The Northeastern and Central York boys' volleyball teams are back in familiar spots — ranked among the top high school programs in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association released its 2018 preseason rankings on Friday, and the Bobcats and the Panthers are each ranked No. 2 in their respective classes.
Central is a Class 3-A school, while Northeastern is a 2-A program.
The Panthers and Bobcats are each coming off PIAA state championships last June. Northeastern has now won five straight 2-A state crowns.
Overall, the two programs separated by just six miles have combined for 15 state crowns — eight for Northeastern and seven for Central.
North Allegheny is ranked No. 1 in 3-A followed, in order, by Central York, Hempfield (District 3), Emmaus, Central Dauphin, Cumberland Valley, Seneca Valley, Exeter, Pennsbury and Lower Dauphin.
Manheim Central is No. 1 in 2-A, followed, in order, by Northeastern, Cochranton, Cambridge Springs, Palmyra, Holy Redeemer, Deer Lakes, Ambridge, Dock Mennonite and Saegertown.
Northeastern will starts its 2018 season on Friday, March 23, with an early-season showdown at No. 3 Cochranton. The next day, the Bobcats will compete in the highly-competitive Cambridge Springs Tournament.
Central York, meanwhile, is set to compete in the North Allegheny Invitational on Saturday, March 24, which could feature an early-season battle vs. the No. 1 3-A team in the state. Central beat North Allegheny in last year's state finals, 3-1.
The Panthers will be led this year by 6-foot, 7-inch outside hitter Cole Johnson, who has already committed to play next season for UCLA.
Northeastern, meanwhile, will be led by 6-1 Cole Brillhart, who has already committed to Lewis. Both Johnson and Brillhart were all-state performers in 2017.
As normal, Central and Northeastern will square off in the regular-season finale on Thursday, May 10, at Manchester. In recent years, the winner of that match has nearly always captured the York-Adams League regular-season title.
Central won both the Y-A regular-season and tournament title in 2017.