Aggressive Kids look to keep it up
The Northampton boys volleyball team bested league powerhouse Emmaus in the Lehigh Valley Conference semifinal game at Liberty High School. Continuing a dream season, the 15-2 Northampton team powered past the Hornets for a 3-0 victory and claimed a spot in the Lehigh Valley Conference finals.
It was the first time a Northampton boys volleyball team had made it to league playoffs. Northampton had defeated EHS by a score of 3-2 earlier this season and as they took the court Monday night, a determined Kids team tried to contain their excitement.
"The boys were definitely looking forward to it," explained head coach Doug Fehnel, "and [they] were trying to remain focused on the goals that were set at the beginning of the season."
Fehnel credits much of the team's success this season to leadership of the upper classmen on the team.
"Our senior leadership has been excellent all year," explained Fehnel. "Mike Holihan and Josh Palenchar are leading the troops in stats and court knowledge."
And their performance in Monday night's game was no exception. Holihan led the charge with 8 kills, 25 assists and 5 blocks. Palenchar also joined the fight, contributing 10 digs. Additionally, junior Josh Morgan contributed 9 kills.
In the first game, Northampton came out and eventually edged Emmaus by a narrow 26-24 margin. The close score seemed to light a fire in Northampton and it didn't ease up until the contest was won. Northampton took the second came 25-13 and repeated the performance for a 25-19 victory in the third game.
For Fehnel, this type of play is exactly what the team has been working toward all season.
"The guys are playing aggressive defense and going after every ball. That gets frustrating for other teams to play against," he said.
Contrary to prior seasons when a few powerhouse teams ruled to league, the field of competitive teams has greatly expanded this year in the Lehigh Valley Conference - and Northampton has definitely been among those proving to be real competitive threats. According to Fehnel, this realization has only fueled the team's competitive spirit.
"The team knows that the league and district are wide open this year and it can be won by any team on any given night," he said.