DOVER -- The history of the Northeastern boys' volleyball program is filled with siblings who have made their marks on the team.
There were the Shoemakers (Eric and Nic) and the Tygers (Drew and Ian) who all earned all-state honors during their playing careers.
Now there are two more brothers who are looking to add their names to that list -- the Braswells (Steven and Luke).
Steven, a junior, played sparingly on last year's team that won the York-Adams League and District 3-AA titles and made it to the PIAA semifinals. He's also filling in at a new role as an outside hitter -- a job that he inherited just a few weeks ago.
Luke, just a sophomore, is stepping into the team's role as setter, which was previously handled by Nic Shoemaker.
Thursday night, the Braswell brothers didn't break any records, but they looked like they are on their way to creating their own lore. Steven Braswell tallied a team-high 23 kills and 23 digs, while brother Luke dished out 49 assists to go with two aces to help Northeastern to a 25-16, 16-25, 25-15, 22-25, 15-6 victory over Dover.
Both the Bobcats (No. 7) and Eagles (No. 6) entered the contest ranked in the Top 10 in the first Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class AA poll of the year. York Suburban is also on that list at No. 5.
"Hopefully, maybe when we graduate, we'll be on that legendary brother combination list," Steven Braswell said. "But for now, it's just great to play with (Luke)."
Steven Braswell's emergence as one of the team's primary hitters will go a long way in determining how far Northeastern coach Matt Wilson's team can go this year.
"Steven played last year, but in a very minor role," Wilson said. "He's in a completely different role this year. A completely different position, a completely different role. We lost a player (Tanner Sweitzer) this year and that was a big change. We had to pull him into the (role) of the guy we lost, which are huge shoes to fill. Over the past two weeks he's been coming along."
While the Bobcats prevailed, the contest was anything but picture perfect. Both sides were playing their first games of the season. Each showed equal glimpses of talent and periods of inconsistency in what was a classic back-and-forth battle.
Northeastern broke a 7-all tie in Game 1 with a 3-0 run and used that momentum to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Dover responded by going on a 7-0 run early in Game 2 to gain the upper hand and coast to a victory that tied the contest.
The Bobcats answered back with a nine-point run in Game 3 to claim a 2-1 lead and looked to be in good position in Game 4 with a 21-17 lead late.
Wilson gave credit to Dover's tenacity. The Eagles refused to quit. The home team rallied to win eight of the final nine points of Game 4 to send the match into a pivotal Game 5.
"We have a dark side and I think it showed there," Wilson said. "(Dover) kept balls alive there and they showed no quit on their side, which didn't help in our endeavor. I think we might have played a little too tight ... maybe started to look to the end a little too soon."
To no surprise in the tit-for-tat battle, the Bobcats took charge in Game 5 and refused to allow Dover a chance to rebound. Behind the serving of Luke Braswell, Northeastern won the game's first seven points and never looked back.
"This is big for a sophomore setter," Wilson said. "You're playing one of the best teams in the state the first time out and that's tough as a young setter. He's got huge shoes to fill, but fortunately he has huge shoes to begin with."
While neither team played exceptional -- both teams suffered many mental lapses, serving errors and net violations -- the good thing for both is that they will get to play one another again at the midway point of the season.
"I told my guys that we'll see them again and we might see them at least one (other) time (as well)," Dover coach Chris Kennedy said. "They're going to go pretty deep (in the playoffs) and we're hoping to do the same."
Matt Hollinger finished with 14 kills, 15 digs and two aces for the Bobcats (1-0), while libero Devin Soop tallied 20 digs in the victory.
Dover's Ryan Lamparter finished with 18 kills, five digs and three aces for the Eagles (0-1). Setter Brandon Krone finished with 39 assists, while libero Tyler Wiley led Dover with 23 digs.
OTHER BOYS' VOLLEYBALL
CENTRAL YORK 3, SUS QUEHANNOCK 0: At Central, the Panthers grabbed a 25-13, 32-30, 25-18 triumph. Josh Van Wyk (18 kills), Royce Clemens (12 kills), Spencer Ortmyer (nine kills) and Dylan Hose (46 assists) sparked Central. Susquehannock was led by Alex Miller (10 kills), Thomas Michaels (16 digs) and Jon Rouse (14 assists). Central won the JV match, 25-13, 28-26.
RED LION 3, WEST YORK 0: At Red Lion, the Lions rolled, 25-18, 25-18, 25-22. Dan Longnecker (17 assists), Sam Marks (nine kills), Jake Frey (eight kills, 12 digs) and Dalton Fishel (12 digs) led the Lions. The Bulldogs were paced by Evan Farrell (12 assists, seven digs), Bryce Love (12 digs, four kills) and Joe Mann (nine digs). West York won the JV match, 25-18, 15-25, 15-12.
DALLASTOWN 3, SPRING GROVE 2: At Dallastown, the Wildcats, trailing 2-1 in games, rallied to win the last two games and the match. Barrett Wingard pounded 22 kills to highlight the 25-20, 19-25, 19-25, 25-12, 15-9 victory. Kyle Brignall supplied 10 kills for the winners, and Derek Peiffer recorded 43 assists. Aaron Hoff hammered 25 kills for Spring Grove, Seth Brassard assisted on 36 points and Dalton Hall recorded 19 digs. Spring Grove won the JV match, 25-13, 25-18.
YORK SUBURBAN 3, EASTERN 0: At Suburban, Fred Gard filled the statistics sheet as the Trojans swept the Golden Knights, 25-12, 25-17, 25-19. Gard delivered six kills, six digs, two assists, one ace and one block. Jacob Kauffman, Ted Hinnenkamp and Jaryd Eshler teamed for 25 Suburban kills, and Kody Deiter supplied 32 assists. Sandan Eaton (eight kills), Bryan Sloat (15 assists) and Tyler Himes (10 digs) were Eastern's leaders. The Golden Knights captured a hotly contested JV match, 25-19, 21-25, 16-14.
KENNARD-DALE 3, NEW OXFORD 0: At Fawn Grove, the Rams won the York-Adams match, 25-7, 26-24, 25-7. Individually for the Rams, Don Walters had eight kills, while Nate Ellis had seven kills and Jordan Sommer had 11 digs, three aces and three blocks. For the Colonials, Ross Starner had four kills and three digs, while Tyler Steckbeck contributed four digs and two kills. K-D won the JV match, 13-25, 25-15, 15-6.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.