Western Wayne is off to another stellar start on the Lackawanna League boys scene
It appeared as though a scrappy squad from Mountain View was destined to ruin Western Wayne's home opener in boys volleyball action.
The Eagles soared into the venerable Varden Garden Thursday evening for a Week One battle and pushed the Wildcats to the very brink of defeat.
When the smoke finally cleared and the final point was tallied, Coach Tim Snyder's lads had escaped with a razor-thin 3-2 win.
Game scores were 21-25, 19-25, 30-28, 25-20, 15-11.
“Mountain View is a good team, so obviously I was a little nervous,” Coach Snyder said.
“But, the past few years especially, our boys have played through pressure and finished strong and that's what we did tonight.”
With this victory, Western Wayne improved to 2-0 on the young season. Next up for the 'Cats is a road trip to Susquehanna Tuesday.
JV action begins at 5 p.m., followed by varsity at approximately 6:15 p.m.
Mountain View quickly took command of the match on Thursday evening.
Led by the powerful 1-2 punch of Chad Schmidt and Luke LaRue, the Eagles took the first two games by scores of 25-21 and 25-19.
Schmidt paced the attack with 15 kills and six digs, while LaRue contributed 10 kills and six blocks.
Trailing 0-2, Western Wayne ratcheted up its level of play in Game Three, thanks in large part to the play of Patrick Miller.
“Pat got off to a slow start,” said Coach Snyder. “He made some mistakes early, but boy did he come on strong. Pat ended up playing just a phenomenal match.”
Miller dominated action at the net. The senior all star hammered home a match-best 19 kills and also posted three blocks.
Game Three was the turning point.
With Miller providing the firepower ... and teammates Sam Hoch & Matt Lombardi directing the offense ... Western Wayne rallied to record an epic 30-28 decision.
“We were one point away from losing the match two different times, so that was definitely nerve-wracking,” said Coach Snyder.
“But, to their credit the boys stayed calm and did their jobs. They kept their focus and never panicked.”
Hoch has only recently returned to the line-up after re-habbing a nasty knee injury. Sam still isn't at 100 percent, but his veteran presence proved invaluable at crunch time Thursday.
“I can't say enough about how much his leadership meant,” Coach Snyder said. “Sam just does all the little things you have to have in order to win a close match like this one.”
Hoch finished up with 17 assists and also unleashed a pair of aces from the service line. Lombardi chipped in with 11 assists of his own, giving Western Wayne a lethal combination.
Down the Stretch
The Wildcats struggled with both serving and passing in the early stages against Mountain View.
“We were horrendous,” Coach Snyder said with refreshing candor.
“I don't know that we could have played any worse. But, things got a little better each game and we finally got over the hump.”
Chad Zawislak played a vital role in the Wildcats' rousing comeback.
The senior outside hitter didn't pile up big numbers statistically. However, he did provide energy and non-stop communication.
“Chad was completely hoarse by the end of the match,” Coach Snyder said with a chuckle. “He never stopped talking out there.
“One of the best things about Chad is that he just throws his body all over the court. He has no fear. Chad always hustles.”
Western Wayne parlayed its newfound momentum into a 25-20 Game Four victory, thus pushing the match to a do-or-die grand finale.
Tyler Atcavage, Kyle Coons and Joshua Miller were among the 'Cats who came up big down the stretch as the 'Cats closed things out via a 15-11 win.
Atcavage posted four kills, two aces and a pair of blocks. Coons blasted three kills, while Miller added two key blocks.
Western Wayne travels to New Milford on Tuesday for a battle with the Sabers.
Susquehanna is off to an 0-2 start after lopsided losses at the hands of Blue Ridge and Lackawanna Trail.
The 'Cats return home on Thursday for a battle with Forest City.
“Forest City and Abington Heights are very solid teams,” Coach Snyder said. “We know we'll have to play much better to compete with either one of them.”
Score by Games...
WW (2-0) 21 19 30 25 15
MV (1-1) 25 25 28 20 11