DALLASTOWN — As has happened many times this season, the Central York boys' volleyball team won the first set handily Wednesday night, this time against Hempfield in the District 3-AAA semifinals.
But the Panthers figured the Black Knights would rally at some point. It happened in Game 2, when Central York coach Brad Livingston called for a second timeout in the second game when Hempfield went up four points and needed just four more to win the second game.
"He (Livingston) was just telling us not to quit," Central York senior setter Dylan Hose said. "Keep battling point for point. And we did."
The response was a bit delayed, but Central York eventually answered, coming back to take the lead and eventually winning the game in extras. Deflated from Central's comeback, Hempfield ran out of gas in the third set. Central York went on win the semifinal matchup at Dallastown High School, 25-8, 32-30, 25-14.
"That was probably the first (game) all year where it's gone to extra points," Hose said. "Maybe one in a tournament or something, but that was nice to see us battle the whole game and come out with the 'W' because we haven't really been pushed like that the whole year."
The Panthers now move on to Friday's District 3-AAA title match against Central Dauphin, to be held at Dallastown High School at 7:30 p.m. Central Dauphin won the other semifinal over Cumberland Valley, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-22. Central Dauphin is back in the district title game for the third year in a row, having won it in 2012 and finishing as the runner-up to Hempfield in 2013.
"We played them (Central Dauphin) once (this season) in the State College Invitational," Hose said. "We beat them, but they were close games. It should be a good game. They're gonna play us tough."
Central York leads District 3 boys' volleyball for most district titles won (20), having last captured the district championship in 2010.
Semifinal rematch: The York-Adams League regular-season and league tournament champs, Central York avenged last year's loss to Hempfield in the district semis with Wednesday's win. The Black Knights had senior Garrett Dimm a year ago. Dimm has since graduated and is now playing at NCAA Division I Mount Olive (N.C.) College.
"He (Dimm) lit us up last year. I think he had like 30-some kills against us," Hose said. "They still have two hitters that we had to worry about: (Ben) Naumann and (Chris) Booth. I thought we did a decent job of stopping them in the first and third game. The second game they lit us up. They pushed us a little bit. Overall, toward the end, we were able to prevail."
Naumann and Booth combined for 24 kills to lead Hempfield, this year's Lancaster-Lebanon League Tournament runner-up. Hose finished with 35 assists, four digs and three kills. The rest of the Central attack was spread across Jason Gardner (eight kills, two blocks). Royce Clemens (eight kills, seven digs, three assists, two blocks), Landon Shorts (10 kills, two digs, two assists, one block, one ace) and Jeremiah Dadeboe (eight kills, one block, one assist).
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.