It shows a lot of character when a team struggles in one area for much of a match, yet still finds a way to win.
That was the case for the York Suburban boys' volleyball team Thursday night against fellow York-Adams League unbeaten Northeastern.
The Trojans, who entered the contest ranked No. 2 in the state in Class AA in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association poll, had a lot of missed serves in the first and third games against the 10th-ranked Bobcats.
The good teams, though, find a way to prevail, and that's exactly what the hosts did on a night that also served as the program's fourth annual White Out. With both teams clad in white T-shirts with black shorts, the Trojans triumphed in a tense, back-and-forth Game 1, and carried that momentum on for a 26-24, 25-17, 26-24 victory.
The match pitted the last two unbeaten teams in the league and the win puts the Trojans in good position to claim the regular-season title with a few weeks remaining.
"I was disappointed with our serving in that first and third games," Suburban coach Jamie Evans said. "You really can't give away those points in close games."
Despite those Suburban errors at the service line, the visitors were unable to capitalize.
"We had our chances," Northeastern coach Matt Wilson said. "And that's a big no-no. That's something that we really preach."
Neither side led by more than two points at any time in Game 1. Both teams appeared to bring their best from the start. The hosts were, in fact, facing a game-point situation down 24-23, but prevailed with a late 3-0 run that was capped by a big kill by standout Jacob Kauffman.
Suburban used that momentum to spring out to the early lead (10-6) in Game 2 and never looked back. Not surprisingly, the home team only committed three service errors in the second game. Evans felt that was a more accurate display of his team's talents.
"I really think that is the difference," he said. "Giving away those free points (in Games 1 and 3) isn't something we can do. If their serving would have been on it would be a different story."
Evans' club appeared to have the sweep in the bag after taking a 22-16 lead late in Game 3. The Trojans actually led 24-20 and had three chances to put the game away, but couldn't.
After the Bobcats evened the score at 24, Evans called a rare timeout to allow his team to regroup. The team responded with a big kill before Kauffman closed out the triumph with the last of his 11 kills.
"When they got those four points we realized that we needed to step it up," said Kauffman, who is just a sophomore. "Coach was just trying to calm us down and keep us in control."
The closeness of the first and third games, while a little nerve-racking for Evans, was something that Kauffman and his teammates relish.
"I love those close games," he said. "I think everybody loves those close games."
Jaryd Eshler also tallied 11 kills for the Trojans, while setter Kody Deiter dished out 33 assists. Justin Corsa collected 11 digs to go along with three aces, while Brad Hartshorne led Suburban (7-0) with three blocks.
Stephen Braswell led all players with 12 kills for Northeastern, while his brother, Luke, paced the offense with 28 assists. Philip White tallied 16 digs to lead the Bobcats (6-1).
White Out event a suc cess: The night not only was a showcase for two of the top teams in the state, it also served to raise funds.
Evans and his program have recently hosted one contest a year in which they use all the proceeds collected to help the Cancer Patient Help Fund.
It started when they found out that Clark Fisher, whose sons played volleyball at Suburban, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Fisher, who helped the program in various ways, died nearly three years ago.
This year the American Heart Association was added as a beneficiary after Evans found out that Northeastern senior Tanner Sweitzer has had to sit out the season after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
Last year the event raised more than $1,000 for the Cancer Patient Help Fund. Evans was proud to announce that the total amount raised this year more than doubled last year's figure, with each charity receiving nearly $1,200.
"The Northeastern parents were great," Evans said. "I think they brought around $760 with them, and then whatever their fans gave tonight. It was for two great causes and the money was just the cherry on top."
OTHER BOYS' VOLLEYBALL
DOVER 3, DALLAS TOWN 1: At Dover, Ryan Lamparter (16 kills, five digs), Tyler Lehman (15 kills, seven digs), Brandon Krone (38 assists) and Tyler Wiley (20 digs) paced the Eagles to a 25-16, 22-25, 25-13, 25-22 victory. Dallastown got big nights from Barrett Wingard (20 kills, seven digs), Derek Peiffer (40 assists) and Eric Swartz (12 kills, 11 digs, seven blocks). Dover improved to 7-1 in York-Adams League action, while Dallastown fell to 5-3.
KENNARD-DALE 3, WEST YORK 1: At Fawn Grove, the Rams earned a 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 25-14 Senior Night victory over the Bulldogs. Nate Ellis and Donald Walters combined for 27 kills, five blocks and four aces for K-D, and Will Caldwell made 21 digs. Bryce Love (14 kills, two blocks, 26 digs), Josh Rinehart (13 kills, two aces) and Brett Strickler (31 assists, two blocks, three kills) led West York.
EASTERN YORK 3, NEW OXFORD 0: At New Oxford, the Golden Knights won, 25-16, 25-21, 25-21. Bryan Sloat led the Golden Knights with 10 digs, four kills and 25 assists. Sandon Eaton (11 kills, four digs, four aces), Tyler Himes (six digs, five kills) and Kyle Hershner (seven kills) also excelled for Eastern. For the Colonials, Tyler Steckbeck had five kills and four blocks, while Ross Starner had five blocks and five digs. Eastern won the JV match, 25-18, 25-13.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 3, RED LION 0: At Red Lion, the Warriors won, 25-15, 25-15, 25-13. Thomas Bonitz led the visitors with seven kills and nine digs. Jon Rouse (22 assists, three digs), Tim Frey (six kills, three digs) and Nathan Rohrbaugh (six kills) also shined for the Warriors. For the Lions, Dalton Fishel had 23 digs, while Jake Frey had 14 digs and three kills and Dan Longnecker had 14 assists and five digs. Red Lion won the JV match, 25-19, 25-21.
CENTRAL YORK 3, SPRING GROVE 1: At Spring Grove, the Panthers won, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17. Ryan Gardner (13 kills), Spencer Ortmyer (12 kills), Josh Van Wyk (12 kills), Royce Clemens (10 kills) and Dylan Hose (41 assists) led the Panthers. The Rockets got big nights from Aaron Hoff (12 kills) and Drew Blecher (21 assists). The Panthers improved to 5-2 in York-Adams League action.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.