York Suburban boys' volleyball coach Jamie Evans knew something was different with his 2012 team from the very first practice.
Usually, he's had to teach the fundamentals of the game and get the Trojans prepared for the looming season.
This year, however, his Trojans are more advanced. The experiences they had last year, when they fell a game shy of a coveted PIAA state berth, are proving to be a huge stepping stone in what everyone in the program is hoping is the next leap forward.
Thursday night at home against Dallastown, Suburban appeared to be in midseason form against a Wildcat team that entered the contest ranked No. 10 in the latest Pennsylvania State Volleyball Coaches Association Class AAA poll.
The difference between the visitors and Evans' club, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AA in that same poll, was the Trojans' versatility and the ability to close out games. Suburban used a 12-4 run to close out Game 1 and did similarly in Game 2 and Game 3 to roll to a 25-18, 25-21, 25-16 victory.
"I have never started a season with a team that was ready to go on Day 1," Evans said. "After three weeks of practice, we just needed to do something."
The Trojans did do "something" with early-season victories over New Oxford, Eastern York and Susquehannock before their first big test against the Wildcats.
"We talked about intensity and maintaining that intensity and they did that tonight," Evans said. "It doesn't matter who is on the other side of the court. We should be executing plays no matter who we're playing, but it's definitely easier to get up for a bigger match for sure."
Suburban was able to play its style throughout the night because of setter Kody Deiter's ability to pace the offense. Deiter seemed to handle the passes and get the ball to his team's bevy of hitters in key moments.
"The setter is the quarterback and he's calling the plays out on the court," Evans said. "He's really running that offense and making that set selection."
Dallastown coach Gabe Bishard was impressed with Deiter's performance as well.
"They run a very fast-paced offense and it created fits for our blockers all night," Bishard said. "There were a couple of plays where their hitters were hitting and we didn't have blockers up and that's a credit to their setter."
Dallastown's 6-foot, 5-inch standout, Barrett Wingard, finished with a team-high 12 kills, but was mostly neutralized, especially in Game 2 and Game 3.
"We focused on Barrett, and when they didn't go to Barrett we knew they were going to their middles," Deiter said. "We knew what to look forward to."
The biggest difference between the two teams was the Trojans' ability to close games out.
With the visitors holding a 14-13 advantage in Game 1, Suburban used a four-point run to take control. The hosts held the Wildcats to just one point off service the rest of the way en route to closing out the game with a 12-4 spurt.
"They definitely finished games strong," Bishard said. "That happened in Games 1 and 2. We had the lead and they fought back. And that's what you have to do."
The Trojans (4-0) also used an effective service game to throw the Wildcats off balance. Suburban finished with just six aces, but were effective in causing the Dallastown serve-receive into some problems.
"Our goal was to serve hard and try to throw off their passing," Evans said. "I thought we did that. We talked about that, and to make them move to throw off their passing a little bit. So we took a little off the serve to make them move and I thought that helped us out a lot."
Jaryd Eshler led the Trojans with 11 kills, while sophomore Jacob Kauffman finished with nine kills. Fred Gard added eight kills and senior Ted Hinnenkamp tallied five to round out a balanced attack.
"You have to communicate with everyone," Deiter said of his most important job as a setter. "You have to know where everyone is."
Deiter dished out 34 assists, while adding a kill and a block.
Derek Peiffer finished with 19 assists, two blocks, two aces, a kill and a dig for the Wildcats (3-1). Dylan Smith collected seven digs to lead the Dallastown defense.
OTHER BOYS' VOLLEYBALL
CENTRAL 3, RED LION 0: At Red Lion, the Panthers won, 25-17, 25-23, 25-14. Spencer Ortmyer led the visitors with 11 kills and 41/2 blocks. Dylan Hose had 33 assists, while Ryan Gardner had 10 kills and Josh Van Wyk had eight kills and three digs. For the Lions, Jake Frey had seven kills and 11 digs, while Dan Longnecker had 21 assists and four digs. Dalton Fishel had 12 digs. Central won the JV match, 25-14, 29-27.
DOVER 3, SPRING GROVE 0: At Dover, the Eagles won, 25-22, 37-35, 25-18. Ryan Lamparter led the visitors with 16 kills, seven digs and three blocks. Tyler Lehman had eight kills and eight digs, Ian Julius had 11 kills and Tyler Wiley had 10 digs. For the Rockets, Aaron Hoff had 18 kills and 10 digs, while Dalton Hall had 16 digs and Colby Messersmith had five kills.
EASTERN 3, WEST YORK 2: At Wrightsville, Bryan Sloat led the Golden Knights to the 25-16, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 20-18 victory with 43 assists and 13 digs. Sandon Eaton had 18 kills, 13 digs and nine aces, Kyle Hershner had 13 kills and eight digs and Dave Arnsberger had 12 kills and 11 digs. For the Bulldogs, Evan Farrell had 27 assists, 19 digs, three kills and three aces, while Bryce Love had 26 digs and 17 kills. Josh Rinehart had 12 kills and 10 digs. Eastern won the JV match, 25-18, 25-18.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 3, KENNARD-DALE 2: At Fawn Grove, the Warriors won, 25-19, 25-19, 18-25, 21-25, 15-7. Jon Rouse led the Warriors with 34 assists and four kills, while Thomas Bonitz had 14 kills and 10 digs and Alex Miller had 13 kills and three blocks. For the Rams, Dylan Tessier had 17 kills, while Nate Ellis had 16 kills and Alex Caldwell had 47 assists. Susquehannock won the JV match, 2-0.
NORTHEASTERN 3, NEW OXFORD 0: At New Oxford, the Bobcats had little trouble disposing of the Colonials, 25-7, 25-4, 25-9. Northeastern improved to 3-0 in York-Adams League action, just a half game behind first-place York Suburban. Luke Braswell had 23 assists for the Bobcats, while Philip White added eight digs.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.