It's never easy to lose the last match of the season.
Especially when you get as close as York Suburban boys' volleyball standout Jaryd Eshler and his teammates came to winning a state title Saturday.
The Trojans fought hard throughout an historic campaign. Suburban was ranked atop the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class AA poll for a majority of the season. They claimed the York-Adams League regular-season and playoff titles and followed that with an impressive showing to claim the program's first District 3-AA title.
After another solid performance during pool play Friday night at the PIAA Class AA championships in State College, the real test for the Trojans arrived Saturday.
First, the Trojans had to survive a big scare from Ambridge. The Bridgers had Suburban on the ropes, but Eshler and company rallied to claim a 3-2 victory.
It was much the same scenario in the finals against Bethlehem Catholic. Down 2-1, the York-Adams League champs fought back to tie the contest on three occasions in Game 4. In the end, it just wasn't enough. The Golden Hawks earned a 3-1 victory.
Despite falling short of his goal of a state title, Eshler remained in good spirits. Knowing that he had likely played his last match with a group of seven other Suburban seniors, Eshler was upbeat about this group's accomplishments.
We caught up with Eshler shortly after their loss in the state finals to talk about the season, the team and its place in Suburban history for this week's edition of Sports Q&A.
How disappointing was it to get this close to a state title and not take it home?
"It is pretty disappointing, but (Bethlehem Catholic) is an amazing team all-around. They have such great passing and a great offense. It was just something that we had trouble with, mainly blocking and digging some of their hits. It kind of hurts just a little bit because this is the last time we'll be playing together."
What has this year been like for you?
"It's been a great journey. We're all friends, so it's just great to be here with everyone and playing volleyball with them. We did a great job of winning and having a good time."
What do you think you'll remember when you look back at what this team has accom plished the past two years?
"I'll remember just having a great time with everyone. I'm still proud of this (silver medal). I'm proud of what we did here and I'm just proud of everyone. Just looking back, I think I'll be happy with just how far we went and how well we played throughout it."
What was your fa vorite moment this year?
"Just winning districts was pretty cool. Especially with sweeping District 3 (against Northeastern and Dover). It was just a great feeling."
What is in your future?
"I plan on playing at West Chester for their club team. They have a club team, it's not like a (Division III) team."
What about your teammates?
"I think they all plan on playing club. I know that Kody (Deiter) is going to Alderson-Broaddus, which is D-II, I think."
What will you re member from playing with all your fellow se niors these past few years?
"Just being with them. We played cards during tournaments. Just having a good time with everyone and playing great volleyball."
What did Jamie Evans mean to this team as the head coach?
"It's been really nice having him. He's been a really big help with the way he coaches us. He knew that we were good and just had to tell us to keep our heads up and everything. He does a great job."
Any advice for the underclassman that will be back next year?
"Just keep pushing, go after every single ball that you can and don't give up."
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.