**Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on PaPrepLive.com**
DOYLESTOWN >> Coming off a 3-15 season in 2015, one of the Souderton boys volleyball team’s many goals was to be competitive in the Suburban One League. It’s safe to say it’s well on their way to doing that.
Souderton took a tough Central Bucks East squad to the brink Friday night, but eventually lost the Suburban One Continental contest three sets to two, falling 15-11 in the decisive fifth set.
The two teams alternated set wins, as East won the first 25-20 and third 25-17 while Souderton took the second and fourth sets by a score of 25-23. Unfortunately for Souderton, in a match as tight as this one, the little things can add up and lead to a loss.
“The difference, I think, was at times our ball handling got a little sloppy. Some guys weren’t quite sure who was going to take a ball and every once in a while the ball just falls on the court on our side,” Souderton head coach David Stastny said. “That kind of puts the team down a little bit. We were always trying to get back up on top. That was the tough thing.”
Souderton (4-2, 4-1 SOL Continental) was led by senior Jack Pagan, who registered eight kills and 20 assists in the match. Sam Hess added 11 kills, while Derek DiCesare had 7 digs. Mike Pagan recorded five aces.
“There’s a lot of people who contributed, which was good.” Stastny said about his team, which contains nine seniors and three juniors out of 14 players.
Souderton could have folded after dropping the first set and falling behind 7-3 in the second, but the team responded well and went on an 8-1 run, their biggest of the match, to take hold of set number two.
“I just thought we stayed aggressive with it and we got our swings,” Stastny said. “We weren’t tentative. We served it, probably, a little bit tougher. We got some breaks here and there.”
The story was the same in the fourth set, as the resilient squad again dug deep to the tune of a 6-1 run late in the set to take a lead. It then hung on up 24-20, getting one of the final four points and securing a set victory.
“East is a good team. They serve the ball well, they handle it nice, they have some nice hitters. The middles really beat us pretty good too tonight,” Stastny said. “When we won we just clicked a little bit better than they did. Not much, but just enough to win. “
CB East’s middle hitters did indeed dominate play when needed, as the Patriots (4-1, 4-1) closed the first set on a 9-4 run and the third set on a 10-3 run to secure their set wins.
“They got a (few) more runs than we did,” Stastny said. “It seems like sometimes we had a nice swing and then we go and we serve the ball into the net and we just lost our momentum like that. Well they had a good run and got 3-4 points.”
The offense ran through Mason Miller all night, who had a mind-boggling 52 assists out of 53 total for the team. Chris Woolslayer led East with 14 kills, while Pierce Budson pitched in 12.
CENTRAL BUCKS EAST 3, SOUDERTON 2
Central Bucks East – 25 23 25 23 15
Souderton – 20 25 17 25 11
Souderton: Sam Hess 11 kills; Jack Pagan 8 kills; Jack Pagan 20 assists; Luke Pagan 4 assists; Kyle Wetzler 3 assists; Derek DiCesare 7 digs; Mike Pagan 5 aces; Sam Hess 2 aces
Central Bucks East: Chris Woolslayer 14 kills; Pierce Budson 12 kills; Eric Chmiel 10 kills; Mason Miller 52 assists; Chris Woolslayer 10 digs; J. Minschwaner 7 digs; Carter Haban 3 aces