Champs! Manheim Central blanks York Suburban for District crown

By on May 29, 2019
Manheim Central’s Brandyn Musser swings away for one of his 13 kills in last Friday’s District Three finals against York Suburban. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Manheim Central’s Brandyn Musser swings away for one of his 13 kills in last Friday’s District Three finals against York Suburban. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

After taking home silver medals in the Lancaster-Lebanon League, District Three and PIAA State tournaments last year, the Manheim Central boys’ volleyball team captured gold last Friday evening.

The top ranked Barons blanked No.-3 seed York Suburban 3-0 to win the District Three Double-A title at Central York High School with set scores of 25-18, 25-21 and 25-20. The Trojans had been ranked number one in the state by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, a position that Manheim Central now holds.

“It’s awesome,” said Baron senior Mason Nissley, who recently broke the school career record for kills. “I’m so happy right now. It’s great.”

“It’s incredible. It’s a dream come true,” senior Brandyn Musser added. “These last two years, all we got was silver. To finally come out here and get a win this big is huge.”

Nissley (24 kills) and Musser (13 kills) led the attack at the net. Their swings were set up by sophomore Jeremiah Zimmerman with 41 assists. Zimmerman also had the lone service ace in the match.

Senior Luke Babinchak had 10 kills to pace York Suburban, while senior Noah Chojnacki quarterbacked the offense with 16 assists.

Defensively, Musser led the team with eight digs, while Nissley topped the front wall with four solo blocks. Musser and fellow senior Ben Wolford also chipped in with two blocks apiece.

Senior Nate Bowman fronted the Trojan defense with four solo blocks, while junior Harrison Gettie patrolled the back line with 12 digs.

“Tonight we played incredible defense,” Nissley said. “We had guys diving into the stands. We had guys laying out for balls and just everything was getting up (before hitting the floor).”

The two teams were no strangers to one another, with York Suburban having earned a 3-2 non-league win over the Barons on April 11.

“Tonight, we played a lot better defense than we did, when we played them in the regular season,” Musser said. “I think our guys wanted it a little bit more.”

Set one was an even battle when a 10-10 deadlock represented the fifth tie of the match. The Barons then went on a four-point run, highlighted with blocks by Musser and Nissley. From there, Central never trailed for the remainder of the set, taking advantage of off target hitting by the Trojans, including the set point for a 25-18 triumph.

Set two swung toward York Suburban early as four blocks led to a 13-8 Trojan lead. A five point Baron run, including Zimmerman’s ace and three other effective serves, evened the set at 13-all. Another momentum run of three straight broke a 19-19 deadlock, paced by two kills from Musser. Eventually, Musser’s kill ended the set at 25-21.

“The blocking was just a miscommunication on our part,” Nissley said. “We made the adjustment and swung around the blocks.”

Set three started with two Nissley kills and a 3-0 lead that Manheim Central would never give up. York Suburban closed within one on three occasions, but two kills by Nissley and another by Musser bumped the lead to four at 17-13. A block by Musser took the air out of the Trojans and increased the lead to 22-17.

“(Brandyn) played amazing,” Nissley said. “It was fun to watch him just going up there and taking over the net.”

Ultimately, Nissley’s kill clinched not only the third game at 25-20, but the match as well.

“It’s huge (for our confidence),” Musser said. “After losing in the League semi-final, I could tell we were a little down. So for us to win this, it’s going to be great momentum, going into States.”

The PIAA Tournament opened Tuesday, when the Barons blanked District 12 third seed Archbishop Wood at Dallastown High School in the first round.

The State quarterfinals will be this Saturday, where the Barons will face the winner between Palumbo and Abington Heights.

The Barons could face York Suburban again in the State semi-final on June Fourth, should they both continue to win.

***

In the District Three Double-A semi-finals last Wednesday, May 22, senior Mason Nissley had a match-high 24 kills and Manheim Central shut out No. 4 seeded Lower Dauphin 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-23) at Hempfield High School.

The victory sent the Barons (15-2) back to the District finals for a second straight year.

“They all feel good,” MC coach Craig Dietrich said of returning to the championship match after graduating seven seniors, “but this one was really about a team that I don’t think anybody believed in or respected. I don’t think we got a whole lot of respect for how we came about our season. We have kinda laid a little bit low, but it’s funny, when you don’t lose a game in the Section for three years, that’s pretty hard to do. And we had three new starters, lost three All-State players, so this one feels pretty special.”

The Falcons (14-4) were actually riding an 11-8 lead in game one before a missed serve and four straight LD errors propelled Manheim Central on an 8-0 run, giving them a lead they never relinquished.

“I think it set the tone,” Dietrich said. “To use a fight analogy, we’re both throwing punches for about the first 20 points of the first game, and then all of a sudden, we kept punching and they got on their heels a little bit. And I thought that kinda set the tone for how we wanted to continue to attack.”

One of Brian Swist’s team-high three blocks cut the Falcons’ deficit to 23-21, but Nissley’s kill resulted in the game-one 25-22 clinching point.

“I don’t think there’s many nights where Mason isn’t the best player in the gym in the state of Pennsylvania,” Dietrich remarked. “I can’t even use an adjective. Special doesn’t even do it justice. He’s an incredible kid, incredible athlete, and an incredible teammate.”

The two teams had four ties in the early going of game two, including a 9-9 deadlock, before a 6-1 run by Manheim Central put them up to stay. Still leading 19-14, Brandyn Musser’s kill started another 6-1 run, clinching the 25-15 victory.

The Falcons, though, didn’t go away, and they found themselves tied 16-all, 21-21, and 22-all late in the third. But a Lower Dauphin serve error and then Nissley’s gave the Barons a 24-22 lead, and then Musser’s kill ended it.

Musser also chipped in with five digs on defense.

“(Brandyn)’s a Swiss army knife,” Dietrich said. “He literally can do everything. He’s awesome in the back row, he can play right side, he can play middle or he can play outside. He can set if he really needed to, so he’s a Swiss army knife, for sure.”

Setter Jeremiah Zimmerman led the way with three aces and 33 assists.

 

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