FRANCONIA >> The energy wasn’t there early for the Souderton boys volleyball team, but it was there when the Indians needed it to be Friday night.
“I didn’t really feel the passion in the first few games,” Souderton senior Mike Pagan said. “We were switching up rotations, but toward the end we started to figure it out and we adjusted to what we were doing and got our passion our passion back and stuck it to them.”
In a back-and-fourth non-league match with visiting Dock Mennonite, the Indians stayed alive by taking the fourth set then in the deciding fifth pulled away to edge the Pioneers 3-2 (20-25, 25-9, 19-25, 25-20, 15-6) and earn a Senior Night victory.
“It was good for us to pull it off because we have a problem when we lose a game, we don’t bounce back,” Souderton coach Dave Stastny said. “It’s a good/bad thing. I don’t like losing a game but at the same token it was good that can we bounce back because we need to do that, not just focus on that last loss and let it dwell.”
Souderton never trailed in the fourth set after a 7-0 run gave the Indians a 10-4 advantage. Big Red then took the drama out of the fifth set with a 10-2 burst that put them up 13-4. Dock cut the margin to seven before Souderton won the last two points, the last courtesy a Ben Campman ace.
“We used the momentum from the fourth game and we just rolled right into it and finished it off,” Pagan said.
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) May 6, 2017
Pagan finished with 14 kills and five blocks while Cam Hart collected 12 kills and two aces for Souderton (10-6, 8-5 Suburban One League Continental). Campman chipped in eight kills and 11 digs, Aaron Moyer made 10 digs and Luke Pagan had 35 assists.
“This is kind of new for us so we definitely learned something from it cause having a match where neither team had momentum throughout it it’s very, very quiet, very dull.” Mike Pagan said. “So, learning to make yourselves excited and play hard even though there’s nothing there is definitely a lessoned we’ve learned.”
Dock Mennonite (10-7, 8-2 Independent League) was without outside hitter Lincoln Bergey, who sprained an ankle in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Lancaster Mennonite. But the Pioneers’ stout defense enabled them to take the first set then rebound from a 16-point second-set loss to go up 2-1 in the match.
“I think defensively we were solid and that’s what this team is built on,” Dock coach Trish Hoover said. “We do have really good offensive options, but I told them all year long if can’t pass on serve-receive and we can’t defend we’re going to lose a lot of matches. And we frustrate teams.
“So that part went really well and that last set they just took a run in the early (part). I tried to call the early time out and calm them down a little bit. We just didn’t pass well enough to run our offense and they capitalized on easy balls we were giving over the net.”
Jaden Hunsberger had 22 digs, four kills and two aces while Ryan Class put down 10 kills for Dock Mennonite. Jeremy Yoder had 12 digs.
“This is the best that we’ve played considering that Lincoln was out,” Hoover said. “They did a really good job. We tend to fall apart when one of our guys is out. And they didn’t tonight. Everybody knew they had to step up big and it was a super-hard match for Lincoln to miss.”
Dock has one more regular-season game – holding their Senior Night 7 p.m. Tuesday against Council Rock South – and then waits until May 23 until the District 1/11 Class AA semifinals. The Pioneers were first in the four-team subregion’s latest rankings.
Souderton, meanwhile, was eight in the May 1 District 1-AAA power rankings with the top 12 teams making the field. The Indians visit Central Bucks East 6:30 p.m. Monday then are at home against Upper Dublin 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.
“We’re doing a little tweaking here and there,” Stastny said. “And we’ll see how that pans out for us. Hopefully it does.”
Dock jumped out to a 17-8 lead in Friday’s first set before the Indians worked back to within two at 20-18 after a 6-0 run. But the Pioneers got some breathing room by winning the next two points and claimed the opening game 25-20.
Souderton, however, evened the match with a 25-9 win in the second set. After Dock cut the margin to 6-5, the Indians took the next five points as they ended the set on a 19-4 run.
Big Red had an 8-4 edge in the third set but Dock Mennonite won 11 of the next 14 points to grab a 15-11 lead. A Souderton rallied tied the game at 18 before the Pioneers responded with a five straight to start a 7-1 run that sealed the 25-19 victory.
Trailing 4-3 in the fourth set, Souderton collected the next seven points to take the lead for good.
“Our attacking started to get a little smarter,” Mike Pagan said. “They’re a great defensive team. I was honestly shocked. They have great blocking and if it went pass the block, their passers dug it. So I think that we started getting smarter, started hitting past the block, figure them out. But they’re a great team.”
Dock crept within 11-9 before a 5-0 run gave Big Red a 16-9 advantage. The Pioneers could only get within three the rest of the set while Souderton led by as much as eight (23-15). Dock fought off three set points but on the fourth a dig attempt went out wide on the Indians side as Souderton knotted the match with a 25-20 win.
Top Photo: Souderton’s Cam Hart spikes the ball past Dock Mennonite’s Dylan Derstine during their match on Friday, May 5, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)