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Zephyrs fall to PHS in semis

In Tuesday night’s District XI Class 3A boys volleyball semifinal, the Whitehall Zephyrs had their best chance to win set number two against the top-seeded Parkland Trojans who ultimately won the match, 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-16) at Catasauqua High School.

“You know, we matched up the right way. Everything was what it needed to be, and we just played ourselves out of that,” said Whitehall coach George Cowitch. “I don’t really feel it’s anything that [Parkland] did. They’re a good team, and I’m not taking anything away from them, but a lot of it was what we did. That’s something that, unfortunately, when you have that inexperience, is tough to fix.”

The Zephyrs are a young team, something Cowitch hates to mention because it sounds like an excuse, but youth is a reality, a reason.

“It got the best of us today. You could see that against a team that’s more experienced. This game means obviously more. You’re three sets away from playing in a district championship and playing in the state playoffs,” Cowitch said. “I just told them, ‘We’ve got to learn from that, and we’ve got to have that feeling sometimes to move forward.’”

In the second set, Whitehall took the lead at 6-5; then, outside hitter Jack Kocher scored the next three points on two kills and by beating Parkland’s block.

Outside hitter Aiden Parvel’s kill broke a 9-9 tie, but after a tie at 17-17, Parkland put up five points to Whitehall’s one, and from there, took the second set.

Whitehall had the early lead in the third set, but Cowitch called a timeout as the Zephyrs started to fall behind by five points.

Middle hitter Gavin Kneller won a point to make the score 21-15 with the Zephyrs still trailing, and Kocher tried to keep the match alive when he scored the last point for Whitehall.

“Unfortunately, we’re done, the season’s over, and our three seniors (Kneller, Parvel, and Hunter Tiburzi) are done, but I like where we’re going to go in the future. I’m excited,” Cowitch said. “We’re so young and talented, so that’s a good problem to have. It’ll be nice to see what we can do in the offseason and what the product looks like next year.”

Press photo by Mark Kirlin Jack Kocher plays the ball over the net during the Zephs district victory over Liberty last week.