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Parkland takes EPC volleyball title

It feels like every big volleyball game recently has featured Emmaus against Parkland. After playing in the final game of the regular season, the two teams showed that they truly are the best teams in the East Penn Conference as they advanced to the conference finals at William Allen High School. Emmaus played a better game than they had in the regular season finale, but still not good enough to down the Trojans, who took gold in four sets, winning 24-26, 25-17, 25-22, and 25-22.

Parkland much prefers to play from ahead, but that plan went out the window when Emmaus came out looking to avenge the regular season meeting and win gold. The first set went to Emmaus 26-24, marking the first time in 14 games that the Trojans did now win the opening set. As it turns out, they play pretty well from behind, also.

In the second set, Parkland managed to hold onto the lead throughout the set with Kumayl Soonasra picking up four straight points on serves and then seeing Parkland and Emmaus trade service brakes until Parkland had taken a 25-22 win to even the game at one set each. A key moment came late in the set when Ahmad Jaffer made a diving play on a ball directly in front of the Parkland bench with Parkland already holding a commanding lead.

“They just don’t give up, they kept pushing. He (Jaffer) easily could have let go because we had an eight-point cushion to play with,” said Parkland head coach Scott Trumbauer after the game. “I had the feeling that if he is thinking that way, the others are going to follow him.”

Emmaus regrouped and came out for the third set playing more aggressively, much like they had played in the opening set. Both teams had periods of momentum, but Chase Robbins was just warming up. The senior, who was named to the EPC first team all-stars, would come up with 12 kills over the final two sets in the game and he became a big part of the success in both sets for Parkland.

“They took out one of their liberos, so we knew one of their middles was playing back, so we played it short, and it worked well,” said Robbins of the team’s success in the third set. “I enjoy getting the kills in games, especially big games like this, it feels nice.”

The Hornets were not hanging their heads though and came out looking to win the fourth set to send the game to a fifth set. Between Robbins’ kills and the Parkland defense not allowing Emmaus to have extended serve opportunities though, Emmaus was fighting an uphill battle.

Luke Smith had a nice run of serves for Parkland to put the Trojans up 22-19 and on the brink of winning gold. Emmaus was able to stop the run and take over service. Emmaus needed a long run of points, but with the score at 24-22 in favor of Parkland, the Trojans broke Emmaus’ serve and took the championship three sets to one.

The Trojans reached the league title game with a 3-1 (25-13, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19) win over Liberty in the semifinal game. Robbins had 25 kills in the win, while Joshua Nation added 10. Will Stiles dished out 48 assists in the semifinal, while Jaffer (12) and Robbins (10) led the team in digs against Liberty.

Parkland will enter districts as the top seed in 3A and will have a bye in the quarterfinals before having to face the winner of the Whitehall and Liberty game in the semifinals.

With Emmaus as the number-two seed in 3A, it is far from out of the question that the two teams will meet again, and it would come in the finals of the District 11 tournament on June 1 at Liberty High School.

Robbins was the only member of the Trojans named to the first team all-stars, but Smith was named to the second team and sophomore Josh Nation, along with juniors Will Stiles and Ahmad Jaffer were named to the third team.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB The Parkland boys volleyball team beat Emmaus last week to win this year's East Penn Conference title.
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBJoshua Nation spikes a ball during the league title match.
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB The Trojans Alexander Schoch digs a ball as Ahmad Jaffer (12) backs up the play.