In a boys volleyball match that was close and intense throughout and featured constant shifts in momentum, Pennridge watched the very last shift go the other team’s way.
With the match tied at 15 in the fifth and deciding set, Upper Dublin notched the next two points to capture the set, match and the PIAA District One Class 3A championship Thursday, May 25 at Bensalem High School.
Despite the loss, District One second-seed and perennial boys volleyball power Pennridge (15-4) advances to the PIAA state playoffs and will play at District 12 champion La Salle College High school. While first-round state playoff games are scheduled for June 6, that date will have to be changed for this match because Pennridge has its graduation that day, Rams head coach Dave Childs said. Upper Dublin (17-4), which won its first-ever district championship, will host District 12 runner-up Northeast of Philadelphia on June 6.
Pennridge’s District One title match loss by set scores of 26-24, 21-25, 26-24, 27-29 and 15-17 was back and forth the entire time. The Rams had championship point at 14-13 in the final set, but the Cardinals pulled even at 14 when a Pennridge serve landed out of bounds. Up 16-15 and at championship point of its own, Upper Dublin sealed the win when another Pennridge serve went awry.
“Credit Upper Dublin,” Childs said. “They’re a great team with a great coach. It wasn’t just one thing that made the difference. They made the plays at the end there.”
The Rams came back from a 24-22 deficit to take the next four points and the first set. The third set was tied at 24 before Pennridge bore down to capture the next two points and the set. These two sets and the closeness of the entire match was testament to his team’s persistence, Childs noted.
“That’s credit to the guys for staying the course and understanding it’s a best of five, it’s a long match and you can’t get too high or too low in a match like this,” he said. “Every point is a new chance to make a play.”
Evan Jalosinski had 54 assists, eight digs and three blocks for Pennridge while Logan Jalosinski added 12 kills, 14 digs, four blocks and two aces. Other key contributors for the Rams were Bryce Ammon (15 kills, six blocks), Jude Rotondo (21 kills, 11 digs), Thomas McKinney (seven kills, nine digs), Aaron Ladd (six kills, four blocks) and Ty Porter (11 digs).
“It was back and forth the whole time,” said McKinney, a senior and one of the Rams’ captains. “The difference is we just made some stupid mistakes at the end and it cost us. I don’t think we served that well and mistakes we made the whole time kind of came back and bit us.”
Now it’s time to put the District One title match in the rear view mirror and concentrate on making a run at states, he added.
“We just have to flush it, forget about it, go to practice every night and focus on the next game,” McKinney said. “That’s all you can do.”
Upper Dublin was led by Terrell Turner (15 kills, two aces, nine digs, four blocks), Cory Pendleton (10 kills, four digs, two blocks), Gabriel Copley (eight kills, two blocks) and Cole Brown (39 assists, eight digs).
“This was an epic battle against a powerhouse of a program,” Cardinals head coach Paul Choi said. “Dave’s program is always so strong year after year, but battling against them forces you to bring your best game.
“Becoming district champs is such an amazing accomplishment and I’m so proud of this Upper Dublin squad. I’m so proud of them for never giving up or backing down and constantly believing in each other, especially when things didn’t go our way.”