Abington Heights’ late season surge in boys volleyball ended May 28 in the first round of the state playoffs.
Academy of Palumbo, the second-place team from District 12, defeated the Comets, 3-1 (26-24, 25-23, 20-25, 25-18) in the PIAA Class 2A playoffs at Lincoln High School.
Abington Heights, the third-place team from District 2, ends the season 11-7.
Will Brown and James McGrail each had 10 kills, while Nate Steenback had 17 assists and Matt Pacyna added 16 assists, and Chance Vansickle had nine digs for the Comets.
“We did do a lot of things well, and I do think if we did some other things a little bit better, we certainly could have won,” Abington Heights coach Jamie Spangler said. “We certainly weren’t in a situation where we were outrageously overmatched. It is always good to see the resolve that we showed and that we never gave up.
“We showed a lot of the things that we used here at the end of the season, good communication and leadership, and I was happy to see that.”
Abington Heights, which won seven of its last eight matches to qualify for the state tournament, jumped out to leads of 16-9 and 18-10 in the first game, but couldn’t weather a comeback by Palumbo, which finished on a 9-3 run to win the first game.
“We got a little bit surprised how easily things came early in the match, and then they really cleaned things up, and we didn’t respond well after they fixed a lot of their issues,” Spangler said.
Down 2-0 and facing elimination, Abington Heights built a 10-7 lead and posted a 25-20 win in the third game to stay alive.
“That is a positive to take forward,” Spangler said. “That has kind of been our motto here at the end of the season, that never say die approach, and we played hard until the very end.”
The Griffins took the third game, 25-18, preventing Abington Heights from advancing in the state tournament for the first time in program history.
McGrail finished the season with 204 kills and Pacyna had 321 assists.