Baron boys advance to District semi-finals

By on May 24, 2018
Manheim Central senior Tanner Stauffer (left) tips the ball over Cocalico’s Caleb Horning in Monday night’s District Three Double-A playoff quarterfinals. Photo by Alan Johnson

Manheim Central senior Tanner Stauffer (left) tips the ball over Cocalico’s Caleb Horning in Monday night’s District Three Double-A playoff quarterfinals. Photo by Alan Johnson


For the third time this season, Section Two boys’ volleyball foes Cocalico and Manheim Central faced each other on Monday evening.

This time, on the Barons’ home floor, the stakes were a little bit higher with a berth in the PIAA District Three Double-A semi-finals on the line.

The script for this match was the same, as the Barons notched a 3-0 shutout (25-22, 25-11, 25-15) in the quarter-finals, but also different in that Cocalico pushed the Barons on their home court, including an intense toe-to-toe battle in set one.

Seeded number two, the Manheim Central boys (18-1) had beaten Cocalico (11-9) by identical 3-0 scores on March 29 and April 24. The 7th-seeded Eagles advanced to the second round by downing 10th-seed Dover 3-1 last Thursday.

Eagle junior Avery Stark had six of his team-high 12 kills in that first set. He knew that Central featured the outside swings of senior Tanner Stauffer and junior Mason Nissley.

“We heard that Stauffer was hurt, so it was mainly Nissley,” Stark said after the match. “We tried to key on him as much as we could. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned.”

Nissley did get his points with a match-high 13 kills, but Stauffer also found the floor eight times and contributed two key blocks in the critical first set. Senior Isaac Shenk (9 kills) and fellow senior Gabe Stewart (6 kills) added depth to the Central offense for senior setter Ben Burkhart (39 assists).

“It makes my job so much easier,” Burkhart remarked. “I trust each and every one, no matter where I am on the court — and no matter what time in the game it is.”

There were only three runs of three points in the first set, two by each team. The Eagles’ only leads came at 4-3 and 5-4, but the Barons biggest lead was three, an advantage that they reached twice. The second was on Nissley’s kill to seal the Manheim win in set one at 25-22.

Much of the Cocalico success in that set came on the finesse game, directing balls just beyond the reach of the Barons.

“I just saw some shots were open and went for it,” Stark said. “Wherever the ball was, I tried to put it in the open spot.”

“We know that they like to tip (at the net),” Burkhart noted. “We were able to just read and react. We knew we were going to have to move on defense and be able to adapt to anything.”

That adaptation by Manheim Central led to relatively easy wins (25-11, 25-15) in the last two sets to wrap up the match. It moved the Barons to Wednesday’s semifinal matchup with No. 3-seeded Palmyra at Dallastown.

“We played them (Palmyra) in the Warwick Tournament,” Burkhart said. “They’ve got a few great players, so we’ll have to focus on blocking. We’ve got to know where to go with them and play some defense around it.”

That match took place after deadline. Manheim Central will qualify for the State Tournament with one win in either of their next two matches. The District championship and third-place matches will also be played at Dallastown on Friday evening.

In Monday’s match Cocalico had offensive contributions from seniors Bryce Templin (6 kills), Adin Frey (5 kills) and Tommy Denlinger (28 assists). Frey had four blocks to lead the defense.

The Manheim Central arsenal also had kills from junior Ben Wolford and senior Brad Myer, while Nissley fired three service aces.


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