DALLASTOWN — Things couldn’t be going much better for Reese Devilbiss and his volleyball career.
The Northeastern senior has enjoyed three straight District 3-AA titles to go along with three more PIAA Class AA state crowns during his time playing with the Bobcats.
And, oh yeah, he’s already a big recruit for Ohio State, which just happens to be the team that recently won the NCAA Division I men’s volleyball crown.
For all of his success, though, Devilbiss still has a sense of humor. When it was incorrectly noted after Tuesday evening’s York-Adams League playoff championship that he now has four league gold medals, Devilbiss quickly corrected that error.
“It’s just three,” he said. “Sophomore year. Don’t bring that one up.”
It only took a moment for him to break.
“I’m just playing with you,” he said, smiling.
The Bobcat standout was all smiles again Tuesday, and for good reason. Along with his teammates, Devilbiss helped Northeastern claim its third league title over the past four years Tuesday after cruising past rival Red Lion in the finals, 25-21, 25-10, 25-17.
“This is an awesome feeling,” said Devilbiss, who finished with a match-high 12 kills to go with three blocks. “In York County we have some of the best volleyball throughout the state of Pennsylvania. So winning here is a great achievement. We just felt relieved that we accomplished what we’ve been working toward since we started playing volleyball. This is just great.”
Red Lion battled the unbeaten Bobcats the toughest of any league opponent during the regular season, losing by a combined seven points during a three-game sweep.
Game 1 was very similar to what happened in the regular season. The teams traded the lead back and forth many times. But after the Lions took an 11-9 lead, the Bobcats used a five-point run to reclaim the advantage.
That was the high point for Red Lion, which had to survive a grueling five-game victory against York Suburban in the semifinals just to advance to the finals. The fatigue, combined with battling a foe that has been perhaps the best team in the state for the past two years, proved an insurmountable obstacle for the Lions.
“You can tell that we kind of ran out of steam there at the end of Game 2,” Red Lion’s Dillon Hildebrand said. “We came out in the first game and had a lot of energy, but after that we were fading and everyone kept getting tired.”
While the Lions certainly were not pleased to settle for the silver medals, the fact that Red Lion was even in the finals was historic for the program. The Lions had never made it to the playoff championship round, a fact that Hildebrand and his teammates will certainly never downplay.
“We’re proud of where we’ve come as a team,” said Hildebrand, who finished with eight kills and a team-high 12 digs.
Fortunately for the Lions, the Bobcats will no longer be in their path the rest of this season. Red Lion will compete in the District 3-AAA playoffs starting later this week.
While they won’t have to worry about Northeastern, they are likely on a path to face another York-Adams team in the second-round of districts: Central York. But before they get there, the Lions will have to knock off Lower Dauphin in a first-round clash.
“We’ve got to worry about Lower Dauphin first,” Hildebrand said.
Northeastern setter Matt Schaeffer dished out 29 assists in the finals, while Jeff Reynolds added eight kills in the victory. Brandon Arentz registered six of his team’s 13 digs.
Cole Brillhart led the Lions with 10 kills to go along with two blocks. Setters John Longnecker and Levi Davis combined for 22 assists
In the semifinals, Northeastern beat Central York, 25-23, 25-16, 25-18, while Red Lion outlasted Suburban, 24-26, 25-15, 26-24, 25-21, 15-8.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.