Whitehall-Coplay Press

Friday, August 23, 2019

Volleyball heads down final stretch

Thursday, May 2, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

The Whitehall boys volleyball team is charging toward the regular season finish line, picking up another win last Thursday against Pocono Mountain West.

They swept the Panthers 25-5, 25-9, 25-15 to improve their record to 12-0. They’re currently two games ahead of Emmaus (as of April 29) in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference standings, and sit atop the District XI AAA power rankings among the 15 schools profiled.

The Zephyrs now have six games remaining on the schedule, with Southern Lehigh the only nonleague opponent among that list. The Spartans, a Colonial League team, don’t participate in standard league competition; they play as a club, although they can qualify for the district tournament.

The Zephs remaining games include just one team with a winning record. Parkland, their final regular season opponent, is currently 9-2.

That’s what they encountered Thursday when they faced PMW, a team that hasn’t won a match all year.

Middle hitter Alex Khouri said that heading into the match, everyone recognized that it would provide opportunities for a lot of their players to see some action.

“Our main goal was to have our starters play the first set, set a pace, and then our goal from then on was to get our second guys in,” said Khouri.

He said that it was important to give back to that second unit since they provide so much support to the starters all season.

“They’re on the bench for us, cheering us on, so for this game we want to be on the bench cheering them on,” said Khouri. “It’s a great thing to do.”

He said that as a team, they’re all pulling toward the same goal. And they deserve some of the spotlight on the court as well.

“Everyone’s behind them,” he said.

The Zephyrs feature one of the best starting units in the league. Joining Khouri in the frontcourt are Joseph Herman and Dylan McGinley. In the back are Aziz Atiyeh, Rick Melosky and Alex Haydar.

The second unit comprised Connor Fenstermaker, Ian Frankenfield and Hunter Pinkey. They also have Nicholas Rex, Anthony Sabbagh, Matthew Lisicky and Torrey Tyson contributing as well.

Khouri said that they’re fully aware that most of the teams remaining will have .500 or below records. He said that it’s important to stay focused and concentrate on the match at hand.

“This is where we set our pace for our run leading up to the EPC and districts,” said Khouri.

He said that playing down to the level of competition against those teams will only hurt them in the long run.

“We have to play up to our standards,” said Khouri. “This is where we get better, and this is how we set they pace for where we’re going.”

He said how they play against their opponent, whoever it may be, affects how they play the next day.

“We’re going to finish on a high note every single day and keep going,” said Khouri.

In the win against PME, McGinley had seven kills and three aces. Herman recorded four kills and four aces, while Atiyeh had 10 digs. Setter Melosky accounted for 21 assists.