DALLASTOWN -- Like nearly every other boys' volleyball team in the York-Adams League, Dallastown has gone through some growing pains this season.
With two returning starters moving to new spots and a pair of raw middles, the Wildcats have been getting a good dose of on-the-job training.
If the Wildcats are to eventually make a serious charge for league and district titles, they may have found their spark over the past few days. After becoming the only team in the state to win a game against a powerhouse Northeastern team this past weekend at the Bobcat Invitational, Coach Gabe Bishard's team discovered its mettle against a scrappy York Suburban outfit on Tuesday night.
Dallastown fell behind early in both Game 1 and Game 2 vs. the Trojans, but rallied both times, including an impressive 10-0 run in Game 2, to claim a 25-16, 25-20, 25-20 sweep.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the night came in Game 2 with the visitors up 6-2. That's when Wildcat standout Kyle Brignall (13 kills) took a ball off his face on a play that resulted in his team falling behind, 7-2.
Bishard took a timeout and challenged his top hitter to respond.
"I was like, 'you have got to step up,'" Bishard said. "And he did."
After trading the next two points, the Wildcats went on a very impressive run. The highlight of the 10-0 spurt was a huge stuff that Brignall made on Suburban standout Jacob Kauffman.
"That was awesome," Bishard said. "The block of the year so far."
Brignall's block cut the deficit to 8-6 and was one of five points he earned during that 10-point run.
Dylan Smith, who was at the service line during Dallastown's run, knew that Brignall's stuff was very important.
"That was huge," he said. "He was down there in the start, but I think we all were. He got hit in the face, but he got right up. Then he just came out firing one point after another."
While a lot of focus has been on Brignall, a three-year starter, the Wildcats showed a good bit of diversity through the night. Both Linc Reinalda (five kills) and Jordan Miller (three kills, six blocks) were active in the attack. Setter Justin Barnett dished out a game-high 28 assists.
"A crew is a good word," Barnett said of his attackers. "We have a middle that plays JV and middle (Miller), that it's his first year. Then Kyle and Dylan both are playing different positions from last year when we had (Barrett) Wingard and other players like that."
The Wildcats are admittedly feeling pretty good heading into their showdown at Northeastern next Tuesday. The Bobcats are ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AA by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association. While it was just one game during pool play in the first match of the morning, winning that game over the Bobcats on Saturday, 30-28, provided the Wildcats with a good bit of confidence.
"That was great," Smith said. "First game of the tournament ... you never know what to expect. Sure it was early in the morning, but we came out and took it from them. That was just incredible."
Barnett figures that blemish will likely provide ample motivation for the Bobcats.
"Let's face it ... nobody's used to beating Northeastern," he said. "It will be a very tough match Tuesday night, especially with them wanting revenge. Taking one set from them, I know that they will be coming out firing."
Suburban has been trying to go down the same road as Dallastown after finishing second in the state in Class AA a year ago. The Trojans graduated a number of seniors, including five of seven starters, from that squad.
"We're still inexperienced," Suburban coach Jamie Evans said. "We need to keep improving as the season goes on to put ourselves in a position to play in the postseason."
Kauffman led the Trojans with 13 kills and 10 digs, while setter Lars Dalemar finished with 21 assists.
OTHER BOYS' VOLLEYBALL
CENTRAL YORK 3, NEW OXFORD 0: The host Panthers won in three games, 25-8, 25-5, 25-7. Central stayed undefeated in York-Adams League action with the win, improving to 5-0. Royce Clemens (seven kills, seven digs) and Dylan Hose (27 assists, three digs, three aces) paced the Panthers. New Oxford was led by Tyler Steckbeck (five kills, three digs) and Ross Starner (five digs, five assists, two kills). Central won the JV match, 25-6, 25-17.
DOVER 3, WEST YORK 0: Dover beat the visiting Bulldogs, 25-14, 25-17, 25-12. It marked Dover's first league victory of the season. Chipper Lindeman (26 assists, two kills), Brendan Warren (nine digs, eight kills) and Kyle Cook (eight digs, seven kills) led the way for Dover. West York was paced by Mitch Grimm (10 digs), Taylor Boyer (14 assists) and Josh Reinhart (seven kills, five digs). West York won the JV match, 25-10, 25-23.
NORTHEASTERN 3, RED LION 0: At Red Lion, the Bobcats rolled, 25-14, 25-7, 25-18. Stephen Braswell led the Bobcats with 15 kills and 10 digs. Luke Braswell (35 assists, five digs, four kills), Reese Devilbiss (seven kills, eight digs) and Matt Hollinger (13 digs) also excelled for the Bobcats. For the Lions, Dan Longnecker (six digs, five kills, four assists), Jake Frey (three kills) and Dan Jones (five digs) led the way. The Bobcats improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the York-Adams League. Northeastern won the JV match, 25-16, 25-14.
KENNARD-DALE 3, SUSQUEHANNOCK 2: At Glen Rock, Nathan Ellis led the Rams to a 28-26, 24-26, 25-18, 19-25, 15-10 victory with 28 kills and eight digs. Dylan Tessier (18 kills, nine digs), Josiah McConville (48 assists) and Vince Failla (eight kills) also shined for K-D. For the Warriors, Nathan Rohrbaugh (16 kills, five blocks, six digs), Alex Miller (21 assists, 10 digs, nine kills, four aces) and A.J. Schaeffer (20 assists, 12 digs, seven kills) led the Warriors. Susquehannock won the JV match, 27-25, 25-22.
EASTERN YORK 3, SPRING GROVE 1: At Spring Grove, the Golden Knights earned a 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20 victory. Sandon Eaton (11 digs, 20 kills, five blocks) and Austin Miller (42 assists, nine digs) led Eastern. Spring Grove was paced by Dalton Forbes (15 kills, 21 digs), Austin Muff (25 assists, 10 digs) and Derek Carlisle (16 digs).
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.