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When it comes to girls' volleyball in Lebanon County, the Cougars are at the head of the class. 

IMG_0083BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – Don’t look now, but the Palmyra school district is in the midst of a pretty good scholastic fall season.

So what’s the Cougars’ girls’ volleyball team’s role in this success? It’s more about living up to their own high expectations than trying to keep up with the Joneses.

On Thursday night, the Palmyra v-ballers showed why they’re no one’s poor stepchild, with a convincing 3-0 Mid-Penn Keystone Division home sweep of Shippensburg. The Cougars defeated the Greyhounds 25-5, 25-12, 25-20.

Despite some liberal substituting, Palmyra was forced to navigate only one rough patch all evening, when it fell behind 11-4 in the middle of the third set. But the Cougars rallied and netted 21 of the next 30 points to complete the whitewashing.

IMG_0101The triumph upped Palmyra’s overall mark to 7-2 and its division record to 6-0. With the result, the Cougars retained a two-game lead in their quest for a fifth straight division championship.

The loss dropped the Greyhounds to 0-8 on the season and 0-6 within the league.

“It’s interesting you brought that up,” said Palmyra head coach Clark Sheaffer. “I chose to come to Palmyra. I work with the field hockey coach (Kristi Costello). The football coach (Chris Pope) and I are friends and I’m aware of their success. I graduated in 1987 from Palmyra. This is my home. I’m very energized and invested. I think this community has really embraced volleyball.

IMG_0020“Personally, I have high expectations. I feel like I want to be the best coach I can be,” continued Sheaffer. “We’d like to get this program to be like the field hockey program, one of the top programs in the state. It takes commitment. It takes help, and other coaches and parents are in. It’s getting there. We’re gaining respect. But we’ve never been to states yet. This year we have a chance. Our goal is to do well in districts and enter states. It’s on us now.”

With its starting lineup intact, the Cougars cruised to a 20-point win in the first game.

Palmyra rattled off the final ten points of Game One to place an exclamation point on the opener. The Cougars had opened a 10-2 lead, after winning six consecutive points on junior Kristin West’s service.

“The news around the league was that Shippensburg wasn’t the strongest team. And we knew it,” said Sheaffer. “Our plan was we were going to go with our starting lineup the first game, and mix it up the rest of the way It’s nice to have one team where you know when you play your back-ups you’re still going to come out on top.

IMG_0028“The fact that we only have two more home games was important,” Scheaffer continued. “I haven’t gotten my bench players in much, so it was significant. We’re decent throughout. The girls put in time so they deserve to play. At one point, I sat five of my starters.”

Not unlike the opener, the middle game of the set was about how Palmyra finished.

Nursing an early 8-7 edge, the Cougars closed it out with a 17-5 burst. Included in that was five straight points from Alicia Vazquez’s serve, which gave Palmyra a 22-10 lead.

“It is nice to have some degree of flexibility,” said Sheaffer. “That’s why we practice it in practice. Some of the girls need preparation. It is very important. Some of the girls are not comfortable if they don’t practice it.

IMG_0006“That’s why sports are so great, because they are a reflection of life,” added Sheaffer. “A capitalist society is a very competitive society. The girls need to learn to compete and work as a team. Volleyball is one of the most competitive team sports out there. Without a pass or a good set, you can’t show you can hit. It’s a really good life lesson.”

The Greyhounds hit the Cougars with an early 9-1 run to take a seven-point advantage in the third game.

Palmyra’s response was a 12-4 spurt that gave it a 16-15 edge on Kailey Elrod’s serve. The Cougars then netted the match’s final six points on Maggie Black’s service.

“Three of the girls I threw in were JV players,” said Sheaffer. “They made their share of errors, but they pulled together. And I think Shippensburg gave more of an effort. I was actually considering calling a timeout. I was like, ‘Are we going to go down to the wire on this?’

“If we kept the starters in the game, the scores would’ve been like 25-5, 25-7, 25-10, or something like that,” added Scheaffer. “But what’s the use? I did not want it to go four games.”



Statistically speaking, the Cougars were paced by LeeAnn Baker’s 12 assists and West’s six assists. Palmyra’s Black and Elrod each recorded five kills, while Mallory Lachance contributed three digs.

“We got caught off guard when we played Red Lion and West York,” said Sheaffer of the Cougars’ two losses. “We came in cold and they jumped on us early, and it was over. I think things happen for a reason. It might put us in the best spot for districts.

IMG_0014“But things are going well,” continued Sheaffer. “The thing is the program is strong. One of the reason they changed the league around was because of us. They wanted to make it tougher, so it really helped us as a program.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_9975To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-11/.

 

 

 

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IMG_9998 2016 Palmyra Girls’ Volleyball Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/02
@Wilson West Lawn
12:15 PM W 3-0
09/08 *
Hershey
6:45 PM W 3-2
09/13 *
@Lower Dauphin
5:00 PM W 3-1
09/15 *
Waynesboro
6:45 PM W 3-0
09/17
@West York
10:30 AM L 0-3
09/17
@Red Lion
12:00 PM L 1-3
09/19 *
Greencastle-Antrim
6:30 PM W 3-0
09/22 *
Mechanicsburg
6:45 PM W 3-1
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
09/29 *
Shippensburg
6:45 PM Palmyra High School
10/04 *
@Hershey
5:00 PM Hershey High School
10/06 *
Lower Dauphin
6:45 PM Palmyra High School
10/08
@Elizabethtown
11:00 AM Elizabethtown High School
10/10
Garden Spot
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
10/11 *
@Waynesboro
7:00 PM Waynesboro High School
10/13
Manheim Central
6:45 PM Palmyra High School
10/15 *
@Shippensburg
11:15 AM Shippensburg High School
10/18 *
@Mechanicsburg
7:15 PM Mechanicsburg High School
10/20 *
@Greencastle-Antrim
6:00 PM Greencastle-Antrim High School

 

 

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IMG_0080Mid-Penn Conference

 Keystone Division Standings

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Palmyra 6-0 7-2
Lower Dauphin 4-2 6-3
Hershey 4-3 5-3
Waynesboro 3-3 7-5
Greencastle-Antrim 3-4 4-4
Mechanicsburg 3-4 3-4
Shippensburg 0-6 0-8

 

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IMG_0009PIAA District Three

 Class AAA Power Rankings

AAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Berks Catholic 8- 0- 0  0.796992  1.000000  0.548872
2 West York 11- 1- 0  0.782747  0.947761  0.581064
3 Garden Spot 7- 1- 0  0.761938  0.902174  0.590538
4 Palmyra 6- 2- 0  0.740835  0.818182  0.646300
5 York Suburban 6- 2- 0  0.714884  0.790698  0.622222
6 Susquehannock 7- 3- 0  0.711507  0.759615  0.652708
7 Hershey 5- 2- 0  0.689685  0.766234  0.596125
8 Lower Dauphin 6- 3- 0  0.678794  0.747253  0.595122
9 Brandywine Heights 6- 2- 0  0.678173  0.789474  0.542139
10 Cocalico 6- 1- 0  0.675748  0.904110  0.396639
11 Gettysburg 5- 3- 0  0.655793  0.678571  0.627953
12 Lampeter Strasburg 4- 3- 0  0.650133  0.656716  0.642086
13 Spring Grove 5- 4- 0  0.641751  0.662921  0.615877
14 Big Spring 8- 3- 0  0.632608  0.752137  0.486517
15 Schuylkill Valley 6- 3- 0  0.624608  0.682353  0.554031
16 Manheim Central 4- 4- 0  0.618270  0.575000  0.671155
17 Eastern York 4- 3- 0  0.615690  0.630137  0.598032
18 West Perry 6- 3- 0  0.600675  0.673684  0.511442
19 Wyomissing 8- 4- 0  0.598553  0.714286  0.457103
20 Northern Lebanon 5- 2- 0  0.568618  0.718310  0.385660
21 James Buchanan 7- 5- 0  0.563925  0.612069  0.505081
22 Northern York 6- 5- 0  0.563617  0.581197  0.542130
23 Greencastle Antrim 4- 6- 0  0.538204  0.468085  0.623905
24 Milton Hershey 5- 4- 0  0.521284  0.582418  0.446565
25 Fleetwood 3- 4- 0  0.499650  0.428571  0.586524
26 Solanco 3- 7- 0  0.498842  0.393617  0.627451
27 Kennard Dale 3- 7- 0  0.473792  0.343750  0.632732
28 Dover 1- 7- 0  0.438215  0.191176  0.740152
29 Lancaster Catholic 4- 5- 0  0.437029  0.439560  0.433936
30 Northeastern 1- 7- 0  0.409249  0.171053  0.700377
31 Conrad Weiser 2- 7- 0  0.406443  0.301370  0.534866
32 Eastern Lebanon County 3- 7- 0  0.394648  0.343750  0.456856
33 Shippensburg 1- 7- 0  0.390146  0.180556  0.646312
34 Boiling Springs 2- 7- 0  0.367572  0.192771  0.581217

 

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