EMIGSVILLE — A Red Lion-Central York showdown in boys’ volleyball last season was a must-see event.
Those two squared off several times in 2016 in exciting matches. It all concluded with the Lions ending the Panthers’ season in the District 3 Class 3-A playoffs.
This year is a different story.
The Lions are in a rebuilding phase after losing two of the top players in the York-Adams League in Dillon Hildebrand and Cole Brillhart. In contrast, the Panthers are still loaded with talent. Not surprisingly, they're one of the state’s top-ranked clubs heading into the 2017 season.
So it wasn't much of a surprise that Central was able to gain a measure of revenge from last year’s ouster by sweeping Red Lion, 25-12, 25-15, 25-13, Tuesday evening. It was the York-Adams League opener for both teams.
Well, maybe "revenge" is a bit of an overstatement. The Panthers didn’t seem to put a lot of emphasis on anything that happened a season ago.
“We just come into every game with the same mindset,” said Central setter Carter Luckenbaugh. “We all try to contribute, and everyone has their role and we all do whatever we can for this team.”
Luckenbaugh dished out 34 assists, 14 of which went to outside hitter Cole Johnson, while six more went to Braden Richard. In total, however, 10 different Central players recorded kills, with Luckenbaugh proving adept at distributing the ball.
The Panther senior setter admitted that he’s been pleased so far with where his team is at. Luckenbaugh and his teammates finished second at the North Allegheny Tournament this past weekend. That showing helped propel the Panthers to the No. 2 spot in the Class 3-A rankings compiled by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.
“We have high hopes,” Luckenbaugh said. “We always have high hopes here at Central. There’s a tradition here and we just try to uphold that tradition. We work hard in the offseason and we just try to carry that through to the regular season.”
While rankings are not very meaningful just one week into the season, the Panthers will get to see how they measure up against the state’s best teams this weekend at the Bobcat Invitational. Many teams ranked in the top 10 in both the 2-A and 3-A coaches poll will be there, including top-ranked, four-time defending 2-A champion and host Northeastern.
Red Lion received four kills apiece from Blake Hildebrand and John Janawiak. Colby Myers registered 10 digs, while setters Micah Bodish and Ethan Shoup combined for 14 assists.
Northeastern 3, York Suburban 2: At Suburban, the Bobcats just got moved up to the No. 1 spot in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 2-A poll on Monday. The ranking, however, meant little to Suburban, which gave the Bobcats all they could handle before falling on Tuesday, 18-25, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 15-10. Northeastern, the four-time defending PIAA 2-A state champion, came into the season ranked No. 6 in the PVCA 2-A preseason poll. They quickly got bumped up to No. 1 by sweeping preseason No. 1 Beaver County Christian on Friday and winning the Saegertown Tournament on Saturday. Suburban, meanwhile, was unranked, but that could change after its strong effort vs. the Bobcats. Northeastern was led by Cole Brillhart's 20 kills and Wyatt Hughes' 16 kills, while Jacob Chewront had 49 assists. The Trojans got 28 digs from Nick Bowman and 17 assists from Noah Chojnacki, while Zach Weinstein had 15 assists.
Dover 3, Eastern York 0: At Dover, the home team rolled, 25-11, 25-21, 25-18. Zach Noll (seven kills, eight assists, four aces), J.T. Crossan (14 assists) and Dalton Boll (six kills, five digs, three aces) led Dover. Eastern was paced by Koury Green (14 assists), Mike Shoff (five kills) and Ben Leaman (six kills, six digs). Dover won the JV match, 2-0.
Dallastown 3, New Oxford 0: At New Oxford, the Wildcats won, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22. Avery Terroso led the Wildcats with 12 kills and nine digs. Also for Dallastown, Ben Ward had nine kills, Drew Scott had six kills and five blocks and Payton Ranck had nine digs and 32 assists. For the Colonials, Alex Neiderer had 10 kills and seven digs. Dallastown won the JV match, 2-0.
Spring Grove 3, Kennard-Dale 1: At Fawn Grove, the Rockets won, 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 25-11. Noah Wilson led the Rockets with nine kills and three aces. Also for the Rockets, Luke Hoffnagle had 15 assists, Aaron Gunnasich had six kills and four blocks and Mason Staub had five kills and three blocks. For the Rams, Adam Coomes had 14 kills, 10 digs and four blocks; Luke Criswell had 27 assists, five kills and four digs; and James Lippiard had seven kills and seven digs. Spring Grove won the JV match, 2-1.
West York 3, Susquehannock 1: At Glen Rock, Kenton Meckley led the Bulldogs to the 25-15, 23-25, 25-12, 25-23 victory with 23 kills and four blocks. Also for West York, Jacob May had 39 assists, five kills and six digs, Sam Lovelace had 13 kills and four aces and Adam Hersey had four kills and six digs. For the Warriors, Joe Lippy had seven kills and five digs, while Reese Jackson had 17 assists and Tanner Bonitz had four digs and three kills. Susquehannock won the JV match, 2-1.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.