As a lot of teams found out this season, there was no lack of talent on the 2014 Central York boys' volleyball team.
From the front line to the back row, the Panthers were simply stacked.
So it's not much of a surprise that the PIAA state champions were well recognized when the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class AAA All-State Team was released on Thursday.
What may be surprising, however, is the sheer number of Central York players that were honored. A whopping five Panthers were among the 34 all-state players.
Heading the list were senior setter Dylan Hose and senior outside hitter Royce Clemens. Those two were joined by juniors Jason Gardner, Jeremiah Dadeboe and Landon Shorts.
""For any coach to pick up the postseason honors and sees three of his players on the all-state list is blessed," Livingston said. "And (having five players honored), I truly am blessed."
Having five all-state players is certainly high praise for any program. But for Livingston, who is now a two-time state title coach, it was his team's make-up that defined it as a championship-caliber squad.
"What was really remarkable thing about this team is the fact that we had 11 kids who played virtually every set of importance all year long," he said. "I didn't have to call substitutions or anything. And we were balanced. I think by far it was the most balanced team I've ever had. I don't think we've ever gone 11 people deep where everybody embraced their roles and got along without any jealousy on the court."
Clemens, who is also a two-time state champ, and Hose played critical parts in their team's success, which also included York-Adams League regular-season and tournament crowns, as well as a District 3-AAA title. Clemens was pivotal with his ability to serve-receive effectively and pass the ball to Hose, who had to decide where to distribute the ball for an attack.
Replacing those two will be no easy chore, considering what each meant to the club.
"(The challenge) will be in how we replace Royce's passing, which was so important to the things we were able to do offensively," Livingston said. "He tried to pass as many balls as possible. And Dylan is a spectacular setter. I'm not going to go on ad nauseam about him, but how do you replace him? I don't know. It might take two."
Fortunately for the veteran coach, he might find the answer to that problem in another of his all-state players — Shorts. In his first full year playing varsity, Shorts led the Panthers in points per game (kills, blocks plus aces) at just over 4.2, which is true representation of how versatile he is.
"Our backup setter was really Landon," Livingston said. "And you may have noticed that whenever Dylan took the first ball, we tried to get Landon to take (the set) as much as possible. And if we got into a situation where, God forbid, something would have happened to Dylan, Landon would have been the guy. That's how versatile and talented he is."
While Shorts led the team in scoring, Dadeboe and Gardner finished second and third, respectively.
"Jerry averages like four points a game and Jason is at 3.85," Livingston said. "Jason is a dynamic jumper and he is a shot maker. And during the run in the state tournament, the fact that other teams were putting middle blockers up on him was kind of irrelevant. He was just making shots all around them."
While Dadeboe's athleticism clearly jumps out at everyone who watches him, Dadeboe rarely was able to utilize his jump-serve during the season. The same goes for Gardner, and both juniors will likely be called upon to grow their games come next season.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.
PENNSYLVANIA VOLLEYBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION 2014 AAA BOYS' ALL-STATE VOLLEYBALL TEAM
PIAA District I
Christian Rupert, Sr. (M), C.B. West
Matt Hennigan, Sr. (S), C.B. West
Joel Klapper, Sr. (O), C.B. West
Ryan Jamison, Sr. (O), Neshaminy
Chase Fullen, Sr. (S), Neshaminy
Kolby Smith, Sr. (O), Pennridge
Alex Vellner, Sr. (O), Pennridge
Jeff Yasalonis, Sr. (S), Pennsbury
PIAA District 3
Jacob Kerschner, Jr. (S), Central Dauphin
Mahlon Bender, Sr. (M), Central Dauphin
Dylan Hose, Sr. (S), Central York
Royce Clemens, Sr. (O), Central York
Jason Gardner, Jr. (M/O), Central York
Jeremiah Dadaboe, Jr. (O), Central York
Landon Shorts, Jr. (O), Central York
Keith Kegerris, Sr. (M/O), Chambersburg
Michael Fisher, Jr. (O), Cumberland Valley
Ben Nauman, Jr. (OH), Hempfield
Chris Booth, Jr. (O), Hempfield
PIAA District VI
Andrew Groves, Sr. (M/O), State College
PIAA District VII
Matt Huey, Sr. (M), Butler
Garrett Kollar, Sr. (M), Latrobe
Antonios Balouris, Sr. (S), North Allegheny
David Haus, Sr. (O), Northc Allegheny
Mitch Higgins, Sr. (O), North Allegheny
Brendan Brown, Sr. (M), North Allegheny
Noah Bostick, Sr. (O), North Hills
Kevin Zabelsky, Sr. (O), Norwin
Jaysen Zaleski, Jr. (M), Fox Chapel
PIAA District XI
Jake Reynolds, Sr. (S), Emmaus
Mike Holihan, Sr. (S/M), Northampton
Tyler Phifer, Sr. (M), Parkland
Chris Schweikert, Sr. (LIB), Parkland
PIAA District XII
Dan Paraskevov, Sr. (O), George Washington