DALLASTOWN -- If seems like a case of déjà vu for the South Western Mustangs in the York-Adams League girls' volleyball playoffs.
Last year, the Mustangs entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed from Division I. With no one expecting much from them, Coach Cathy Harman's team pulled off a pair of upsets before falling in the finals.
Their path to the finals last year went through a Central York squad that finished second in Division I. The Panthers swept the Mustangs in both regular-season meetings, but Harman's squad pulled off a shocker in the semifinals.
The story line is much the same as we fast forward to this year's tournament.
The Mustangs had a tough go of it against Division II champion Northeastern in a quarterfinal showdown at Dallastown High School Monday night. Harman's club, however, pulled out a pair of nail-biters in Game 1 and Game 2 before sweeping the Bobcats, 25-22, 27-25, 25-19.
Next up for South Western is Central York, of course. The Panthers, again the No. 2 seed from Division I, cruised into the semifinals after downing York Suburban, 25-15, 25-21, 25-10. The Mustangs and Panthers will face one another at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Dallastown Middle School.
The other semifinal will pit Division I champion Susquehannock, a 25-17, 25-17, 25-14 winner over Hanover, against Division III champion Delone Catholic. The Squirettes advanced after dispatching a scrappy West York side, 25-13, 25-8, 14-25, 25-11. Delone and Susquehannock will battle at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Dallastown High School.
The semifinal winners will square off in the finals around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dallastown High School.
While Harman wasn't looking ahead to Tuesday's semifinals, she was certainly aware of the fact that her Mustangs already owned a four-game victory over Northeastern earlier in the season. She was quick to point out to her squad that she didn't want what her team did to Central a year ago to happen to the Mustangs this year.
"Last year we came in here and beat Central after they beat us twice in the regular season," Harman said. "I think they were looking past us toward the (finals). So I told (our girls), 'don't look past Northeastern, because if you do, we're going to get beaten. So play tonight before you play tomorrow night.'"
The Bobcats gave the Mustangs everything they could handle in Game 1 and Game 2. After drawing to within 23-22 in Game 1, South Western prevailed by claiming the final two points. In Game 2, however, Northeastern rebounded from 23-22 deficit to earn a game point at 25-24.
After a timeout, a Bobcat service error, a Mustang ace and then an attack that sailed out of play allowed South Western to pull out a 27-25 victory.
In Game 3, the Mustangs broke a 5-5 tie with a five-point run to take the lead for good. The Bobcats, however, rallied to cut the deficit to 21-18 before Harman's side won four of the final five points to close out the contest.
While the situation is the same from a year ago, the makeup of the Mustang squad is a little different this season, according to senior Holly Arey.
"We're rebuilding our team a little bit this year," she said. "We lost our setter and our libero, and some other girls didn't come out this year. So getting back to counties is great. We have that experience to really go hard and go at it."
Panthers get gut check: While the Panthers cruised past the Trojans, Game 2 was a bit of a gut check for Coach Nate Ocasio's squad. Suburban evened the match at 16-16 in that game before Central rallied late to pull out a 25-21 triumph.
Ocasio looked at that test as a good experience for his squad in a pressure situation.
"It's always good to get tested in the postseason," he said. "So it's always good to get tested before you get into districts and stuff like that, that you're battle-tested and ready."
Last year's disappointment notwithstanding, Ocasio knows that his team has to be ready for every point Tuesday night if it wants to make a run to the finals.
"Anyone that gets into the postseason in counties is going to be good," he said. "We'd like to get another shot at Susquehannock, a team that beat us twice, or even Delone. I'm sure that either one of those teams would be a good test for us."
Warriors roll: The Warriors had few troubles with Division III runner-up Hanover, although Coach Rob Marrison didn't feel his team played its best game.
"I think we were a little flat there in the first game, but I give credit to Hanover," he said. "Hanover's a really good defensive team and they made us work for the points that we got."
While the Warriors are far from strangers with the Squirettes -- both teams have a history of playing club ball together over the summer -- it will be the first showdown between the two schools since last year's semifinals. Delone won that contest a year ago en route to the league crown.
"That's the nice thing about this tournament," Marrison said. "You get to see some different teams and some different competition and I think that really helps us get ready for districts. You see a lot of different styles when you're here and you'll see that in the district tournament as well."
Delone overcomes hiccup: Coach Jason Leppo's team had a brief hiccup en route to its victory over West York.
After pulling out to big leads and cruising to easy victories in the Game 1 and Game 2, the Bulldogs broke an 8-8 tie in Game 3, winning 17 of the final 23 points.
"We kind of pushed the self-destruct button," Leppo said. "And West York played better. They passed a lot better, too. They're not a bad team when they pass. We kind of flip-flopped roles there from the first two games it seemed."
The Squirettes rebounded to break open an 11-9 lead in Game 4 with an impressive 14-2 run to end it.
Stats: Delone Catholic -- Sarah Senft (five kills, seven assists), Katie Laughman (28 assists), Maddie Comly (eight kills, four digs), Cambria Wierman (seven kills, seven digs, four aces), Mary Gingrow (seven kills); Central York -- no stats available; Susquehannock -- Abigail Bentz (17 kills, 11 digs), Kelly Franz (23 assists, 14 digs), Abbey Barnhart (16 digs); South Western -- Holly Arey (12 kills, seven digs), Erin Harman (eight kills, eight aces, 12 digs), Hannah McMaster (19 assists, six digs).
OTHER GIRLS' VOLLEYBALL
HARRISBURG 3, YORK HIGH 1: At Harrisburg, the Bearcats suffered a 25-19, 25-27, 25-17, 25-12 setback. Cheyenne Bradford (six kills, four blocks), Oshaila Woodard (four kills) and Tania Collazo (four kills) led York High. The Bearcats won the junior varsity match, 25-22, 11-25, 17-15.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.