Short-handed Deer Lakes loses to Montour in WPIAL Class AA volleyball consolation

Thursday, May 24, 2018 | 11:54 PM

A return trip to the PIAA state playoffs wasn't in the cards for Deer Lakes boys volleyball.

After losing the first two games of Thursday's WPIAL AA consolation match against Montour, the Lancers tried to rally.

They took Game 3, but the Spartans won Game 4 to wrap up a 3-1 victory at Baldwin.

“We fought all the way through,” Deer Lakes coach Brady Schuller said. “We didn't give up. I am proud of the guys for that.”

The Lancers finished at 13-4. The Spartans (13-4) clinched a spot in the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Montour came close two years ago, but it was Deer Lakes who stopped the Spartans in the AA consolation game.

“This really means a lot to the guys,” Montour coach Mike Vavrek said. “There are 10 seniors, and five of them played pretty significant roles when we lost to Deer Lakes in this same game in 2016. They were able get a little measure of revenge, and it feels good to them.”

The Lancers played Thursday's match without WPIAL Class AA Most Valuable Player Dan Hutchinson.

The 6-foot-2 senior outside hitter suffered an ankle injury in Tuesday's semifinal loss to Ambridge.

“The guys are so used to having him in there as a physical and vocal leader,” Schuller said. “He really wanted to be out there.”

Schuller said the team wanted to get to states to give Hutchinson an opportunity to return.

“(Hutchinson's) been such a game-changer for them,” Vavrek said. “It was a big loss for them, but they continued to work and fight. We knew that with or without him, it wasn't going to be easy.”

Deer Lakes fell behind 10-4 in Game 1 but rallied to tie it at 11 and, later, at 22. But a kill from senior outside hitter Brandon Wagner gave Montour a 26-24 win.

Senior Tyler Osselborn had nine kills to lead the Lancers in the first game.

Wagner, Donald Pfarner, Justin Molitoris, Derek Wassel, Nathan Donahue and Brady Carver helped the Spartans to a 25-19 victory in Game 2.

The lights went out during Game 4 with Montour ahead 18-16. After about a 10-minute delay, the Spartans built a 23-20 lead. Deer Lakes tried to stave off elimination, and a kill from senior Devin Demase cut the deficit to 23-21. But a Lancers' two-hits error and a kill from Wagner sealed the game and the match.

Between the AA and AAA championship matches, the WPIAL announced its all-star teams.

Hutchinson and Osselborn were voted to the first team, and seniors Josh Solomon and Shane Yarussi were second- and third-team picks, respectively.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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