HUMMELSTOWN — Winning back-to-back championships in a sport is not an easy task at all.
To do so, every member of a team, from managers to coaches to players, must agree to the same vision. There is no way around it, everyone has to participate.
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And if you need an example of how it’s done, well, Lower Dauphin’s 3-0 win (28-26, 25-17, 25-20) against an unbeaten Exeter Township on Thursday during the District 3 2A men’s volleyball final. . he was a clear model of what a championship-winning dynasty looks like.
Because the Falcons (19-0) were already back-to-back champions, but they made things better and surprised the world with a hat-trick, which even came as a surprise to some members of the team.
“It’s unbelievable,” head coach Dave Machamer ecstatically told PennLive.
“They stick together through thick and thin. This has very little to do with me. Those kids want him more than a coach. And as long as the kids love it more than the coach, they’re going to play their hearts out for each other and keep working. We are absolutely impressed with what those guys have done. In practice every day they work hard and want to improve. They’re not afraid to say to each other, ‘Look, you’ve got to get better at what you’re doing,’ and you can see it on the ground.”
Exeter Township fell to 18-1 in defeat.
Will Sierer is the heart and soul of this Falcons team. The talented senior has been praised as the best setter in the state of Pennsylvania by his coaches and teammates time and time again because he is vocal, walks the talk and commands when he is on the court, which he did Thursday with his 22 assists. four kills, two aces and a dig.
Toby Waters is another key contributor and senior veteran who, along with Sierer, has played a significant role in LD’s previous two consecutive district championships. He scored nine kills and two aces against Exeter Township.
Arun Gopinath has had a great year. He hasn’t seen much playing time the past two seasons, but this year as a junior, he made his mark on this RL team. Gopinath led the front lines with 11 kills and one ace.
The hard-working Henry Smullen and Kyler Holland had a combined 11 kills (Smullen scored six while Holland contributed five) and Holland managed to snag three additional digs. Digby Althoff also made an impact with three kills for the Falcons in the district title win.
Exeter Township was led by the versatile Chase Nugent, who had a team-high nine kills. Gaige Gabriel was next in line with seven and also hit five pivotal aces in the loss.
GAME DECISION MOMENTS
Although the Falcons got the sweep, the contest was not easy. Waters and Sierer connected several times to create some distance early in the first set and help the Falcons take a 9-4 lead, but Exeter Township didn’t back down easily.
Gabriel and Nugent kept the Eagles’ hope alive as they hit the net with powerful spikes, causing set 1 to go beyond 25 points.
But in the end, Sierer found himself in the right places at the right time, setting up Smullen for a score, and then Gopinath’s ace froze the 28-26 win on the next play.
Lower Dauphin earned an eight-point victory in the second, where he put in multiple runs, the biggest being a 6-0 run to take an 18-15 lead after trailing a bit early.
The Falcons then put their heads down and really came together at the start of their final set in the championship win, taking an early 4-0 run and continuing to pound the net relentlessly down to the end, depleting the Eagles’ defense. . .
THEY SAID IT:
‘It feels great,’ Sierer told PennLive with a smile. “I can’t lie, at the beginning of the season, I wasn’t so sure, but the more games we played, the closer we got and the better chemistry we had, it’s an incredible thing to see. It’s amazing to play with these guys and I’m so happy right now. This is really amazing.”
“Coach Machamer started a dynasty”, Waters said. “It’s great because the last two years, I was just a sophomore and junior. But now, I feel like a team captain and it feels so much better knowing that we can do it together, Will and I. [Sierer]. This is not going to end this year.”
“I told you before, this group of kids, we knew they were special.” machamer said, “But you don’t know how special it is until you spend time with them. I told you the other night that they were a very close group. What I didn’t tell you is that all weekend those seniors all went up to camp together, had a great time, fished and had a lot of fun. They came back refreshed and just work for each other.”
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