SPRING GROVE — The Spring Grove boys' volleyball team learned a valuable lesson the hard way Thursday evening.
Hosting York-Adams League rival West York in a District 3 Class 2-A first-round contest, the Rockets were not playing up to expectations. To the Bulldogs' credit, the visitors took advantage.
After falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-five match, Spring Grove cleaned up its act. The Rockets eliminated their own mistakes while forcing West York into errors. Behind a match-high 17 kills from Mason Staub, Spring Grove rallied past the Bulldogs, 13-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-12, 15-10 to avoid a potential season-ending loss.
The Rockets move on to the quarterfinals where they'll face another Y-A League foe in Northeastern. The No. 2 seeded Bobcats will host that showdown Monday at 7:30 p.m.
“The first two games West York came out very hot," Spring Grove coach Cameron Mummert said. "They were ready to play and our guys were not.”
West York came into Thursday's match with a collective chip on its shoulder. After getting off to a 5-1 start to the season, the Rockets swept them at West York, a memory that fueled coach Kevin Wolf's team.
“We came into that night expecting to win," Wolf said. "And we got surprised.”
Wolf's team certainly played like a team seeking redemption early on. Once the Rockets got things going, they had little left in the tank to stop the onslaught.
“That's kind of been the story of our season," Wolf said. "We play strong at the beginning but then we kind of taper off. Obviously, Spring Grove wasn't playing too well in the first two games and we took advantage of it. But when they started playing better I think that kind of shocked us.”
Staub was the focal point of the comeback with some booming hits that fired up the home crowd. But he was certainly not the only one. Aaron Mummert and Noah Wilson added some big kills that fueled Spring Grove's comeback.
“When we came out for the third game I think they realized that this was it," Cameron Mummert said. "If they lose (Game 3) then they're done.”
Coach Mummert didn't have to say much more to fire his team up. Instead he just pointed out the fact the Rockets needed to play their "A" game if they wanted their season to continue.
“They just had to play better," he said. "They had to pass better, they had to block better and with a purpose.”
Those words will become even more important come Monday when they take on the four-time defending state champs on their home court. The Bobcats swept the Rockets in their regular-season clash, although Mummert believes his team has a chance to pull off what would be a tremendous upset.
“Northeastern is always a strong team," he said. "They always play well. I think my guys played well against them, but we came up short. We just have some things that we have to work on.”
Kenton Meckley led the Bulldogs with 14 kills, while setter Jacob May dished out 24 assists. Spring Grove setter Luke Hoffnagle tallied 37 assists in the victory, while Aaron Gunarich tallied eight kills and eight digs for the Rockets.
Dallastown 3, Governor Mifflin 1: At Hummelstown, the sixth-seeded Wildcats moved through the first round of the District 3 3-A boys’ volleyball tournament with a win over the 11th-seeded Mustangs, 25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 25-19. Nathan Darr had 21 kills to lead Dallastown, while Peyton Ranck passed for 48 assists and Cade Fry had 25 digs. Dallastown next faces third-seeded Lower Dauphin at 6 p.m. Monday at Central York. Lower Dauphin outlasted 14th-seeded Wilson on Thursday, 3-2.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org