EMIGSVILLE — Parity is the word surrounding the York-Adams League in boys’ volleyball this spring — at least once you get past three-time defending Class AA state champion Northeastern.
There are no less than five worthy contenders aiming to make serious postseason noise.
Two of those playoff hopefuls — Central York and Red Lion — squared off Thursday evening at Central York High School.
Coming off an impressive victory over state-ranked York Suburban on Tuesday, the Lions had a chance to establish themselves as the main York-Adams League threat to the Bobcats. Suburban, after all, already defeated the Panthers earlier this season.
But nothing is a guarantee in high school athletics. The Lions found that out the hard way on Thursday night.
After winning Game 1 vs. Central, the Lions dropped the final three games. The Panthers earned a 21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17 victory.
Both teams are now 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the league. Northeastern is the only league unbeaten at 4-0.
“We knew that they were an emotional team, like we are,” Central standout Hayden Wagner said. “We have a really good league this year. But I knew we were prepared as much as we could for them.”
Wagner and setter Carter Luckenbaugh have both played parts in helping Central win the past two District 3-AAA titles. But a lot of their teammates don’t have that level of experience. They do, however, have a great deal of talent, which can only get better with more experience.
While Wagner was the team’s top attacker Thursday with 26 kills, teammates such as Spencer Tate (six kills), Ben Seebold (three kills) and Braden Richard (three kills) were effective at key points.
“We really got some offense out of other people tonight,” said Wagner, a George Mason recruit. “Ben played well and Braden, who is just a freshman, played well. This was a team effort tonight. You just can’t put this on me or Carter.”
Luckenbaugh dished out 37 assists, while libero Zak Kakos tallied seven digs.
While the Panthers were prepared Thursday, the same cannot be entirely said for the Lions. Tuesday, Coach Rick Tarbert’s team rebounded from losing Game 2 to Suburban by dominating in the final two games. Against Central, however, things seemed to spiral out of control. The Lions yielded four points on out-of-rotation errors. Those points, however, were dwarfed by other errors, such as double hits and lifts.
“We fell behind (8-1) in set 3 and we started dropping our heads,” Tarbert said. “And this is not the way we usually play. We’re usually very good at picking guys up and staying positive. So this was a little bit uncharacteristic of us.”
Tarbert took the blame for the rotation issues in Game 4, in which Central took the first point without a ball even being put into play.
“We weren’t in our normal lineup,” he said. “So the same people weren’t playing beside each other and that didn’t help matters. But I put the wrong lineup in and I had the same number down twice.”
Dillon Hildebrand led the Lions with 21 kills, while Cole Brillhart finished with nine more.
Top teams come to the area again for the Koller Classic: The Panthers will be back in action this weekend when they host the Koller Classic on Saturday. The Classic's 20-team field is highlighted by a pair of defending PIAA champions in Parkland (Class AAA) and Northeastern (Class AA).
There will be four pools that kick off starting at 8:30 a.m. at the high school. Each pool will include one York-Adams team (Northeastern, Central York, York Suburban, Dallastown). A tribute to former Central York head coach Brad Livingston, who coached the team to state titles in 2011 and 2014, is expected at some time during the event.
OTHER BOYS' VOLLEYBALL
Northeastern 3, York Suburban 0: At Manchester, the Bobcats handed the Trojans their second defeat of the week, winning in three games, 25-14, 25-13, 25-11. Reese Devilbiss had 16 kills for Northeastern, while Chris Lee came up with four digs. Suburban got 10 combined kills between Jack Schultz (six) and Ian Firestone (four).
Susquehannock 3, South Western 0: The Warriors were able to sweep the Rockets, 25-19, 25-16, 15-12 thanks to 15 kills from Quinlan Kauffman and 28 assists from Steve Rouse. Dakota Parker’s seven kills and Mason Staub's 11 assists led the Mustangs.
Eastern York 3, West York 0: At West York, the Golden Knights won, 25-19, 25-20, 25-22. Ben Lehman had eight digs for Eastern, while Jared Woods and Ryan Kalke each had four digs. For the Bulldogs, Sam Lovelace had nine kills and 11 digs and Jacob May had 16 assists. Eastern won the JV match 25-11, 25-12.
Dallastown 3, Dover 0: At Dover, the Wildcats dispatched the Eagles, 25-22, 25-13, 25-17. Nathan Darr had 13 kills and 12 digs for Dallastown, while Jake Bixler had nine blocks and Peyton Ranck had 36 assists. Dover got 23 assists from Zach Noll and 12 kills from Koleman Hoffman.
Kennard-Dale 3, New Oxford 2: At New Oxford, the Rams jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then had to hold on for a 3-2 victory, 25-18, 25-23, 21-25, 18-25, 15-10. Kyle Wooldridge had 36 kills for K-D and Adam Coomes chipped in with 10. New Oxford got 19 kills from John Wessel and 14 from Alex Neiderer.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.