LINGLESTOWN - It felt a little weird for Eastern York girls' volleyball standout Lexi Rhein during Sunday's District 3 East-West Showcase at Central Dauphin High School.
There was Rhein, who already has signed her national letter of intent to play the sport at the University of Charleston, on one side of the court with her York-Adams and Mid-Penn teammates. On the other side were three of her teammates from her old club team -- Hempfield's Morgan Lowe, Daniel Boone's Liama Goodrich and Berks Catholic's Alaina Pisczek -- playing for the Berks/Lancaster-Lebanon squad.
As unusual as that felt, however, Rhein fit in quite well with her teammates for a day, helping the York-Adams/Mid-Penn side earn a 25-18, 20-25, 25-20, 25-21 victory.
"It was really fun," Rhein said. "It was really funny because three of the girls on the other team where on my Synergy team last year. So it was basically like playing against some of my teammates, which was pretty cool. It was a lot more fun than I anticipated."
Rhein seemed to fit in well with her other seven teammates -- Central York's Hadley Swartz, Susquehannock's Caroline Savin, Delone Catholic's Allie Mondorff, Trinity's Hannah Fry, Carlisle's Morgan Herold, Greencastle's Nakita Gearhart and Chambersburg's Liashira Rivera. Rhein's team played nearly flawless defense while taking advantage of having a pair of 6-footers in Savin and Fry at the net.
"It was both fun and challenging to get a new group together," Rhein said. "Especially with middles and setting and trying to get that connection going strong. But having (Savin and Fry) was awesome."
Rhein also recalled the unusual circumstances surrounding her team's victory over York Suburban in the first round of the District 3-AA playoffs. The Trojans swept her Knights during the regular season, so there wasn't a lot of optimism that the third time would be much different. Then there was the fact that Eastern's homecoming was scheduled the same night as the contest, which made things a little more frantic.
"Beating Suburban ... which we were clearly not supposed to have won," she said. "They beat us twice, but we beat them and had to go to homecoming right after. That was so fun. I also think that the fact that we had something afterwards was kind of pushing us."
Savin, who played on several championship teams with the Warriors, had fun playing with her new teammates, but did acknowledge it would be tough to never put on Susquehannock's red-and-white jersey again.
"I definitely had a lot of fun," Savin said. "It was fun playing with and against all the various players from the other teams. But it was the last time playing in this jersey, so it was a little bittersweet."
Playing with Swartz was a nice change for Savin, who normally only saw Swartz on the other side of the net during the past season.
"We played against (her team) so many times that it was good to finally be able to play with them," she said.
Savin also enjoyed playing side-by-side with Fry, a tandem that caused many shots to be re-directed or blocked during the match.
"We were definitely stacked," said Savin, who has narrowed her college choices down to Lebanon Valley, West Chester, Chestnut Hill and McDaniel.
Swartz, on the other hand, hasn't really given much thought about her college preferences yet. She wanted to wait for the season to conclude before spending some serious time on the subject over the holidays.
Wherever Swartz plays in college will get a fierce competitor with a good all-around game. Swartz, in fact, was the only player on her side that was able to regularly find a way to get the ball to floor against another impressive defensive squad.
"It was a lot of fun," she said. "And to see a bunch of girls that are just as competitive as you are come together and just play the game that we love to play -- it was awesome."
Swartz pointed to her team's come-from-behind victory over Chambersburg in the first round of the District 3-AAA playoffs as a highlight. The Panthers were a mere point away from falling to Rivera's side before going on a remarkable comeback.
"We had a huge deficit, and to end up coming back and winning that game was so much fun," she said.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.