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IMG_3257BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – All the evidence pointed towards it being true.

But the Hershey Trojans weren’t really undefeated. They just hadn’t played Palmyra yet.

On Tuesday night within the cozy confines of the Palmyra High School gymnasium, in an apparent Mid-Penn Conference Colonial Division showdown between two unbeaten girls’ volleyball teams, the Cougars mowed down rival Hershey, 3-0. Palmyra defeated the Trojans 25-15, 25-22, 25-6.

IMG_3235The result gave the now 10-0, 8-0 Cougars the inside track on their fourth straight Colonial Division championship. The outcome left Hershey 7-1 overall and 7-1 within the division.

In its ten matches this fall, Palmyra has won 30 games and dropped only two.

IMG_3193“Hershey’s a rival,” said Palmyra head coach Clark Sheaffer. “They’re always a rival, They were undefeated coming in. We’ve got people who live close to Hershey. It was kind of the talk: ‘Who was the better team?’ We were at home, so it was to our advantage. And a lot of kids were excited tonight.

“It’s good to win your division and see how high we can go in the power rankings,” continued Sheaffer. “We want to have a good position when we go into districts.”

IMG_3237After toughing out a win in the second game of the match, Palmyra really smelt blood in game number three. But it may have the opening game which was the key to the triumph, the one that set the tone for the entire match.

The Cougars spotted Hershey a 2-0 lead, then ran off 13 of the next 16 points to open a 15-5 bulge. Then after weathering a bit of a Hershey push, Palmyra closed out the opening game with a 10-4 burst.

IMG_3201“I thought the first game we came out and played pretty well,” said Sheaffer. “We played our game. In the second game, we kind of laid off. But in the third game, we started performing. It worked out well for us overall. Hershey is a solid team. It’s going to be tough when we go to their house.

“I thought if we just played the way we should have, we’d be OK,” Sheaffer continued. “We can beat ourselves. I thought the first game was pretty solid. In the second game, they (the Trojans) got a lot on us. In the third game, we figured it out.”

IMG_3224Hershey enjoyed leads of 4-1 and 8-4 in the second game, before Palmyra strung together six straight points to forge a 10-8 lead. The game was tied twice after that, but the Cougars tallied seven more unanswered to open a 20-13 advantage.

“They’re our leaders,” said Sheaffer of senior big hitters and captains Molly Gundermann and Josie Stovall. “They played pretty well tonight. And Kristin (West) was consistent. But I don’t know if anyone stood out. Everyone played their game.

IMG_3198“Our philosophy is to make it difficult for other teams to hit the ball back over,” added Sheaffer. “We found where we wanted to go and who we wanted to go at. We were trying to serve to get an easy ball back, in order to run our most potent attack. But it doesn’t work if you don’t serve well.”

And the third and clinching game of the set was all about the service of Stovall.

Palmyra ripped off 15 consecutive points on Stovall’s serve to turn a 5-2 game into a 21-2 margin. The Cougars simply coasted home from there.

“Yes, it is good,” said Sheaffer of the campaign his club is currently putting together. “Our goal is to prepare for who we’re going to play in districts. We want to develop our program. We’ve gone through our league (in the past), and run into a tough team in districts.

IMG_3118“We’ll never get this program on the map unless we go beyond our fish bowl,” Sheaffer added. “Are we pleased? Sure. But we have a lot to work on. We’re not where we want to be yet.”

Stovall paced the Cougars with three kills, three blocks, three digs and an ace, while Gundermann contributed three digs and three blocks. West posted ten assists and Melanie Sheaffer served a pair of aces.

“This is probably the most talented team in the program’s existence,” said Sheaffer. “We have decent players and we have some depth. Are we good enough to go up against some of the elite teams out there? I don’t know.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to see more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-nine/.

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Mid-Penn Conference

 Colonial Division

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Palmyra 8-0 10-0
Hershey 7-1 7-1
Trinity 5-2 8-2
Mechanicsburg 5-3 6-3
Lower Dauphin 4-4 4-5
Milton Hershey 3-5 4-6
Middletown 1-6 2-7
Harrisburg 1-7 2-7
Steel-High 0-6 0-10

IMG_31602015 Palmyra Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/05
Manheim Central
11:00 AM W 3-0
09/09
@Warwick
7:00 PM W 3-1
09/10 *
@Steel-High
5:00 PM W 3-0
09/15 *
Trinity
6:30 PM W 3-0
09/17 *
@Harrisburg
6:00 PM W 3-0
09/21 *
Middletown
6:30 PM W 3-1
09/22 *
@Milton Hershey
5:30 PM W 3-0
09/24 *
Mechanicsburg
6:15 PM W 3-0
09/28 *
@Lower Dauphin
5:15 PM W 3-0
09/29 *
Hershey
6:30 PM W 3-0
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
10/05 *
Steel-High
6:30 PM Palmyra High School
10/06 *
@Trinity
7:00 PM Trinity High School
10/08 *
Harrisburg
6:30 PM Palmyra High School
10/12 *
@Middletown
7:00 PM Middletown High School
10/15 *
@Mechanicsburg
7:15 PM Mechanicsburg High School
10/20 *
Lower Dauphin
6:30 PM Palmyra High School
10/22 *
@Hershey
5:00 PM Hershey High School

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