DALLASTOWN -- In terms of experience, the Northeastern and Dover boys' volleyball teams couldn't be much different.
The Eagles are a senior-laden team that experienced playing in the PIAA state tournament a year ago. The Bobcats are a youthful bunch with only two seniors remaining from a team that made it all the way to the PIAA semifinals last season.
Despite those difference, both teams accomplished their shared goal Monday night in District 3 Class AA preliminary-round contests at Dallastown High School.
Dover rebounded from a disheartening loss to the Bobcats in last week's York-Adams League playoffs by sweeping Garden Spot, 25-17, 25-15, 25-17. Northeastern followed that up by sliding past pesky Susquehannock, 25-16, 23-25, 25-15, 25-12.
Both teams moved to Wednesday's pool-play action at Wilson High School. The Bobcats, ranked No. 5 in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association pool, and the Eagles, ranked No. 6, will be joined by Berks Catholic and Lancaster Mennonite. The top two finishers will move on to the semifinals Friday night at Central York High School.
Dover's seniors led the way vs. Garden Spot.
"We played almost as good as we could (last Thursday against Northeastern)," said Dover standout Ryan Lamparter of the Eagles' 3-2 loss to Northeastern. "We just had to learn from our mistakes (in that game) and I think that we did that tonight."
Lamparter led the way for the Eagles with 10 kills and four blocks. The Juniata-bound senior thought that his team took advantage of opportunities vs. Garden Spot. That's something the Eagles didn't do particularly well after jumping out to a 2-0 lead on the Bobcats last Thursday in the same gym.
"We really just let them make mistakes," he said. "We didn't really have to do too much. Northeastern doesn't make nearly as many errors, but when they do, we have to capitalize on them when they make them. That's something that we didn't do well Thursday."
Dover coach Chris Kennedy was impressed with how his team responded in a must-win contest.
"To come back here, after three days rest, and beat a good Garden Spot team and advance ... that's all we really wanted to do," Kennedy said.
Now the Eagles will get another crack at the defending District 3-AA champion Bobcats, something they've been hoping for since the end of the regular season. Dover and Northeastern, however, won't meet up until their third match of the night at Wilson. The implications of such a match might decide who advances and who goes home.
"We know what they have," said Kennedy, whose team suffered a pair of 3-2 losses to the Bobcats this season. "I think it's going to be a good match."
Setter Brandon Krone finished with 26 assists, while libero Tyler Wiley collected 15 digs.
Young Bobcats move on: While the Eagles feature seven seniors, the Bobcats are quite the opposite. Coach Matt Wilson's team features just two seniors, one of whom -- Tanner Sweitzer -- has been sidelined all season because of a heart condition. That lack of a senior presence has hurt Wilson's talented club at times, including in a pair of losses to York-Adams League champion York Suburban.
That inexperience may have been the root cause of a Game 2 collapse vs. Susquehannock. The Bobcats led by as many as seven points on two occasions, but inexplicably allowed the Warriors to rally for the win to even the contest, 1-1.
"It's killing us," Wilson said. "In Game 2 tonight and at other times this season, we're up big and all of a sudden they go on a big run. (Our lack of experience) is killing us, but we're persevering."
The Bobcats swept the Warriors in their only regular-season meeting and looked to be on course to do the same Monday after winning the first game. After the Bobcats jumped out big, however, they went into something Wilson has dubbed "neutral-mode."
Susquehannock, which finished in the middle of the league standings, took full advantage of Northeastern's lack of focus and rallied to hand the Bobcats a shocking message.
"I think we got too excited," Northeastern's Steven Braswell said. "Being a younger team, I think that if we beat a team really easy early on (in the season), that we kind of lay back. Our coach tells us that we go into a 'neutral-mode.' We play good for the first half of the game and then we just kind of shut down."
Braswell and his teammates got the wake-up call from that setback and played in top gear from that point on.
"We know that we can't afford to make mistakes like that (again)," Braswell said, referring to Wednesday's pool play.
Braswell led the Bobcats with 17 kills to go with 15 digs, while Matt Hollinger (12 kills) and Malik Jefferson (10 kills) also paced a more relentless attack. Luke Braswell finished with 43 assists, while libero Devin Soop had 20 digs.
Alex Miller led Susquehannock with nine kills, while setter Jon Rouse dished out 10 assists. Libero Thomas Michels tallied 44 digs, while Tomas Bonitz collected 27 digs.
Central York ousted: In a District 3-AAA preliminary-round match at Hempfield, Central York's season ended with a 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-15 loss to the host school.
The Panthers, who were the defending PIAA state AAA champions, finished the season at 8-6 overall. Hempfield is ranked No. 9 in the state in AAA.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.