Abington Heights holds off Mountain View in five-set boys volleyball match

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com
Abington Heights’ Matt Pacyna (No. 22) sets the ball during the Comets’ 3-2 win over Mountain View in a Lackawanna League boys volleyball match April 17. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

CLARKS SUMMIT — The Abington Heights boys volleyball team remained undefeated, but it wasn’t easy.

After sweeping their first five opponents, 3-0, the Comets held off Mountain View, 3-2 (25-23, 24-26, 25-16, 24-26, 15-11) in a Lackawanna League match April 17.

“I think it really humbled us,” said Abington Heights senior Evan Florey. “We thought we were invincible after the recent win against Blue Ridge. We have to make improvements in a lot of areas. We know our weaknesses now and I think we need to work on our mindset.”

Abington Heights (6-0) fell behind 14-8 early, but rallied to win the first set on a block from senior Sandon Birch, who finished with 18 assists, nine digs, seven kills and two aces.

“We have to play with a sense of urgency from start to finish,” said Abington Heights head coach Jamie Spangler. “Slow starts have kind of been our M.O. to start the year. We’ve been able to recover and we barely recovered this time.”

The Comets lost their first set of the season when Mountain View senior Cameron Holister delivered a kill off an assist from senior Lucas Schmidt to give the Eagles a 26-24 win.

“I think it was probably good for us to drop a set,” Spangler said. “We didn’t have our best game and we kind of need to refocus.”

Abington Heights regained control of the match, for a bit, by winning the third set, 25-16.

Florey, who finished with 21 kills, 20 digs and four blocks, had four kills in the third and junior James McGrail added three kills in the set for the Comets.

Mountain View (3-3) tied the match, two sets a piece, with a win in the fourth that was capped by a kill by senior Stephen Mordent. The Eagles led 24-21 before Abington Heights scored three consecutive points — a kill by senior James Kazmierski, an ace from McGrail and a kill by Florey — to knot the set at 24.

“They’re a great team,” Florey said of Mountain View. “They have a lot of athletic guys and great hitters. They stuck with us the whole time.”

Abington Heights led the fifth set, 6-3, after a kill by Freddie Hickman, but Mountain View battled back and tied the set, 11-11.

The Comets rattled off four consecutive points, courtesy of Florey and junior Matt Pacyna to clinch the win.

Pacyna, who finished with 27 assists, five kills and three blocks, connected with Florey to put the Comets up 13-11 and found him again for the match-winning point after registering a kill of his own.

“I just try to keep a clear mind and go wherever it feels right,” Pacyna said. “I try to think about it ahead of time and Evan was hitting really well so I had to keep getting him the ball.”

Florey praised the play of Birch and Pacyna and feels fortunate to have them on his side.

“We have a lot of chemistry,” Florey said. “I’ve been working with them the past three years and we talk about where I want the height of the ball. I’ve been working on shots down the line and they really set them up for me. The opportunity to have two great setters on a team is very unique.”

Abington Heights’ Matt Pacyna (No. 22) sets the ball during the Comets’ 3-2 win over Mountain View in a Lackawanna League boys volleyball match April 17.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_ABJ-AH-Volleyball-1.jpgAbington Heights’ Matt Pacyna (No. 22) sets the ball during the Comets’ 3-2 win over Mountain View in a Lackawanna League boys volleyball match April 17. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.