NHS volleyball nabs first title
The historic season for the Northampton boys volleyball team came to an end in the state semifinals as they dropped their match to the state’s top ranked team, Central Dauphin, 25-12, 25-14, 25-17.
The K-Kids were without emerging sophomore opposite hitter Landon Nickischer who injured his ankle in practice the day before the match. However, barring Nickischer channeling 1980s Karch Kiraly, it probably wouldn’t have changed the end result.
The Rams were not only number one in Pennsylvania, but they were also ranked fifth nationally and rolled out a lineup that Northampton assistant Mike Holihan estimated had three players capable of playing Division 1 volleyball in college.
Head coach Sue Arndt praised the team’s effort in the face of overwhelming odds.
“If you throw away the first set and you throw away half of the second set… They tried,” she said. “There wasn’t one person out there who wasn’t trying. We did the best we could against a big team like that.”
The K-Kids did offer a glimmer of hope at the beginning of the second set as they surged to a 7-3 lead, but Central Dauphin scored the next six points, putting any ideas of an upset in the rearview mirror.
In light of everything the team accomplished this season, the result of this one match will recede into the fog of history.
The fact that the Kids made the state semifinals and won the program’s first-ever district title will be the enduring memories of the 2022 season.
Senior Alex Schoenen gave his closing thoughts on the season.
“Putting a banner up on the wall for the first time, boys or girls, in the history of the school, it’s awesome,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. I’m just really happy that we went this far and was able to be a part of this.”
Johnny Martinez echoed Schoenen’s assessment.
“I know we lost, but it’s still an amazing feeling to see how far we got, to win districts and make it to the final four of states,” he said. “We just have to look at the positives right now and keep our heads up and go on from there.”
Captain Jackson Fehnel spoke about the team’s evolution.
“Ever since freshman year, it’s been a dream to make it this far, win districts,” he said. “I saw the work the seniors put in when I was a freshman. It’s all props to them for getting the program to this place. It paid off. We got the championship and made it to the final four.”
An emotional Arndt reflected on her senior players.
“I think what made them special is that they found each other in middle school,” she said. “And when I got them in high school they knew they weren’t good yet. They bought in from the time they were freshmen.” She added, “In 31 years, I don’t think I’ve ever coached a team like this. Not only the wins, but who they are as people.”