SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP — The Northeastern Bobcats overcame adversity twice at Cumberland Valley and rallied to grab a thrilling five set victory over the Eagles in the District 3 Class 3A semifinals at the Eagle Dome.
The game scores were 18-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-16 and 15-13.
The No. 3 Bobcats will host No. 4 Hempfield Friday night in the championship match, while the Eagles will travel to Central Dauphin for the consolation match. All four teams have qualified for the upcoming PIAA tournament.
With the match tied at two games each, the Bobcats jumped out to a 7-5 lead in game five when the power went out due to the surrounding thunderstorms. After a 10-minute delay the power returned and the match resumed. The match was tied four times before Owen Kohr put away a quick set down the baseline to enable the Bobcats to win the match.
No. 2 Cumberland Valley (15-3) led 9-6 before a five-point run opened up a 14-6 lead in Game 1. Northeastern looked a bit out of sorts and the Eagles were able to finish out the game at 25-18.
Northeastern came out on fire and took it to the Eagles by the same score to even the match at one game each.
The Eagles came out of the gate firing in game three, jumping out to a 14-7 lead. The Bobcats did what they do best after that: finding big man Joel Braswell. Brady Lemon served five straight points to cut the deficit to 14-12. The match went back and forth until the Eagles led 24-21, but couldn’t put the Bobcats away. Tied at 24, the Eagles finally got the final two points to win Game 3 26-24.
Game 4 was all Bobcats as they overpowered the Eagles and jumped out to an early double-digit lead and never allowed the Eagles to get back into the game. Bobcats Tristan Schraudner, Brian Warrender and Kyle Renner hit set after set from Tanner Sadowski into the ground to lead the Bobcats.
“Next Man Up” was Northeastern’s mentality as the Bobcats lost Joel Braswell to an injury, forcing them to go elsewhere for the big hitters.
“I think it forced Tanner to find other players and we certainly had other players step up tonight, Kyle Renner and Owen Kohr in particular,” Bobcats coach Matt Wilson said. “It was a great match and CV is a very good team. We just made a few more plays when we needed them. It was a really good team win.”
For the Eagles, Nathaniel Erb, Akku Kumar and Jared Johnson had big games.
“I believe our inexperience showed at the wrong times tonight,” Eagles coach Terry Ranck said. “We made some crucial mistakes and had some unforced errors at critical times. They are an unbeaten third seed thanks to the power ratings and a very good team with eight seniors. At this time of the playoffs, anybody can win the district, you just have to make plays and they made a few more of them late in the match.”
Brady Lemon and Braswell had 18 and 17 kills, respectively, for the Bobcats. Jare Johnson had 18 for the Eagles and Erb had 45 assists.