Boys Volleyball: Little Lions Falls to the Cumberland Valley Eagles


Nicole Lupo

The State High Little Lions Varsity Volleyball Team frontline at the home State College v. Cumberland Valley on April 28, 2022.

Nicole Lupo, Staff Writer

The State High Boys Volleyball team is in the home stretch of its season, having played against many teams in the Mid Penn conference such as Altoona, Chambersburg, Carlisle, and Cumberland Valley. In the varsity game against the Cumberland Valley Eagles on April 28, State High Little Lions lost all three sets. 

The lineup for this game was sophomores Kadin Karaky and Sam Li, juniors Kieran Leahey, Jett True, and Jackson Gross, and seniors Joe Brogan and Brayden Kuruzovich.

The first set started with points being scored back and forth equally between each side—Cumberland Valley in the lead and State College following close behind. Notable moments were kills by Leahey, Karaky, Kuruzovich, and Li as well as a service ace by Kuruzovich. Cumberland Valley started racking up consecutive points and edged ahead, but State College remained persistent. The score reached 24-21, Cumberland Valley at set point, and a block on their side led them to taking the first set with a final score of 25-21.

The second set followed closely in suit, with Cumberland Valley pulling ahead throughout the set and their blocking shutting out most of the Little Lions’ attacks. State College was not able to find its momentum in this set and it ended with a final score of 25-14, Cumberland Valley. 

Sophomore Sam Li plays as an outside hitter at the home State College v. Cumberland Valley on April 28, 2022. (Nicole Lupo)

“We could have received a little better, and then picked each other up and helped each other move on from a bad play when we didn’t really do well,” Leahey said, reflecting on the match. Leahey elaborated that keeping up team morale and momentum could have definitely helped in the second and third sets.

In the final set, State College took the first point with Cumberland following close behind. State High players True and Brogan scored points evening out the score to 8-7 Cumberland Valley, and points were scored back and forth until it was tied at 11-11. State High then proceeded to take the lead with a service ace by Kuruzovich, but the lead was quickly given up and the set ended 25-21 Cumberland Valley.

“We’re pretty average right now with our win-loss percentage, so this game would have been a big game to win. I think there were a lot of nerves that came into that, so I think that is part of the reason why we lost,” said Kuruzovich, tying the team’s performance back to the need for more confidence in approaching the ball.

But despite this, State College won games against Altoona, Chambersburg, and Central Dauphin East, sweeping out all three sets each time. Out of the first nine games in the season, their wins to losses were 5-4.

State High junior Jackson Gross and sophomore Sam Li reach to block with junior Kieran Leahey ready to receive. Taken at the home State College v. Cumberland Valley on April 28, 2022. (Nicole Lupo)

“We’re definitely improving and we have a lot of room to grow, but compared to past seasons we’re getting a lot better—especially just because we have a lot more kids than we usually have in the past, which is a big boost,” Leahey said. 

In past years, the State High Little Lions have reached the top five in the state, which is precisely where Cumberland Valley is now. 

“I mean [Cumberland Valley] is a good team but they’re not special,” Kuruzovich said. He believes that once the new players this year get more experience, it will change the tide.

Kuruzovich continued, explaining some of the areas he believes the team struggles with. 

“I think most of the time our base issue is having the courage to play. [Cumberland Valley was] pretty big, the block was big and I think a lot of our newer, less experienced players were a bit nervous playing against them […] I think confidence in the younger players definitely could be improved upon,” Kuruzovich said.

On May 3, the Little Lions played Carlisle at home and took three out of the five sets played—a win for State College. After a series of practices, they will play in the Shaler Invitational and then in the District 6 championships. For more info, visit their main page at SCAHS Boys Volleyball.