Northeastern, Central York sweep into District 3 boys' volleyball semifinals
DALLASTOWN — One factor that separates the Northeastern boys' volleyball team from its competition is coaching.
Some teams may be able to get away with sloppy play without hearing about it from the coach.
There is no such slack for the boys from Manchester.
Despite leading their District 3-AA best-of-five quarterfinal match 2-0 and leading 13-7 against York Suburban in the third game, the Bobcats were not spared from Coach Matt Wilson's displeasure. During a timeout — after a point which they won, by the way — Wilson let it be known, loudly, that there will be no taking points off.
It's not clear how much Wilson's thrashing helped his team on the court, but the message was definitely delivered. Northeastern eventually left Dallastown High School with a 25-15, 25-10, 25-17 triumph.
That victory came after Central York, which finished runner-up behind the Bobcats in the York-Adams League this season, rallied after a slow start to sweep Cumberland Valley, 33-31, 25-19, 25-16, in a District 3-AAA quarterfinal.
Northeastern's victory sends the Bobcats into the AA semifinals, where they will face Cocalico, a 25-16, 25-16, 25-19 winner over Brandywine Heights in another quarterfinal on Monday. Central will square off with Hempfield, which swept Exeter in another AAA quarterfinal. Both games will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Northeastern will play at Central York, while Central York will play at Dallastown.
Monday's victories assure both the Bobcats and Panthers of a shot at defending their state titles from a year ago. The top four teams in both Class AA and Class AAA qualify for the PIAA playoffs.
Despite earning another state berth, Northeastern standout Reese Devilbiss knows there's pressure applied from the Bobcats' coach every time the players step on the court.
"There's no let ups with Coach Wilson," Devilbiss said. "He wants to constantly put pressure on the other team. We let up for a little bit and had a few ball-handling errors here and there and he wasn't too happy about it. But that's OK. He keeps up in check."
Perhaps some of those moments can be attributed to playing familiar teams over and over again. The Trojans and Bobcats already squared off in the regular season, so there were no secrets between the two sides.
With the other four York-Adams League teams now eliminated in the AA draw, Devilbiss and company will get to battle almost entirely new teams from here on out.
"It's nice to get into a tournament where we will finally see new teams and new faces," said Devilbiss, who led all players with nine kills. "But we still like playing the same teams because there's always a sense of rivalry there."
Setter Matt Schaeffer dished out 27 assists in the victory, eight of which went for kills by middle hitter Jeff Reynolds. Zach Weinstein led the Trojans with seven kills. Gavin Dean paced the Suburban defense with 11 digs, while setter Kaleb Ansell finished with 17 assists.
Central York sweeps Cumberland Valley: While the ride was pretty smooth for Bobcats, it was a bit rougher for Central.
Central, which had to change some formations because of an injury suffered in practice by sophomore setter Carter Luckenbaugh, had a back-and-forth opening game against the Eagles.
Once the Panthers figured things out, they were able to get into a grove. With Landon Shorts taking over the setting responsibilities for half of his team's rotations because of Luckenbaugh's absence, the returning all-state attacker from a year ago dished out 20 assists.
"Tonight was a little different," Shorts said. "Carter was out. One of our teammates hit him in the head at practice (last week) and he's actually out with a concussion. So I had to step in and set in at least three rotations. Tonight, it was just me and Trevor (Holderegger)."
With Shorts taken out of the attack, the Panthers still had two other all-state attackers on the court. Jason Gardner led the Panthers with 15 kills, while Jeremiah Dadeboe finished with 10.
Overcoming adversity is something that Shorts and his teammates rarely faced a year ago en route to an undefeated match-play season. But back-to-back losses to the Bobcats in the last two weeks has tested the group's resolve.
So far, so good.
"All of our coaches ever talk about is battling," Shorts said. "We just all come together as a team and say 'next ball, next ball.' We just put it together and won the match.
Other boys' volleyball
Schuylkill Valley 3, Susquehannock 2: At Hempfield, the Warriors saw their season come to an end in a classic District 3-AA quarterfinal match-up against the Panthers, falling in five games, 26-24, 23-25, 20-25, 26-24, 10-15. Despite the loss, Susquehannock had several players step up with big performances. A.J. Schaeffer led the team with 18 kills and 19 digs, while Quinlan Kauffman added 16 kills and 18 digs and Brian Sheddy chipped in with 13 kills and 16 digs. Kurt Eckenrode also had 13 digs, while Stephen Rouse finished with 42 assists and 11 digs. Nick Voltaggio led the team with four blocks. The Warriors finished at 9-7.
Lancaster Mennonite 3, Spring Grove 0: At Central, the Rockets' season was halted with a 25-22, 25-17, 25-21 loss. Spring Grove finished 11-7. The Rockets were led by Dalton Forbes (13 kills, 11 digs) and Austin Muff (22 assists).
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.