The disappointment was clear in the face of Braden Richard last Saturday after his Central York boys’ volleyball team was swept in the PIAA Class 3-A final by defending champ North Allegheny.
While the sting of losing 3-0 against the Tigers in his final match ever for his high school team will probably linger for some time, Richard was given a bit of good news this past Monday by CY coach Todd Goodling.
Already deemed by his teammate, Brock Anderson, as the "best player in the state" during the team’s run to the PIAA final, Richard’s status as one of the top prep players in the nation was cemented by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
The AVCA named the 6-foot, 5-inch Richard to the second team of the organization’s high school All-America squad, which was officially announced to the public Wednesday.
“I was extremely surprised, and excited,” Richard said. “For it to come down to comparing me against some kids that I’ve never played against, or maybe played against during our club season, I’m just thankful that I wasn’t overlooked because there are some really, really good and solid athletes out there.”
For Goodling, the honor for his senior captain was certainly well-earned.
"If I had to pick a prototypical player for Central York boys' volleyball, as a hitter, an offensive player, it'd clearly be Braden,” Goodling said during his post-game comments after Saturday’s setback.
Only Pennsylvania player honored: Richard, however, was pleasantly surprised to find his name listed among the top high school seniors in the country. The Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) recruit was the only player from Pennsylvania to be included on the All-America list.
For Richard, the award is validation of the type of coaching that he’s received over the last four years.
“I’ve learned everything that I know about volleyball from coach (Goodling),” Richard said. “And for me to turn out to be the player that he wanted me to be is just a reflection of his coaching.”
Performing on the court: Coaching, however, can only take a player so far. Performance on the court requires a player to take all of the lessons learned from the numerous hours of practice and coaching and turn that into excellent play on the court.
“That’s really (coach Goodling’s) philosophy,” Richard said. “It’s that he’s going to coach us in practice, but come game time he has very little to say because we should already know it.”
Richard amassed more than 400 kills this past season to go along with more than 120 blocks to lead the Panthers to runner-up finishes in the York-Adams League regular season and playoffs, as well as winning the District 3 Class 3-A title.
Richard did win a state 3-A championship with the Panthers during his sophomore season in 2017.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.