Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Volleyball sits at 4-0 Volleyball sits at 4-0

Volleyball sits at 4-0

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

When the Whitehall boys volleyball team found themselves facing elimination during a tough match with a determined Golden Hawks squad last Friday, they needed to dig deep in order to remain undefeated.

The Zephyrs rose to the occasion, winning the final two sets to earn the five-set victory. With the win, they improve to 4-0 on the season.

Middle hitter Alex Khouri said they weren’t sure what to expect coming into Bethlehem Catholic’s gym, and once the whistle blew they didn’t have the energy level to match Becahi’s intensity. That all changed in the second set when their energy was elevated and they worked together to tie the game at a set apiece.

While they eventually lost the third set which put them on the brink of elimination, Khouri said that they were able to tie the Hawks after mounting a huge comeback which ultimately galvanized them for the final two sets where they posted convincing wins.

“It’s the most energy I’ve ever seen out of our team,” said Khouri.

In the deciding fifth set, Joe Herman staked them to an early lead with two kills, and from that point on they were never really challenged, winning 15-8 to take the match.

Khouri said that the turning point came after that first set.

“After the first set, we realized that we have to put some work into this,” said Khouri. “We turned it on from there.”

That first set served as a wake-up call, prompting a “let’s go” response from Khouri. In that second set, they started to get some big shots, and also block some balls at the net which helped turn the tide.

Head coach George Cowitch said that Khouri wasn’t able to practice all week because of a sore shoulder, but answered the bell at game time and played a superb game at the net.

“He’s a beast out there,” said Cowitch. “He’s one of the best middles, no doubt. People watch him on T.V., and people out there go, ‘Damn, that kid’s pretty good.’”

Cowitch said that they weren’t able to scout the Hawks as much as they would have liked, and that may have contributed to the way the match unfolded early. He said that the Hawks are a capable team that has experience among their outside hitters, along with talented setter which makes them a tough team to play. Still, they found a way to persevere through a grueling five-setter.

“For us to be able to do what we did, is a good thing,” said Cowitch.

Cowitch said that for whatever reasons, they have a history of starting slowly in matches, and that’s something that will be addressed this season.

“We’re going to try and fix that,” said Cowitch. “We have some ideas about how to fix that. I’m just glad that we didn’t finish slow.”

The Zephs had big performances, including Rick Melosky who had been sick, but had a strong game, said Cowitch. Melosky finished with 37 assists and two aces.

Joe Herman had a strong all-around game, leading the team with 11 kills, while also registering four blocks and six service aces. Ethan Parvel was another integral part of the win, finishing with five kills, nine digs and two aces.

Cowitch also likes the steady progression of middle hitter Dylan McGinley who’s going to be needed in their rotation this season. Cowitch said that it was “a little bit of a coming-out party for him.” McGinley finished with nine kills and eight blocks.

“Offensively he was smart, keeping the ball in play,” said Cowitch. “He was big for us.”

Khouri said that Friday’s match served as a learning experience, something that will benefit them.

“It definitely helped us out a lot,” said Khouri. “We’re not going to take teams lightly. We’re going to keep a level head coming into [matches], and we’re going to get the job done.