Comeback kids: Warriors earn State berth in bounce-back season

By on May 30, 2018
Warwick’s Mateo Chacon (5) sets the ball as teammates Foster Lobb (far left) and Lucas Sauder move into position at the net in the District Three Triple-A fifth-place match last Friday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Warwick’s Mateo Chacon (5) sets the ball as teammates Foster Lobb (far left) and Lucas Sauder move into position at the net in
the District Three Triple-A fifth-place match last Friday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

If there was a theme to Warwick’s boys volleyball matches last week, it was ‘Never Quit.’

Against Mechanicsburg last Wednesday, May 23, the Warriors found themselves trailing two games to none in a District Three Triple-A consolation game, only to rally for a remarkable 3-2 victory (34-36, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-9).

Then on Friday, with Warwick trying to hold off a pesky Governor Mifflin squad in the third game, Mateo Chacon came up with a superb dig, leading to the clinching point in a 3-0 shutout.

As a result, the Warwick boys nailed down a District Three fifth-place finish and punched their ticket to the State Triple-A Tournament.

“Mateo had a great dig and we had two or three guys chasing after balls,” junior outside hitter Foster Lobb said, “and we were finishing out plays that had no business of us winning the point. Just never giving up and knowing that you have a chance at everything if you put your mind to it, that was the difference in the game, in my opinion.”

It was just the latest chapter in quite a turnaround season for the Warriors, who have gone from finishing 2-15 a year ago to competing in States.

“We all know that we had a lot of potential (last year),” Lobb said, “but we were all extremely young and inexperienced and we just couldn’t pull through in close games. We worked really hard in the off-season and know that that we all deserve what we have in front of us right now. We’re hoping to show everybody (Tuesday) that we deserve to be there.”

Lobb led the team with 11 kills against the Mustangs and shared match-high honors with Chad Meeder in digs, each with 12, as the Warriors prevailed 25-17, 25-17, 26-24.

The two teams were tied 15-all in the third, and then on match point, with Warwick up 24-23, Chacon’s dig kept things alive and then Noah Miller’s kill finally sealed it.

“We had the mindset that it was our goal to make it (to States) and beat this team,” Lobb said. “We knew (Mifflin) was a beatable team, they put up a good fight, but I think in the end, we just played a much better complete match than they did.”

Earlier, Warwick had several service errors and Mifflin was still close at 15-11 in the opening game.

“I think we were all kinda nervous, but we realized that before the match, we’re a good team and we had in our minds that we could do this,” Lobb said.

A 5-2 run by the Warriors extended their lead to 20-13 before eventually grabbing the early driver’s seat with a 25-17 game-one decision.

In the second, Warwick jumped to a 14-9 edge. Meeder, Aaron Morrissey and Lobb each had a service ace, Adam Kurtz chipped in with three blocks and Lobb did his part at the net with kills.

“Our setters just did a great job putting the ball up for me to just go put it away and things started to click,” Lobb said. “There were times when you’re in the zone and you can see things before they happen, and I guess that’s where I was. We all played great defensively, and like I said, our setters were doing a great job on Friday night. Mateo Chacon is setting when I’m front row, then Connor Baer goes front row for him, and they both did a phenomenal job.”

Eventually, Warwick finished off the second set 25-17, setting the stage for the clinching third game.

“We were all having a good time (on the bus ride home) making plans for the weekend with each other and just enjoying the moment while we had it,” Lobb said. “But we all knew that when it came time (Monday) before practice that we had to go to work and we’ve got work to do (in States).”

Last Wednesday against Mechanicsburg, Miller’s kill put Warwick up 32-31 in game one and then Meeder’s swing — one of his team-high 17 kills — tied it 34-all, but the Wildcats scored the final two points to put away a marathon 36-34 decision to grab the early advantage.

“Even though we lost the first game, it was so fun to play,” Lobb said. “All the fans were into the game and the bench was electric. Once it was into the 28-28 situation, we knew it was going to be a dogfight the rest of the match. It was incredible to see all of our guys just giving it everything and knowing that what was on the line was important to not just me and not just them, but to everybody.”

Game two was tied 13-all, but then Mechanicsburg went on a 10-7 run and eventually clinched a 25-20 game two win on an ace.

But an early 8-2 lead in the third kick-started Warwick on the comeback.

“We realized that we just had to keep pushing,” said Lobb, who finished with a match-high 19 digs. “We had nothing to lose. We weren’t supposed to be there. We were 2-15 last year and nobody expected us to be anything fantastic, but we came out and just kept pushing away.”

Later, Kurtz, who finished with a match-high seven blocks, stepped up with a couple big plays to put Warwick up 21-15and they eventually got in the win column with a 25-21 decision.

Onto the fourth, the Warriors kept the momentum rolling with a match-tying 25-17 victory. Chacon and Meeder each had three aces to lead the service game.

That set the table for the decisive fifth game, and it was deadlocked early a 2-all, 3-all, and 4-all.

But a kill by Meeder, followed by a WHS block, put the Warriors up 7-4. Later, another kill by Meeder put Warwick in front 13-8, and Miller’s spike eventually completed the big comeback.

“That was a fun night,” Lobb said. “We played for a little bit over two hours. They put up a great fight in those first two sets and we came out with the mindset that we can still win this game. We gave it everything we had and I think (Mechanicsburg) was a little tired from the first two, but we never quit and our coaches did a great job of keeping our heads in the game. That’s always the biggest thing with volleyball is, if your mind’s there, you can do just about anything.”

 

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