Northampton Press

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Volleyball heading to district playoffs

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by tom wenborg Special to the Press in Sports

The Northampton boys volleyball team’s senior night was supposed to be a celebration of the careers of captains Luis Roman and Dominic Frey and manager Emily Gehris as well as the moment the team would clinch a district playoff berth with their ninth win of the season.

The feting of the seniors took place as planned in a nicely decorated Pete Schneider Gymnasium. But the visiting 5-12 Dieruff Huskies were uncooperative as they spoiled the night by winning the match in four sets.

The first set went pretty much as expected as Northampton built a 16-9 lead on the way to a stress free 25-19 win.

The second set saw the Kids fall behind early 8-12 and struggle to catch up. Dieruff held leads of 18-13 and 24-17 before a late Northampton run came up short. The Huskies’ 25-21 set win evened the match.

Dieruff scored the first 5 points of the third set on their way to building a 13-6 lead. A 7-point Kids’ run on Kody Whiteman’s serve seemed to turn the momentum back to Northampton as they erased the deficit and moved to a 15-14 advantage.

The lead was short-lived. Dieruff came back and took the set 25-21.

The fourth set followed a similar path as the previous two. The Huskies jumped out to an 8-2 lead and Northampton never got closer than 17-19 as they fell 25-22.

Although the loss left the Kids’ record at 8-9 with one match to play, they have secured a district playoff spot by locking up a top-8 finish in the district rankings.

Matt Fenstermaker had a big match in the middle with 10 kills and 6 blocks. Setter Chris Miller accounted for 41 assists. Roman led the team with 24 digs. Luis crossed a career milestone by recording his 1,000th dig in the Kids’ match against Becahi last Friday.

Head coach Sue Arndt summed up her squad’s performance.

“Our defense really works hard and it showed in all the digs,” Arndt said. “But our offense needed to match it and the offense just wasn’t there tonight.”

The lack of offense was apparent in the team’s .043 hitting percentage (.300 is great, .200 is good, .100 is OK).

The Kids will look to snap their three-match losing streak when they travel to Nazareth on Thursday to take on the 5-11 Blue Eagles in the regular season finale. Next Thursday, May 16, Northampton will travel for their quarterfinal District XI AAA playoff matchup with the top seed. Right now, Whitehall holds that spot at 17-0, having dropped only two sets all season. The Kids claimed one of those sets back on April 5, so they will not be in awe of the Zephyrs.