Bucks County Herald

New Hope sweeps Faith

DAVID CAMPBELL

New Hope-Solebury isn’t scheduling any cupcakes.

The Lions launched their season last Tuesday at North Penn and won in three sets, including a dominating 25-14 performance in set one.

“We had our outside hitter, Katie (Costello), on that night and that was good,” junior setter Gwen Vogelsang said. “And our middles, Jen (Sommerfeldt) and Maryna (Chuma), were on, too, and so was our other outside, Rachel (McMahon), and our passing was good. I just think we all clicked together.”

A sophomore, Costello finished with 12 kills. Sommerfeldt and Vogelsang each added six kills; McMahon had five kills and Sarah Deussing ended with three. Sophomore libero Bella Fleischacker and freshman Grace Hanly each came up with eight digs. Vogelsang dished out 31 assists.

Three days later, New Hope hit the road again for a Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) contest at Faith Christian and swept the host Lions, 3-0 (25-8, 25-6, 25-8).

“They’re young; they’re talented,” New Hope head coach Roy Watson said. “They know they’re good and they’re just workmanlike in their attitude. They don’t take anything for granted. They don’t overlook teams; they don’t underestimate their own selves. They’re a really good team. I expect a lot.”

Facing a Faith team that starts three seniors and three freshmen and is under the guidance of first-year head coach Leigh Kunnmann, New Hope roared to a 14-1 lead in set one, a 9-0 lead in set two and won 11 of the final 12 points in set three. Costello’s 14 kills led the way. Nine Lions registered kills.

“I think we’re seen as a better team and I think that makes us feel like a better team,” said Vogelsang, who had four kills, three aces and 27 assists at Faith. “Our coach believed in us before, but now he believes in us even more and is very enthusiastic about it. I think that brings our whole team up.”

New Hope had a historic 2016 campaign. The Lions captured the District One/District 11 Class AA regional championship and won a game in states before bowing out to District Two’s Holy Redeemer in the second round.

New Hope (5-1 overall) returns plenty of firepower.

“We’ve been working on different skills and trying to build on our really good base and just keep growing as the season goes on,” Costello said, “so we can beat harder and harder teams and keep progressing.”

The Lions have a number of Suburban One League (SOL) teams on their calendar. They travel to William Tennent on Sept. 18, Central Bucks South on Sept. 28, Council Rock North on Oct. 10 and Bensalem on Oct. 12. Souderton is slated to pay a visit to New Hope on Oct. 17 to close out the regular season.

“I expect them to be competitive with everybody we play all season long,” Watson said.

“We have a pretty beefy schedule and I think they’re up to the task,” Watson added. “I think this is probably one of the strongest teams that New Hope has ever seen.”

In the BAL, New Hope will play at Dock Mennonite on Sept. 19 and will welcome the Pioneers to New Hope on Oct. 5. Faith travels to New Hope on Oct. 16.

Friday’s setback dropped Faith to 1-2. Kunnmann has a small team. She has a proven leader, though, in senior Myah Brown.

“Play better as a team and talk and just build their confidence,” said Kunnmann, when asked for her goals for 2017. “Their confidence is really low right now.”

New Hope’s confidence might be sky high. Watson has only two seniors, McMahon and Karen Gliksman.
“They’re very loose; they’re a lot of fun to coach because they are young,” Watson said.

The Lions went 2-1 in a tournament on Saturday, sweeping Great Valley and Conestoga Christian and falling to Octorara Area, 2-1.

Costello and Vogelsang contributed seven and six kills, respectively, against Octorara. Fleischacker amassed 11 digs. Vogelsang added 16 assists.

“Everyone brings each other up,” Costello said.

New Hope, which blasted nonleague Conwell-Egan in three sets on Monday (Fleischacker had five aces and six digs), doesn’t play again until Thursday, when Calvary Baptist stops by. Watson insists the Lions will play as a team.

“Overall, the fact that we’re so young and we’re able to play so well in terms of team volleyball,” Watson said on what makes New Hope a tough out. “We can be one-dimensional. We can certainly set No. 26 (Costello) all day long, but that’s not who we are.

“We haven’t even really scratched the surface on how good this team can be,” Watson concluded.

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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