Dock, Pennsbury bow out in volleyball quarterfinals Although both District 1 teams were competitive, Hempfield again proved the best team in the state.

Posted: June 01, 2003

Playing against teams with higher rankings, better records and loftier reputations, Christopher Dock and Pennsbury were eliminated yesterday in the quarterfinals of the PIAA state volleyball tournament.

Hempfield topped North Allegheny, 11-15, 15-12, 15-4, to win the state title at Shippensburg University. It was the second straight year Hempfield (29-0), the District 3 champion, beat North Allegheny (22-1), the District 7 champion, for the crown.

Despite their defeats, both District 1 teams were competitive.

Dock, the district champion, fell to Upper St. Clair, 15-13, 15-9. The Pioneers (16-3) entered the tournament ranked fourth in the state by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, while Upper St. Clair (20-3), the runner-up from powerful District 7, was listed third.

"We were right there," Dock coach Kirby King said. "They are a tall team and have great blocking."

The day's most competitive quarterfinal was between Pennsbury (20-6), the District 1 runner-up which was ranked seventh in the state, and top-ranked North Allegheny (22-1), the District 7 champion.

In a match that lasted 1 hour, 40 minutes, North Allegheny held on for a 15-9, 11-15, 15-10 win.

"We played fantastic defense," Pennsbury coach Tim Paulson said. "We did our best and hung with the best team in the state."

Paulson, the Falcons' head coach since 1995 and an assistant coach under Ray Engel before that, will take a sabbatical next year and hand over the reins to assistant coach Justin Fee. Paulson, a physics teacher at Pennsbury, will continue his graduate education and spend time with his family.

"It has been a great ride and a great year," said Paulson, whose teams were frequent state qualifiers and reached the state semifinals a year ago.

Against North Allegheny, Pennsbury received 14 kills, 10 digs and four blocks from Dave Lindemann; 15 kills from Jesse Beam; seven kills and four blocks from Zac Blanco; and four blocks from Adam Henkel.

Dock's Alex Sawatzky collected nine digs, eight kills, one block and one ace against Upper St. Clair. Andrew Moore added three kills, five digs and one ace; Mark Holloway eight kills, five blocks and four digs; Ryan Detweiler seven digs; Andrew Landis six kills and three digs; and Ben Yoder 23 assists, two digs and one block.

"The guys did very well," King said. "They made it to the elite eight and lost to the No. 3 team in the state. I think they're feeling pretty good about states."

Contact suburban staff writer Ira Josephs at 610-313-8002 or ijosephs@phillynews.com.

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