The wait is finally over for the York Suburban girls' volleyball team.
After 36 years, the Trojans had a chance Thursday night to win their first York-Adams League division title since 1976. While it didn't come easy, the Suburban girls capped off a festive night by downing visiting Eastern York, 25-16, 25-22, 19-25, 26-24.
The victory improved the team's overall record to 10-2 and 10-1 in Division II with just one division contest left next week at New Oxford. The Knights fell to 7-5 overall and 6-4 in the division.
"I've been waiting for this every year," said senior setter Alexis Gettle. "This is my third year playing varsity and it feels good to finally show everyone what we're capable of
Suburban coach Sonya Guyer, whose team didn't play up to expectations a year ago, was proud of how her team used experience and determination to achieve its goal.
"We did something big for the first time, in what ... 36 years?" she said. "These girls want it and we've been talking a long time, since these girls were freshmen, about wanting to put a banner on the wall. I coached the middle-school program and we talked about wanting to put a banner on the wall and now we finally did."
It looked like the Trojans were poised to sweep their rivals after dominating Game 1 and surviving a late scare to capture Game 2. Eastern, however, rallied back from a 7-5 hole in Game 3 behind the play of do-everything standout Lexi Rhein.
Rhein ignited the run from the service line that put her team ahead to stay. Her six-point burst turned a 14-13 deficit into a 19-14 lead.
"We really struggled with her serve tonight," Guyer said. "It was just a matter of getting them to calm down, collect themselves and attack it with more confidence."
It was almost deja vu in Game 4. Rhein went to the line again with her team down 14-13. The Golden Knight star served off seven points this time, but the Trojans found a way to recover. The home team rebounded with a four-point run and ended it with another four-pointer that staved off a game-point chance for Eastern.
"They are a really well-rounded team," Gettle said. "And they (play) with a lot of intensity, but we found the energy and intensity to get us back."
The contest, which was the team's last home match of the regular season, coincided with two staples of the program: Senior Night and Black Out. It was a last chance for seniors such as Gettle (37 assists), libero Lindsay Saxman (22 digs) and Luci Billet (11 kills, 11 digs) to shine while also enabling the program to raise funds for cancer research.
"The boys have a White Out and we have a Black Out every year," said Guyer of the night in which both teams wore identical black shirts with teal lettering to commemorate the cause. "Every year we choose a different organization that we want to donate as a cancer fundraiser. Two years ago it was the Jimmy V Foundation and last year it was the Hope for Cope Foundation. This year we pitched something that was close to us and this year it was one was for Barb (Grady)."
Grady, who was the longtime coach at Dover High School and a Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Famer, died from ovarian cancer two months ago. Guyer was one of Grady's players at Dover back in the early 1990s and was happy that the program was able to raise around $1,000 to benefit the cause.
Kayla Gibbs led Suburban's attack with 15 kills and five aces, while Morgan Lehman and Maura Brehl pitched in seven kills apiece.
Rhein led the Knights with 15 kills, 14 assists and 19 digs to go along with a block and two aces. Lauren Reichard finished with 11 kills and three blocks while Lauryn Snyder tallied 12 assists and three digs.
OTHER GIRLS' VOLLEYBALL
DOVER 3, DALLAS TOWN 1: At Dover, Bayleigh Hoffman powered the Eagles past the Wildcats, 25-20, 26-24, 22-25, 25-19. Hoffman finished with 20 kills, three aces, 15 digs, 18 assists and four blocks. Megan Blazosky, Alayah Hall and Karsyn Blauser combined for 26 Dover kills, and Lauryn Messner recorded 26 assists. McKenzie Peters (10 kills, five digs) and Ashley Koller (five kills) were Dallastown's leaders. The Wildcats won the JV match, 25-13, 25-17.
SPRING GROVE 3, CENTRAL 0: At Spring Grove, the Rockets won the York-Adams Division I match, 25-14, 25-21, 26-24. Katie Baynum led the Rockets with five kills and three blocks. Katie Mummert had five kills and nine digs, Mia Bennett had five kills and Adrienne Marcionette had nine digs. For the Panthers, Hadley Swartz had 16 kills, six digs, three blocks and five aces, while Sydney Gallagher had four kills and three blocks and Erin Dobbeck had 44 assists, four kills and three digs. Central won the JV match, 25-16, 25-9.
YORK CATHOLIC 3, LITTLESTOWN 2: At Littlestown, Zandria Zielinski led the Irish to the York-Adams Division III victory, 18-25, 27-25, 25-18, 21-25, 15-8 with 20 kills, seven digs and five blocks. Kathleen Farrell had 10 kills, Natalie Stewart had 32 assists and Megan Bittner had six digs and three aces. For the Thunderbolts, Taylor Nicol had 12 kills, six blocks and seven digs, while teammate Lauren Slater had 20 assists and 11 digs. York Catholic won the JV match, 25-16, 25-21. With the win, the Irish improved to 9-2 in the division.
BERMUDIAN SPRINGS 3, YORK TECH 0: At Spry, the Eagles rolled to a 25-15, 25-8, 25-16 win. Madison Itterly (10 aces), Lauren Shearer (eight kills) and Cheyenne Topper (seven digs) led Bermudian. Fawn Luckenbaugh (eight digs, six service points), Lauren Bupp (eight digs), Cheyenne Fulcher (six, digs, three kills) and Adrianna Beattie (five kills, five digs, five service points) paced Tech. Bermudian won the JV match, 25-6, 25-6.
DELONE CATHOLIC 3, FAIRFIELD 0: At Fairfield, the Squirettes won the York-Adams Division III match, 25-14, 25-10, 25-14. Allie Mondorff led the visitors with five aces, five kills and eight assists. Maddie Comly had four kills, while Kayla Baadte had five digs and three assists. For the Green Knights, Abby Blinn had five digs. The Squirettes won the JV match, 25-5, 25-19. Delone clinched at least a tie for the division crown at 10-0.
WEST YORK 3, YORK HIGH 0: At West York, the Bulldogs won the York-Adams Division II match, 25-5, 25-16, 25-14. The Bulldogs also won the JV match, 25-5, 25-4. No other details were available.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.