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IMG_4367BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – With the girls’ volleyball regular season winding down, last night afforded Elco a chance to look ahead and Lebanon County neighbor Lebanon an opportunity to look back. And when each did, they saw success.

On Monday evening inside the Lebanon High gymnasium, the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three residents met with quite competitive and spirited results. But in the end, it was more seasoned Elco which pulled out a 24-15, 16-25, 25-15, 17-25, 15-5 result over the Cedars.

With the action, points and momentum shifting back and forth all evening, it was the seven straight Elco points on senior Emily Hauck’s service at the end of Game Five which proved to be pivotal. Prior to the start of the fifth game, the Raiders had owned the slightest of 83-80 edges in points won on the evening.

IMG_4336Then after the two sides had split the first six points in Game Five, Elco won four key points in-a-row, before turning things over to Hauck.

With one match left to its regular season, Elco, now 11-6 overall and 7-2 in Section Three, is primed to repeat appearances in the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three Class AA postseasons. But by all accounts, 2014 has also been a success for the Cedars, now 6-9 on the campaign and 4-5 in the section.

“We needed to win these last two matches to get into districts,” said Elco head coach Paul Dissinger, whose charges resided in the 14th position in the latest Class AA power rankings. “The season has been particularly good, going with six girls most of the time. It’s a great testament to them. They’re almost playing every minute of every game. And we graduated four all-stars (from 2013).

IMG_4260“Coming in, I knew we had a chance to be good,” Dissinger continued. “But we were bringing in a freshman, a transfer from Cocalico and (senior outside hitter) Jillian Baker had been injured most of last year. So we had three unknowns. It was really how quickly we would jell.”

“This is the highest winning percentage I’ve ever had coaching with the girls,” said Lebanon head coach Jeff Albright. “To go out and be third in the section, and be ahead of some of the other good teams, that’s a win right there. We’ve certainly had our high moments.

IMG_4344“Filling in the holes from other years, the girls had to step into new roles,” continued Albright. “Our expectations coming into the season? We wanted to run with some of the leaders in our section. We met our expectations. Once we got into third place, it was all icing on the cake. Finishing third is something the Lebanon girls’ volleyball team hasn’t done in recent memory.”

With Elco up two games to one and threatening to put an early end to the match, the Cedars fought back in Game Four. The Cedars ran off seven early points on Pamela Bencosme’s serve to open a commanding 7-1 lead.

The Cedars also enjoyed advantages of 11-4, 17-9 and 21-12, before winning it 25-17.

IMG_4356The Raiders had taken the middle game of the set courtesy of a 13-5 run that turned a seven-all draw into a 20-12 advantage. Andria Harpold proved to be the catalyst for the Raiders’ success.

“We were sort of Jekyll and Hyde,” said Dissinger. “In three games, we looked really good, and in the two other games we lost focus. We had a lot of unforced errors – 18 missed serves and 25 spike errors. That’s tough to overcome. But they (his players) pulled it out at the end. That’s not taking anything away from Lebanon. I thought they played well.

“I don’t think there really was a turning point,” added Dissinger. “We started off well. In the games we started out well, we won. It was steady, and we stopped making mistakes.”

IMG_4319“Tonight was one of the best cohesive nights we’ve had as a team,” said Albright of his club’s ‘Senior Night’. “It (the action) was back and forth. Our wins this season have either been 3-0 or 3-1. And our losses have usually been 3-0. A match like tonight will build character. It shows the growth of our team.

“It was the momentum,” Albright added. “Volleyball is all about momentum. Timely kills. Timely points. Timely passes. We stole the momentum in Games Two and Four. We got in their heads. But once we got down five points (in the fifth game) we talked about living in the here and living in the now.”

IMG_4345The Raiders captured eight of the first ten points of the evening and opened a 17-7 bulge in the opening game. But the Cedars turned the tide in Game Two, using a 15-4 burst ignited by the serves of Shayla Aponte and Bencosme, to shatter a 6-6 tie.

“For us to do what we what we do, our passing game has to be on,” said Dissinger. “When the passing is on, everything else clicks for us. In the two games we lost, we didn’t cover ground and we were back on our heels. The other thing for us is blocking.

“You always have go with Chandelle Keller,” Dissinger continued. “She does remarkable things all over the court. She didn’t play all that well tonight and still ended up with 14 kills. Jillian Baker also had some good moments. They’ve been my two main offensive weapons all year.”

IMG_4311“Paul’s one heck of a coach,” said Albright of Dissinger. “He’s well versed in volleyball, and it shows in his girls’ play. He’s worked with their fundamentals and skills. They’re (the Raiders) tough to beat when they’re on point.”

Baker paced Elco with 18 kills, while Harpold contributed 15 assists. For the Cedars, Shayla Aponte had 15 digs and Melissa Tess had 11 assists.

“It’s been a nice run for us,” said Dissinger, whose squad is now 26-3 in Section Three over the last three seasons. “We’ve been pretty good with our program. We’ve been in double-digit wins almost every year. That’s very good. But the idea for our schools is for the girls to play as many sports as they can. But one of the things that hurts us is we have kids coming out in August who haven’t touched a volleyball all year.

IMG_4285“They’re (the Cedars) good,” Dissinger added. “You always know that when you’re playing a Coach Albright team that they’re going to be scrappy. We knew we were going to have the firepower, but that they’re going to dig a lot of things out.”

“I’m proud of the Lebanon girls’ volleyball program,” said Albright. “Lebanon itself doesn’t get the respect in athletics. It’s great to get Lebanon out there, and be portrayed in a positive light. Just breaking stereotypes. That’s what we’re all about.”

Lancaster-Lebanon League

    IMG_4256  Section Three

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Cocalico 9-0 11-2
Elco 7-2 11-6
Lancaster Mennonite 5-4 6-9
Lebanon 4-5 6-9
Columbia 2-7 5-15
Northern Lebanon 0-9 1-12

 

District Three

  Class AA Power Rankings

 IMG_4376School W L T Rating TWP OWP
1 Delone Catholic 12 0 0 .783556 1.00000 .519013
2 Berks Catholic 11 0 0 .758617 1.00000 .463592
3 West York 12 2 0 .694995 .868421 .483029
4 Bermudian Springs 12 2 0 .694858 .857143 .496510
5 Brandywine Heights 10 2 0 .671880 .827586 .481572
6 Eastern York 12 4 0 .668697 .767442 .548009
7 York Suburban 10 3 0 .654417 .782609 .497738
8 Susquehannock 11 5 0 .635996 .709302 .546400
9 Fleetwood 10 4 0 .629815 .718310 .521655
10 Trinity 11 5 0 .623923 .730769 .493333
11 Gettysburg 9 7 0 .589269 .609756 .564230
12 Hanover 10 4 0 .582804 .681159 .462591
13 Boiling Springs 7 6 0 .560955 .584615 .532036
IMG_435314 Eastern Lebanon County 10 6 0 .550352 .636364 .445227
15 Big Spring 9- 7- 0 .537510 .602564 .457999
16 Wyomissing 8- 7- 0 .512785 .533333 .487671
17 Schuylkill Valley 7- 7- 0 .509945 .492537 .531220
18 Northern York 7- 8- 0 .485939 .492958 .477360
19 Kennard Dale 4- 11- 0 .434902 .297297 .603084
20 Milton Hershey 5- 11- 0 .434112 .347222 .540310
21 James Buchanan 4- 9- 0 .422515 .327869 .538194
22 Lancaster Mennonite 6- 10- 0 .421017 .397436 .449838
23 Littlestown 5- 10- 0 .411105 .320000 .522456
24 Oley Valley 4- 10- 0 .381666 .271429 .516401
25 Conrad Weiser 2- 13- 0 .357354 .181818 .571898
IMG_433926 Middletown 3- 15- 0 .345725 .182927 .544700
27 West Perry 1- 14- 0 .307099 .071429 .595142
28 Northern Lebanon 1- 11- 0 .273090 .068966 .522574

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