EMIGSVILLE -- In a single-elimination tournament, it only takes one bad night to stop a season.
Unfortunately for York-Adams Division I champion Susquehannock, that one night happened Wednesday.
After taking Game 1 in their District 3-AAA best-of-five quarterfinal match-up with No. 5 seed Cumberland Valley, the No. 4-seeded Warriors struggled with their passing and communication during the remainder of the match. The Eagles took full advantage, gained momentum and, as a result, ended Susquehannock's season earlier than anticipated.
Led by big nights from setter Kelly Friers (15 blocks, 31 assists, eight kills) and Lizzy Scott (10 kills, seven assists, three blocks), Cumberland Valley punched
The loss meant the end of the road for Coach Rob Marrison's squad, which was ranked among the top-10 Class AAA teams in the state throughout the season by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association. The Warrior coach, however, didn't feel his team was "upset" by a side that had been unranked in the coaches' poll.
"Cumberland Valley, obviously, should have been ranked during the season," Marrison said. "The rankings that they put out during the season is a coach's guess and is based on who they saw. I guess somebody just didn't see them."
It's hard to miss an Eagles team that mixes size, speed and talent. Making the Eagles' effort even more impressive was the fact that they played the entire season without standout Rachel Snyder, who tore up her knee during a preseason scrimmage. Snyder's absence was hardly missed Wednesday. CV played like a team destined to go places.
"This is such an awesome group of kids," Eagles' coach Jackie Orner said. "In the preseason we lost our No. 1 big outside hitter (Snyder) and they just worked harder and they trust what we're giving them from the bench."
The Warriors rallied from a 3-0 deficit in Game 1 by going on an 18-7 run to take control. CV, however, cut what was an eight-point hole in half four times during the latter stages of the game and seemed to make some adjustments that carried over to the rest of the match.
"It started happening in Game 1," Orner said. "They started trusting themselves and we gained some momentum. Volleyball is a game of momentum. Once you start trusting yourself and making things happen, more shall follow."
The Eagles raced out to another 3-0 lead in Game 2, but this time hung onto that advantage. After Marrison's team cut it to 8-7, CV went on a 5-1 run to regain control.
Marrison pointed out that Cumberland Valley's size (Friers is 6-foot-2, Scott is 5-foot-11) and attack were a tough one-two combination that gave his side a lot of trouble.
"When we go up against teams that have size like they do, and then we have trouble passing the ball and running our offense, we're just not going to be successful," he said. "They made some good adjustments and they started serving in certain spots and we weren't able to pass the ball as effectively as we normally do."
The Warriors played up-and-down for long stretches -- better when the passing was good and not so much when it started to break down. Those down times became more pronounced, especially in the latter stages of Game 3 and Game 4. CV went on an 8-2 run to break a 16-all tie in Game 3 and finished Game 4 on a 14-7 run.
While Marrison was disappointed to see his team's season end so abruptly, he knew that the postseason wouldn't be easy.
"When you get to this point of the season, all the easy matches are done," he said. "It's a fight from here on out for whoever survives."
Leah Deter, one of six seniors on the roster, finished her career with a big a night. The left-hander smacked a team-high 12 kills to go with 18 digs and two blocks. Abigail Bentz finished with eight kills and 28 digs, while setter Rachel Moltz dished out 31 assists to go with 10 digs, four blocks and five kills.
"This was a great group of kids," Marrison said. "This group of seniors (Deter, Moltz, Beth Garrison, Caroline Savin, Geena Weger and Giulia Pastorelli), I've had the privilege of coaching since seventh grade. Just a great, hard-nosed group of kids. We had five really solid volleyball players out there in these five seniors (Pastorelli was a reserve). They set the bar high again. They didn't make it as far as they wanted to, but they won the (division) title and did a lot of really good things during the regular season."
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.