BENSALEM >> Sam Gingerich’s flying block and Dock Mennonite’s big rally from five points down put the Pioneers in position.
“After the guys got that first set under their belt, they just kind of smelled the blood in the water,” coach Trish Hoover said. “And they went for the rest of the match.”
Dock went on to a resounding 3-0 sweep of Bethlehem Catholic in the District 1-11 Regional Thursday night at Bensalem High, advancing the Pioneers to the PIAA-2A Tournament and a matchup with the District Two Runner-Up on Tuesday.
Dock won 25-22, 25-13, 25-19 to capture its second straight trophy.
“We were looking for the repeat this year and we got it — back to back,” Jeremy Yoder said. “I have a lot of faith in our boys.”
Yoder dished out 24 assists, Lincoln Bergey put away 11 kills, and Kurt Clemens had three blocks. A year ago, the two teams battled through five sets, won by Dock 3-2, but this year the Pioneers came up with a sweep.
“They’re an amazing team,” Yoder said. “They put up a really good fight and they came out strong tonight but all of the hitters seemed to click tonight for us — we all seemed to be on the same wave length.
“I had Dan (Moyer) on the back side and I knew I could always count on him. My middles — they were running it and running it quick. It was such a team effort tonight and I’m super proud of the boys.”
Dock is headed back to states, and Hoover spoke of “unfinished business,” as the Pioneers hope to surpass last year’s march to the quarterfinals.
Their roster is healthy and they are serving with precision. Dock racked up 11 aces Thursday night, including three each by Bergey and Ryan Class.
“Everything clicked after the first couple points and we hit the ground running,” Bergey said.
It seemed the biggest hurdle Dock had to overcome was a long layoff. The Pioneers hadn’t played in 15 days.
“As soon as we chipped the rust off, we knew this game was ours,” Yoder said.
Trailing 14-9 in the first set, Dock began to battle back.
The Pioneers went ahead for the first time, 20-19, then both teams exchanged points back and forth until Gingerich came up with a pivotal block, pushing the lead to 23-21.
“We were starting to slow down a little bit but I think that block built up the confidence and excitement for us again,” he said.
“That was huge,” Hoover said. “Sam has been that key player all season that no matter what, he is just coming up with these phenomenal plays, whether it’s a dig in the back row or a kill at a key time or serving.
“Blocking, as a middle, is his job, but that one was out of nowhere. He just knows where that ball is and it was a great turnaround play for us.”
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