Falcons hold off Warwick in District quarterfinals

By on May 23, 2018

Warwick’s Adam Kurtz hits the ball over the net during the PIAA District III 3A Volleyball Quarterfinals held at Hempfield High School in Landisville, PA on May 12, 2018.

There was no hesitation, no pause to reflect.

David Machamer summed up why his team beat Warwick in one word: emotion.

“My kids did not lose the emotion,” said Machamer, Lower Dauphin’s boys’ volleyball coach, whose team just beat the Warriors 3-0 Monday night in the quarterfinals of District Class 3A Tournament at Hempfield High School.

LD won 26-24, 25-17 and 25-20.

The Falcons, seeded No. 3, pulled out a nail-bitter in Game One, in a set that was tied 24-24. The game was close throughout, featuring 11 ties and four lead changes.

Juniors Adam Kurtz and Chad Meeder provided kills to tie the game at 19 and at 21, respectively.

Warwick’s last lead in the first game was 6-5, but the Warriors, seeded No. 6, tied the game seven times in a never-say-die mindset. They couldn’t get the knockout punch with the score tied at 24.

“In the first game a one-point swing would have changed our kids’ morale,” Warwick head coach Nate Gajecki said. “If we could have won the first game, then we could have kept the momentum going.”

But instead, a talented and young Warrior team making its first District appearance together, appeared emotionally spent in Game Two.

The teams were tied at 6-6 before the Falcons’ Colin Stockton blasted a huge kill to put LD ahead. They never trailed again, outscoring Warwick 19-11 to close out the game.

Warriors ended the game with a service error, which seemed fitting considering how service and hitting errors played a huge factor in this match.

The Falcons’ height and ability to block at the net frustrated Warwick’s outside hitters, Gajecki said.

The Warriors (13-6) finished the game with 20 hitting errors, including eight service errors. They averaged about 12 errors a game.

“The boys were pushing to do their best,” Gajecki said. “They (LD) served much better in the second set. We became very predictable. I am happy with the way we battled back in each game. One thing we talked about was stop playing from behind.

“So now we go back to practice and get ready for Wednesday. If we win Wednesday and win Friday we go to States.”

Warwick will play consolation games against teams to be determined with a spot in the State Tournament up for grabs.

Not bad for a team that finished with a 2-13 record last year.

“For us to get to the District quarterfinals and battle for a spot in States says a lot about these players,” said Gajecki, whose team beat Daniel Boone 3-0 in the first round of Districts last Thursday. “It shows you these boys worked hard in the off-season to get here.”

The Warriors didn’t go down without a fight in Game Three, either. Four times Warwick cut the Falcons’ lead to two points, but could not get over the hump.

At 7-4, Machamer called a timeout. The LD coach wanted to get his point across: don’t give Warwick hope.

“I told them, ‘You got to keep putting pressure on them,’” Machamer said. “If you keep it close, they are going to feel they can play with you.”

Meeder’s kill cut the Falcons’ lead to 23-19, but the Warriors could not get any closer.

Gajecki said Meeder has been consistent with his serve and hits all year. Meeder had a big game, tying Noah Miller with nine kills. Meeder added 11 digs and he and Miller and Foster Lobb each had an ace. Adam Kurtz notched two blocks.

Machamer is relieved he won’t have to play the Warriors next season.

“Warwick scared me coming in,” he said. “They play great defense and I knew they had four guys who could swing. They will be very good next year. I am glad this is our last year in this classification. I’m glad we are moving to Class 2A.”

He’s pleased there won’t be a rematch, emotionally speaking.

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