For the fourth consecutive time, Scotch Plains-Fanwood is at the top of the UCC. The Raiders, ranked No. 2 in NJ.com’s Top 20, beat the No. 9 Union 25-19, 25-22 for the conference championship Wednesday at Kean University.
This is the third consecutive final between Union and Scotch Plains-Fanwood.
“Winning the Union County Tournament never gets old and we embrace every chance we have of winning this tournament. We don’t take anything for granted because you never know when you have the opportunity to win a title. It was a complete group effort,” said SPF head coach Brock Hor.
Junior star Nick Schmidt led the way with 24 assists, 10 digs, four kills (including the game-winner), a block and an ace for the top-ranked Raiders.
Tim Ennis had 11 kills, nine digs and a pair of blocks while Jeremy Zimmerman contributed six kills and 10 digs.
However, it was a complete team effort to take down one of the best teams in the state.
“I’ve said it before, everyone knows our big offensive stars, but I really believe we can’t get this far without the plays that don’t show up on the stat sheets like assists, decoys for release other hitters, and the hustle plays to keep the runs alive,” Hor said.
“Without Aidan Heifetz drawing blockers, Amir Johnson getting those huge blocks, Zach Chung and Reese Condon passing and defending like we need to, we wouldn’t be champions tonight. A game and break the momentum or swing it in our favor. We’ve had several of those who aren’t in the spotlight; a crucial kill from Brodie Robertson or a serve run from James Lapidus to tie the second set. We needed everyone tonight to beat a fantastic Union team, and we will need everyone if we are to make a run in the state tournament.
Heifetz and Johnson combined nine kills in the game. Chung racked up 21 digs while Condon and Lapidus had six and five digs.
The victory moves SPF to 26-1 this season, while second-seeded Union drop to 14-5.
“Union are simply a great team finally getting the recognition they deserve. They are under a great coach and their players leave everything on the pitch every time we play them. I have nothing but respect for this what they’ve accomplished and how they’re doing where they’re going,” Hor said.
The Raiders and Farmers are also the top two seeds in North Section 2 of the NJSIAA State Tournament.
The NJ High School Sports newsletter now appears in mailboxes 5 days a week. Sign up now and be among the first to get all the sports for boys and girls you care about, delivered straight to your inbox every weekday. To add your name, Click here.
Thank you for counting on us to deliver journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.
PJ Potter can be contacted at [email protected].