While it's pretty clear that Northeastern and Central York are the top two boys' volleyball teams in the York-Adams League this season, a pair of clubs looking to close the gap on those two squared off at York Suburban High School on Tuesday night.
Both the home-standing Trojans and the visiting Bulldogs of West York entered the contest with 4-1 league records heading into their Tuesday battle. While Suburban entered the season as probably the favorite to be the No. 3 team in the league, the Bulldogs were not really in the discussion.
And for good reason. West York coach Kevin Wolf wasn't even sure he would field a team as late as a week before the preseason started. With only nine players, many of whom had never played the sport, Wolf had his work cut out for him.
While the Bulldogs showed many traits of a solid volleyball team, the Trojans were just a bit better. Behind a game-high 12 kills from Jacob Kauffman, Suburban swept the visitors, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18.
"They're a good team," Kauffman said. "I was very impressed by how far some of those (West York) guys have come."
The Bulldogs had their chances in the first two games. They evened the score at 22-22 late in Game 1, but kills from Ryan Bury (six kills) and Kauffman, followed by a rotation error, allowed the Trojans to prevail.
That rotation error was one of several called against the visitors in Game 1. Part of that could have been the result of the team missing libero Mitch Grimm, who missed school because of an illness.
"Obviously when you pull a player like that out, beyond the skill, you have guys playing in positions that they really haven't played before," Wolf said. "In the first game we had four or five out-of-rotation calls. That's four or five points, and when you lose by two or three points, that's a game right there."
The Bulldogs weren't the only team to give away free points. Suburban (6-1 overall, 5-1 league) missed a number of services and allowed a handful of free-ball opportunities in both Game 1 and Game 2. West York took advantage, grabbing a 10-7 lead in Game 2 before the Trojans rallied with a quick 7-2 run to regain control.
"We talked about our unforced errors," Suburban coach Jamie Evans said. "We just couldn't give away free points. Serving ... absolutely. We gave away eight or nine points in the first two games and you just can't do that."
The home team dominated in Game 3, using a 10-1 run to go up 18-8. That allowed Evans to play some of his younger guys, much to the delight of the Suburban fans and seniors.
"That was kind of cool. I didn't realize until right before Ryan (Bury) subbed back in that we had five sophomores out on the floor there along with Jake," Evans said. "We have six seniors, so we know we're going to need those guys next year."
Austin Groff led West York with eight kills and eight digs, while Taylor Boyer dished out 10 assists.
Lars Dalemar racked up 11 assists for the Trojans, while Kauffman and Ian Firestone each tallied five digs.
Suburban is now alone in third place in the league.
OTHER BOYS' VOLLEYBALL
Susquehannock 3, Eastern York 0: At Glen Rock, Nathan Rohrbaugh led the Warriors to a 25-16, 25-12, 25-8 victory with 12 kills, eight aces, five digs and three blocks. Also excelling for the Warriors were A.J. Schaeffer (seven kills, six digs), Stephen Rouse (25 assists, five digs) and Brian Sheddy (nine digs, five kills, three aces). For the Golden Knights, Sean Mego had eight assists and four digs, while Brady Dailey had three blocks, three kills and four digs and Jarad Woods had four kills. Eastern won the JV match, 25-12, 25-17.
Northeastern 3, Dallastown 0: At Dallastown, the Bobcats won 25-10, 25-15, 25-15. Reese Devilbiss led the visitors with 15 kills and three blocks. Also for Northeastern, Philip White had seven kills, three blocks and four digs, Matt Schaeffer had 31 assists, three digs and three aces and Chris Lee had six digs. Northeastern improved to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the York-Adams League. For the Wildcats, Chadd Jones had seven kills, Nate Swartz had nine assists and Aaron Ward had three kills. Northeastern won the JV match, 25-21, 26-24.
Central York 3, Spring Grove 0: At Spring Grove, Royce Clemens led the Panthers to a 25-14, 25-7, 25-11 victory with 12 digs and eight kills. Dylan Hose (33 assists, 13 digs), Jeremiah Dadeboe (seven kills, six digs) and Landon Shorts (six kills, three aces) also excelled for Central. Central improved to 7-0 overall and 6-0 in the York-Adams League. For the Rockets, Austin Muff had 12 assists, Dalton Forbes had five kills and Garrett Leib contributed three digs. Central won the JV match, 25-10, 13-25, 15-13.
Dover 3, New Oxford 0: At Dover, the Eagles won 25-8, 25-22, 25-8. Brendan Warren led the Eagles with 19 kills, 12 digs and four aces. Also for Dover, Koi Xapakdy had 14 digs, Koleman Hoffman had 11 digs and six kills and J.T. Crossan had 30 assists and five digs. For the Colonials, Ryan McMaster had six kills and six digs, while Trey Noble had 12 assists and three digs. New Oxford won the JV match, 25-22, 25-11.
Red Lion 3, Kennard-Dale 1: At Fawn Grove, Dan Longnecker led the Lions to a 25-9, 25-16, 22-25, 25-19 victory with five kills and eight assists. Hunter Klein (16 assists, 14 digs, three aces) and Bennett Frey (10 digs, six kills) also excelled for Red Lion. For the Rams, Matt Moore had five kills, four digs and three blocks, while Josiah McConville had eight assists, 14 digs and four kills.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.