It’s never easy in a championship match, due to the environment and just the overall game itself.
It’s just as difficult when you come in as an underdog and your facing an undefeated team.
State College overcame those obstacles as a team and was able to secure a District 6 Class AAA boys’ volleyball title with a 25-15, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20 victory over Altoona on Thursday night inside Tyrone Middle School’s gymnasium.
“:It was a team effort all around,” Little Lions coach Kim-li Kimel said. “We saw really good distribution. We felt like coming in we were comfortable because we were playing Altoona all week long. We watched their game with BG (Bishop Guilfoyle) and watch other games online.”
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Spearheading State College’s offensive attack was setter Brandon Kuruzovich. Kuruzovich finished the game with 42 assists — none bigger than the sets in the final frame in order for the Little Lions to secure the victory.
“I felt like I distributed very well,” Kuruzovich said. “I felt like everybody did their part. They got the ball in whenever I needed them to get in. I felt like we had a pretty solid game at that.”
Kuruzovich connected with John Weakland well down the stretch with Weakland putting the game away with two straight kills.
“We told him (Kuruzovich),” Kimel said, “we need to go to John (Weakland) until them stop him. He did a really nice job of stepping up in the fourth game.”
Weakland led the Little Lions with 14 kills, but was closely followed by Tyler Snyder’s 13. Noah Christie added 30 digs, while Gabe Avillion had 3 1/2 blocks and 9 kills, Peyton Stark had 3 blocks and Aaron Cymbor recorded a pair of aces.
“Its nice that they have the faith in me,” Weakland said, “to give me the ball and me to do the best I can. We are always distributing the ball and getting it to everyone. I just happened to have the hot hand at the end of the game this time but next time it may be someone else.”
Weakland had a kill to pull State College to a 16-16 tie and then another to tie the game up at 17. He followed with an ace at the service line to give them the lead. The Mountain Lions rallied to tie the game at 18 and another Weakland kill handed the Little Lions the lead again for good.
The Little Lions (10-4) raced out to an early two-set advantage crusing past Altoona with 10-point victories in each.
The Mountain Lions (13-1) wouldn’t go away as they battled to score a victory in the third set.Altoona opened the set with a 4-0 run thanks to Frank Perehinec, who collected a kill and an explosive block on back to back rallies.
State College was able to get within one on numerous occassions but the Mountain Lions retain controlled thanks to Perehinec and Brett Koelle.Perehinec finished with five kills and three blocks in the third set alone with Koelle wrapping up four kills.
“The kids kind of faltered in that first and second game,” Mountain Lions coach John Saboe said. “We figured out how to play our oppenents in games three and four there but we just weren’t able to claw are way back. I credit State College. They did a great job.”