Manheim Central holds off the Warriors
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
To say that the early-season schedule for the Warwick boys volleyball team has been a challenging one would be an understatement.
Last week, the Warriors faced the State Triple-A third-ranked team in Hempfield and suffered a 3-0 loss.
Then this past Tuesday, they were back on the court against the State Double-A fifth-ranked team in Manheim Central. The Warriors ended up suffering a 3-0 loss (25-20, 27-25, 26-24) to Josiah Hershberger and the Barons, but only a combined eight points separated the two teams.
"The boys are right there," Warwick coach Nate Gajecki said. "Even though we’re losing games 3-0, the funny thing about volleyball is … games two and three, if you change one of those plays, instead of them getting the point and us getting the point, we end up winning those games."
Hershberger was a big reason that the Barons (2-0 Section Two, 3-0 overall) prevailed in the end. The senior middle hitter recorded a match-high 26 kills and seven blocks to lead the way.
"Both teams played at a pretty high level," Central coach Craig Dietrich said. "Warwick played great defense all night. I think really the difference for us was Josiah really played at a high level tonight. He had 26 kills … That’s eight kills a game, so they really couldn’t slow him down a whole lot."
"They’ve got one of the best players in the state with Josiah Hershberger," Gajecki said.
In the first game, Manheim Central was able to put together a couple of nice runs while getting out to the lead and the Barons eventually held on for the five-point win to grab the inside track.
"The difference between the first game and the last two games was we got Warwick a little bit more out of their offense in the first game," Dietrich said. "They didn’t start with a good pass, so they were limited with their hitting options and we were able to kinda capitalize on that."
The Warriors, though, tightened things up in the next game and, in fact, jumped out to an early advantage. Senior Colby Weit registered a team-best 10 kills and tied with Gavin Schaffer with two blocks apiece. Wyatt Wingenroth led with two aces.
"I thought we executed a lot better," Gajecki said. "We got out on early leads, so when they did go on their short little runs there, that only put us down two or three points rather than five or six points. Then we were able to battle back and make some plays."
Dietrich credited Warwick’s defense for making things tough on an experienced front line for the Barons.
"I was impressed with the level that Warwick played at," Dietrich said. "It took four or five chances sometimes in a rally until we got to put a ball away, which was a credit to their defense but also good patience to our offense to not try to overthink it or try to look for something that wasn’t there."
There were a number of lead changes and tie scores throughout the game before Hershberger finally clinched the Barons’ 27-25 game-two win with a kill.
Still, with the Warriors down 2-0, they didn’t go quietly and again claimed an early edge in the third. But the Barons played some stingy defense of their own, as Shawn Sauder ended up with 14 digs, and Central eventually prevailed 26-24 in another close battle. Brayden Fahnestock chipped in with eight kills and Robbie Lawyer handed out 41 assists.
"We had the match-ups that we wanted," Gajecki said. "(Central) just kinda made some hustle plays toward the end and that was the difference in the match … It was good quality volleyball, and right now, (Craig)’s got the better team. I would like to play him later in the year — hopefully maybe for a League championship. But we’ve both got pretty good teams. His kids just got the better of us tonight."
Last Thursday, Warwick earned its first win of the season, defeating Manheim Township 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-13) in a Section One match. Kurt Maysilles led the team with 11 kills and three blocks, while Schaffer added three blocks and one ace. Jon Gonzales and Zach Gingrich also had an ace.
Manheim Central was on the winning side in a Section Two match against Garden Spot, getting three blocks from Hershberger and two aces by Lawyer in a 25-15, 25-14, 25-12 decision over the Spartans. More VOLLEYBALL, page B-6