Bethlehem Press

Monday, October 21, 2019

Hurricanes a team to watch in volleyball

Thursday, April 11, 2019 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

They might not look like the toughest team on paper at the moment, but Liberty’s volleyball team might be a sleeper as the season gets deeper.

The Hurricanes enter this week with a 3-2 record, but both of their losses have come in five set defeats to perennial district title contenders Emmaus and Parkland.

That gives head coach Neiad Ammary confidence about where his team is at the moment and where they can be once the postseason comes along, especially with how they performed at the Bobcat Invitational earlier this season.

“Even after losing the first two sets to Emmaus, I knew we were still capable of coming back and winning the match,” said Ammary. “It has also proven to be a testament to how tough the league is going to be this season because Emmaus lost to Easton the following day. Then we competed in Northeastern York’s Bobcat Invitational, the largest tournament in Pennsylvania, and not only did we finish higher than Emmaus, but we beat two teams that beat them (Central Bucks West and Freedom).

“Getting to the championship bracket of the Bobcat is no easy feat. We had to take on AA #6 Saegertown, AAA #6 Warwick, Dover, Central Bucks West, and Freedom in order to get there. Our only loss was a tightly contested set in pool play against Warwick. We finished second in our pool before beating Freedom 19-17 in the deciding set in our crossover match to advance into the championship. We had been competing without our 6-6 outside hitter Moses Omwega due his family’s religious practices, and then our starting middle blocker Ruiqi Wang left the tournament early to participate in Liberty’s band concert. Ultimately, we were overpowered by State College in the championship bracket but definitely felt like it was a successful day overall. Last year, we finished dead last in the entire tournament, which features 40 teams.”

This week the Hurricanes take on Souderton, Bethlehem Catholic and Dieruff with an opportunity to gain some momentum before tough matches against Easton and Whitehall next week.

Freedom (5-1) has won four-straight since getting swept by Parkland earlier this season and have Whitehall, Southern Lehigh and Pocono Mountain East this week, as they look to stay on pace with the top teams in AAA.

Bethlehem Catholic (3-3) come into the week looking to snap a two-game skid with losses to Freedom and Emmaus last week.

Head coach Jeff Koch hopes things can turn around quickly, as they have matches with Liberty and Nazareth this week.

“Our schedule is very tough the beginning stages of the season,” said Koch. “We have to go into every match opportunity with belief that we can knock off these experienced teams. We feel there is a lot of toss up games this season as District XI is very well-balanced with good to great teams across the board. Going forward winning as many of these toss-up games as we can will be the ultimate reason for how much success we attain this season.”