def. North Pocono 3-1 25-7, 25-16, 25-13 at Easton Area MS
North Pocono — Matt Morris (4 kills, 5 digs), Zack Gething (4 kills, 6 assists, 5 digs), Nick Linko (4 kills).
Northeastern — Reese Devilbiss (9 kills, 3 blocks, 3 aces), Phil White (11 kills, 2 blocks), Matt Thornton (7 kills, 4 blocks), Jeff Reynolds (3 kills, 2 blocks), Matt Schaeffer (32 assists)