Get our newsletters

A clean sweep for Council Rock North


It’ll be Senior Night on Thursday for the Council Rock North boys volleyball team, and the Indians will have plenty to celebrate.

CR North is having a solid season, and the seniors shined in the team’s most recent outing, Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Cheltenham.

The Indians are now 7-3 in the Suburban One League National Conference and on pace to qualify for the District One Class 3A playoffs.

“Our team chemistry is really good,” said senior outside hitter Keertan Palayam. “We’ve gotten a lot of wins this year and are looking to get a high seed in districts, win a few games and make states.”

Cheltenham (0-9) might not have any wins, but the Panthers put up a pretty good fight,

North won by scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 25-10 for its second 3-0 victory of the year over Cheltenham. The Indians led wire to wire in the second set, but the Panthers held early leads in the first and third.

North, though, was able to rally, thanks to a total of 30 kills.

Palayam and senior outside hitter Hunter Klein had nine kills apiece. Senior middle hitter Scott Donnelly totaled six kills and nine blocks. Senior setter Devan Tiankee finished with three digs and 28 assists. Senior middle hitter Owen Lentz also had a nice match.

The seniors and third-year coach Larry Tiankee (Devan’s dad) have had a nice three-year run.

In 2022, the Indians reached the district consolation match, losing a five-set heartbreaker that kept them out of states.

Last year, they lost a first-round matchup with Upper Dublin, which went on to win districts.

North misses star Gavin Kohler, who graduated last year, but the Indians are compensating, thanks to a lot of offseason work.

“We’re a lot closer than we were last year,” said the younger Tiankee.

“We definitely have more experience going onto the court,” Klein said.

Coach Tiankee likes his setter and hitters, and believes the Indians have enough club experience to compete with teams that have a roster full of experienced club players.

“There are a lot of strong teams out there, but we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” he said. “We try to keep it simple, and the connection is there. We’ve hung in there.”

Looking ahead to a probable district playoff appearance, the coach said he wants to see his team keep playing with fire and a desire to “want it.”

“We’ll be a little bit of an underdog, but we should be in the mix,” he said.

The Indians will be tested on Thursday, as Bensalem has already beaten them this season, though Klein missed that match.

It could be the start of a little revenge tour.

“We’re looking to beat teams that we’ve lost to before, like Haverford and Bensalem,” the younger Tiankee said.

The Indians believe they have room to grow as the regular season nears an end and the postseason is close.

“Our offense is really flowing, and we’ve already beaten good teams like William Tennent and Neshaminy,” Palayam said.

Following Tuesday’s victory over Cheltenham, North was eighth in the rankings among 25 District One Class 3A teams. Twelve teams qualify for districts. Five matches remain, and a lot could change.

“We’ll probably get a middle seed like 7, 8, 9, and we’ll be going into the playoffs on a good note,” Klein said.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.