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Patriots surprise Parkland

Most people likely expected Parkland to punch a ticket into the East Penn Conference boys’ volleyball championship game. And it would have been a good. After all, the Trojans had beaten Freedom twice this spring and they were meeting the Patriots again in the conference semifinal. The latest meeting went in favor of Parkland just 10 days prior in four games, while the Trojans swept the first match back in late March.

The tides reversed Monday at Allen High School’s Sewards Gymnasium. Freedom held on in the third set to complete a 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 27-25) victory over the Trojans on Monday night to advance to Wednesday’s title game against Whitehall.

“We didn’t come to play,” Parkland head coach Scott Trumbauer said. “Freedom was the best team tonight. We didn’t play well. There were a lot of things that were very disappointing from our side tonight. We didn’t look like we wanted to play. We just looked like maybe we assumed the first two matches this year mattered more than this one.”

Looking to keep any hope alive, Parkland kept the third and final set close throughout. Even down 8-2 early, the Trojans showed some fight.

The Trojans went on a 10-5 spurt moments later to get within a single point in the third set. Sophomore JT Siggins recorded a kill to get the Trojans within 13-12. Then, Jordan Lewis recorded a point to make it a 14-13 Freedom advantage.

“Seeing the way that we have played, it is somewhat shocking because we’ve played at such a high level,” Trumbauer said. “The last time we stepped on the court we played probably the best match that we had all year against Whitehall. But this is a different situation. This isn’t senior night at home. It’s a league playoff game on the road.”

Parkland would take it to another gear late in the third. After tying the set at 18-18 and 19-19 moments later, the Trojans went ahead 22-19 after Lewis and Ian Dashukewich came up with a huge block at the net. Their largest lead was at 23-20.

But Freedom wouldn’t fold. The Patriots quickly got within 23-23, and then took the lead at 24-23 with the next point. Parkland tied the game at 25-25, but a serving error put the Patriots in front by one, and a spike moments later sealed the win.

“We didn’t block well,” Trumbauer said. “Our offense was tipping the ball and pushing the ball with no pace whatsoever. There was nothing I thought that we did well tonight.”

Trumbauer believes the playoff atmosphere may have played a part in the slow start for Parkland.

“There were definitely some nerves,” Trumbauer said. “You can tell just from our contact. We had some contact on the ball tonight that was just off for some of our guys. The focus wasn’t there. The desire to have your teammates thrive and succeed wasn’t there.”

Whitehall swept Emmaus in the other semifinal on Monday (27-25, 25-16, 27-25). The league title match was scheduled for Wednesday, after Press deadline.

Parkland was scheduled to open District 11 tournament play Thursday as the No. 3 seed with a home match against No. 6 Liberty.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland's Jordan Lewis follows through after a spike during the Trojans' league semifinal game against Freedom. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_