Meadville Tribune


April 27, 2012

H.S. BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Oertly leads Cardinals past Saegertown

April 27, 2012 7:00 a.m. SAEGERTOWN — The Cochranton boys volleyball team may still have a little work to do when it comes to getting off to a strong start.

On the other hand, the Cardinals do have that whole finishing strong part down.

Facing Saegertown on Thursday, the Cards and the Panthers went back and forth for four games, but Cochranton dominated the fifth to come away with a thrilling 18-25, 25-15, 26-24, 21-25, 15-6 Region 1 victory over the homestanding Cats.

“We knew coming in here that all of Saegertown’s fans were going to be crazy,” said Cardinals sophomore Logan Herzberger. “And we knew we had to stay up the whole time no matter what, no matter how much they tried to get us down, we couldn’t get down on ourselves. And we didn’t.”

Cochranton improved to 4-2 on the season and 3-0 in Region 1 with the win. Saegertown fell to 3-3 overall, 1-2 in the region.

“Big win,” said Cochranton head coach Brad Custead. “Big win for our team. We’re slowly and slowly getting better from one day to the next. And I didn’t know what to expect (Thursday). It could be really bad or really good. It turned out to be really good. And I wouldn’t expect anything less than going five with Saegertown, especially playing in Saegertown’s home.”

The Cardinals trailed in the first four games of the evening, but battled back in the second and third. This was similar to the Cards’ sweep of McDowell on Tuesday, in which Cochranton trailed early in all three games only to rally from behind to win each.

“We’ve been having trouble with that all season long,” said Cochranton senior Josh Oertly. “Teams have been coming out and getting up on us and we’ve had to fight our way back into it.”

In last night’s third game — the deciding game, according to Saegertown head coach Justin Johnson — the Panthers led nearly the whole time, and looked to wrap it up neatly after a three-point run gave them a 24-20 lead.

Then Herzberger knocked down a kill to stop Saegertown’s run. And the Panthers just crumbled. A kill error, a passing violation, a missed tip, a net violation and, finally, a kill attempt that went wide meant five straight points for Cochranton, allowing the Cardinals to escape with a 26-24 win.

“We didn’t put game three away,” said Johnson. “That’s where the match was lost.”

Cochranton played a sloppy fourth game, allowing Saegertown to tie the match at two games apiece. The Cards handed Saegertown seven of its final 13 points on errors or ball-handling violations.

But the Cardinals cleared all that up by the time the fifth game started. They stormed out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back.

“We knew,” said Oertly, “that if we wanted to win we would have to come out strong (in the fifth game) and not let them get the lead right off the bat.”

Oertly had three kills and a stuff block in the fifth, finishing off a commanding 19-kill, 8-block, 15-dig effort. Michael Shirey had three kills and a serving ace in the fifth, to finish the match with 13 kills (with just three kill errors), 12 digs, 10 points and four aces.

And Oertly and Shirey were just the tip of the iceberg. Chad Eisenhooth added nine kills, 13 digs and nine points; and Logan Herzberger added 12 kills (with just two errors), 15 digs and nine points.

“They were being very smart hitters,” said Custead. “When you’ve got (Saegertown’s) Shane Rigby and Connor Shorts out there blocking, they’re huge, you’ve got to go around them. And we worked around the block very well. We weren’t blasting the ball into the net ... too many times.”

Nick Dickson tied together the Cardinals’ effort with 47 assists.

For Saegertown, Dustin Pavlik tallied 15 kills with five blocks and 10 digs. Shane Rigby notched a 14-kill, 13-block performance at the net. Connor Shorts had 13 kills and nine digs. Mike Callan also had nine digs. And Ross Ferguson had five digs and 47 assists.

“I was happy with our effort (Thursday),” said Johnson. “When we played Meadville last week we didn’t go after any balls on the floor, we were just kind of going through the motions. At least (Thursday) the effort was there. We just didn’t put it all together when we needed to.”

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