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BLOG: Nine York County boys' volleyball players earn all-state honors
The evidence is now overwhelming.
By any rational analysis, there really can be no debate.
York County is the red-hot center of the Pennsylvania boys’ volleyball universe.
The latest confirmation came Tuesday morning when the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association released its 2017 all-state teams.
A total of 58 players were honored (37 in Class 3-A and 21 in Class 2-A), with nine coming from York County high schools. That means more than 15 percent of the state’s top players came from this little neck of the woods.
Not surprisingly, Central York and Northeastern dominated the local honorees. Both schools are coming off 2017 state championships — the Panthers in Class 3-A and the Bobcats in Class 2-A.
State titles, of course, are nothing new for either program. Central now owns seven PIAA crowns, while Northeastern has captured eight, including five consecutive in 2-A.
Five Panthers earn 3-A all-state honors: The Panthers boast five 3-A all-state players, led by the intimidating Cole Johnson, a 6-foot, 7-inch outside hitter who was a junior last season and is being courted by the top college programs in the nation.
The other Central players earning all-state recognition may not be as well known nationally as Johnson, but each played pivotal roles in the Panthers’ run to the state crown.
Three were seniors in 2017: Zak Kakos, a 5-8 libero; Carter Luckenbaugh, a 6-foot setter; and Ben Seebold, a 6-4 middle hitter.
Central’s other all-state player is Braden Richard, a 6-5 outside hitter who was just a sophomore in 2017. The return of Johnson and Richard will give the Panthers a frightening hitting presence next season.
Class 2-A honorees: In 2-A, three Bobcats earned all-state berths, which is especially impressive considering that nearly all of the key parts of the 2016 state title team graduated, including all-everything standout Reese Devilbiss, who moved on to Ohio State. It was almost an entirely new group of Bobcats who clawed their way to another state crown in 2017.
The 2017 Northeastern players patiently waited for their chance to shine, and then made the most of it in a somewhat surprising charge to another PIAA championship.
Two of the all-state Bobcats were seniors in the spring: Dakoda Hoffman, a 6-4 middle hitter, and James Toomey, a 6-1 libero. Cole Brillhart, a 6-1 outside hitter, also made the all-state list following a strong junior campaign after he transferred from Red Lion.
York County’s final all-state recipient was York Suburban’s Jack Schultz, a 6-4 middle hitter who was a senior in 2017. Both Hoffman and Schultz are returning all-state performers.
Schultz helped Suburban advance to the PIAA 2-A quarterfinals and finish fourth in the final PVCA 2-A state rankings. In all, four York County programs completed the 2017 season with top-10 state rankings. Central and Northeastern, of course, each finished No. 1 in their respective classes, while Dallastown was No. 8 in 3-A.
Coaching a key: So how has York County earned its preeminent position in Pennsylvania boys’ volleyball?
A steady flow of talented, hard-working athletes is the one obvious answer. They most definitely deserve most of the credit.
Coaching, however, can’t be overlooked.
Bruce and Barb Koller started the ball rolling decades ago at Central York. Later, Brad Livingston and now Todd Goodling continued the Panthers’ tradition.
At Northeastern, Tom Beakler built the Bobcats into a state power. Later, one of Northeastern’s best-ever players, Matt Wilson, returned to the school and started piling up state titles like firewood.
Beakler, meanwhile, returned to coaching this past season at Dallastown and led the Wildcats to a top-10 state ranking.
Add it all up and you’re left with one inescapable conclusion.
York County is the undisputed king of Pennsylvania boys’ volleyball.
With all-state players such as Johnson, Brillhart and Richard returning next season, don’t look for that reign to end anytime soon.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
PENNSYLVANIA VOLLEYBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION
2017 ALL-STATE TEAMS
(Note: Each player is listed with school, position, height and class. A * indicates returning all-state player.)
Ryan Alu, Central Bucks West, OH, 5-10, senior.
Louie Bavas, Pennsbury, OH, 6-4, senior.
*Ben Chinnici, Pennridge, OH, 6-4, senior.
Cross Edwards, Pennridge, OH, 6-3, junior.
*Daniel Klapper, Central Bucks West, OH, 6-1, senior.
Mason Miller, Central Bucks East, S, 6-0, senior.
*Sean Sweeney, Pennsbury, OH, 6-3, senior.
Tyler Flowers, Central Dauphin, OH, 6-2, senior.
*Daniel Fry, Penn Manor, OH, 6-2, senior.
Ethan Gardner, Central Dauphin, MH, 6-5, senior.
Ozzy Hudson, Central Dauphin, OH, 6-2, senior.
Cole Johnson, Central York, OH, 6-7, junior.
Zak Kakos, Central York, L, 5-8, senior.
*Reuben Kemrer, Penn Manor, S, 6-1, senior.
Blake Liprando, Cumberland Valley, OH, 6-2, sophomore.
Carter Luckenbaugh, Central York, S, 6-0, senior.
Alex Newport, Penn Manor, OH, 6-5, senior.
Braden Richard, Central York, OH, 6-5, sophomore.
Ben Seebold, Central York, MH, 6-4, senior.
*Logan Smiley, Hempfield, OH/S, 6-3, senior.
Phillip Swartz, Altoona, OH, 6-5, junior.
M.J. Barton, North Allegheny, S, 6-0, senior.
Cal Fisher, Penn Hills, OH, 6-2, junior.
*Matt Gagnon, Seneca Valley, OH, 6-5, senior.
*Mike Kapusta, Bethel Park, OH, 6-4, senior.
Danny Lebovitz, North Allegheny, L, 5-9, senior.
*Brandon McGowan, Penn-Trafford, OH, 6-2, senior.
Canyon Tuman, North Allegheny, OH, 6-6, junior.
Eric Visgitis, North Allegheny, MB, 6-4, senior.
Luke Visgitis, North Allegheny, MB, 6-4, senior.
Zach Werksman, Penn-Trafford, MB, 6-3, senior.
Noah Bacon, Emmaus, OH, 6-4, senior.
Brendan Dunkle, Emmaus, L, 5-10, senior.
James Haag, Emmaus, OH, 6-4, junior.
*Logan McGinley, Whitehall, OH, 6-3, senior.
Cameron Parsons, Emmaus, S, 6-1, junior.
Garrett Weigel, Parkland, OH, 6-4, senior.
Lincoln Berger, Dock Mennonite, OH, 6-2, junior.
Ben Rachillia, Holy Redeemer, OH, 6-5, junior.
Cole Brillhart, Northeastern, OH, 6-1, junior.
Ben Burkhart, Manheim Central, S, 6-1, junior.
Isaac Carpenter, Cocalico, OH, 6-2, junior.
*Dakoda Hoffman, Northeastern, MH, 6-4, senior.
Mason Nissley, Manheim Central, OH, 6-4, sophomore.
*Jack Schultz, York Suburban, MH, 6-4, senior.
Tanner Stauffer, Manheim Central, OH, 6-3, junior.
James Toomey, Northeastern, L, 6-1, senior.
Garrett Donoughe, Forest Hills, OH, 6-3, senior.
Charles Patterson, Bishop Guilfoyle, MH, 6-3, junior.
Peter Barbato, Beaver County Christian, MH, 6-4, junior.
Cole Hopkins, Ambridge, OH, 6-2, senior.
Dan Hutchinson,Deer Lakes, OH, 6-2, junior.
*Matthew Knab, Beaver County Christian, S, 6-0, senior.
Tyler Osselborn, Deer Lakes, OH, 6-4, junior.
Daniel Townsend, Beaver County Christian, OH, 5-10, senior.
J.P. Goodsell, Fort Lebouf, OH, 6-4, senior.
Chance Hoffman, Cochranton, MH, 6-3, senior.
Mike Sperry, Conneaut, OH, 6-3, senior.