Shaler boys volleyball sweeps Parkland to avenge loss, claim program’s 1st state title

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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | 5:23 PM


STATE COLLEGE — Shaler dropped last year’s PIAA Class 3A championship to District 11 champion Parkland in three straight games and wanted revenge.

They got it with a complete team victory and a three-game sweep Saturday at Penn State’s Rec Hall. Game scores were 25-21, 25-15, and 25-20, giving the Titans their first state championship.

Leading 2-0 in games, Shaler handed away the first two points in Game 3 but righted the ship to grab a 9-6 lead behind the hitting of Dante Palombo. The senior-dominant team spread the ball around from setter Zach Rosenwald. The Trojans responded and kept the game close, prompting a Titans timeout with Shaler leading 19-18.

Shaler won six of the last eight points to close it out.

“This victory was set in place by the teams before us that set the culture, but these guys worked so hard in the offseason,” said Shaler coach Paul Stadelman. “These guys have been playing together since they were kids. They are great friends and will go to battle each day. Today, I thought we came out with confidence and didn’t allow anything to rattle us. We fell behind by five points in Game 1, but we battled back.”

Shaler (20-1) beat Carlisle, State College, and Warwick to get back to the championship game. Parkland (21-4) had a tougher time, edging Red Lion and Pennsbury in five-set matches before sweeping Central York to reach the finals.

Shaler jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, but also quickly fell behind 7-5 after several miscues. They trailed 12-9 in the largest deficit in Game 1. The game played out tied at every point from 14 onto 21. Sparked by a defensive effort led by libero Cam Miller, Shaler took control. The Titans tallied the final four points to take the first game 25-21.

The Titans spread the ball around but were able to take advantage of the middle with the quick set and hits by Logan Schmimmel and Palombo. Palombo finished with 20 kills, and the team was credited with 27 digs in the opening game.

“We had confidence all year in each other,” Palombo said. “We have faced adversity and we have been behind, but we just had to continue to play that one-point-at-a-time mentality. We are going to make mistakes, but we just had to make up for it. Someone on this team was always there to pick us up.”

The Titans ran out to a 5-0 lead in Game 2, prompting a Parkland timeout. Four Shaler players had hits and Miller recorded an ace during the run. The lead was extended to 9-1 and eventually 11-5 on a Palombo hit. The team effort resulted in a 25-15 win in Game 2, setting the stage for the sweep.

“I thought Shaler played a phenomenal game today, “said Parkland coach Scott Trumbauer. “Dante Palombo showed us a lot last year, but he took it to another level this year. They just never allowed us to get into any type of run. They served aggressively, they played aggressively, and we just didn’t match that intensity. Give them all the credit for this win. I don’t think we had a run of more than three points all game. We knew what to expect. They just played better than us.”

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