There were several reasons why Tuesday evening’s York-Adams League boys’ volleyball battle between Dallastown and York Suburban was important.
For one, with both teams tied for third in the league standings at 8-2, the winner would earn the No. 3 seed heading into next week’s league playoffs.
For two, both squads needed an extra boost in the District 3 power ratings.
Finally, perhaps the biggest reason it was important for the home-standing Trojans was that it was Senior Night. With only one senior on the roster, it morphed into Peter Groncki Night.
Fortunately for the home crowd, the Suburban big man did not disappoint. Groncki smashed 11 kills, including the match-winning shot that helped Suburban prevail in a roller-coaster match, 22-25, 25-19, 25-13, 28-30, 15-9.
“I didn’t want it to be my kind of night,” Groncki said. “But the team, they made it about me. To get the final point was a great feeling.”
Adding serving to his game: Pulling out a dramatic win is always sweet for the victor, especially when there's something at stake.
“Peter really had a consistent night, all night, which is big for your leader,” Suburban coach Oliver Good said. “He really stepped up. And we even let him serve tonight and he did some good things there for us tonight.”
Groncki finished with a team-high three aces from the service line, which is an added boost considering that he's been shelved from serving for much of the season.
“He’s been begging all year for the chance to serve,” Good said. “But it just hasn’t been consistent enough. At practice, he’s been working on trying to improve his jump-serve. And tonight he had some really good serves, but it has to be more consistent. So he’s a weapon that we’re hoping continues to improve down the line.”
Ward, Fry shine for Wildcats: Had the Trojans not claimed victory, the night would have likely been owned by Dallastown’s big attacker, Ben Ward, and the team's libero, Cade Fry. Ward led everyone with 20 kills, while Fry came up with 19 digs.
“We knew from the start that it was going to be a war,” Dallastown coach Tom Beakler said. “And I thought that our libero was as good tonight as he has been all year. He played great defense, but all of the guys in the back row really played good.”
Ward came up with big kill after big kill in Dallastown’s victory in Set 4. The Wildcats had a handful of chances to put the game away after Ward kills, but the scrappy Suburban defense prolonged the play until Ward closed out the 30-28 victory with an emphatic blast.
Responding to adversity: A good sign for the Trojans was how the team responded to the adversity. After dropping Sets 1 and 4, the home team was able to take the lead early in Sets 2 and 5 and keep it.
The play of the Suburban squad — which is junior-laden — impressed Beakler, who led Northeastern to back-to-back state titles in the early 1990s.
“Suburban really brought it in that last game,” Beakler said. “They played really well and they deserve to win, they really do. Some of the hits that they made and some of the defensive plays that they made … they were just a little better than us tonight. It was a fun five games, just a good night.”
Declan Ridings finished with 15 kills to lead Suburban while Nate Bowman added 13 more. Noah Chojnacki dished out 48 assists for the Trojans while Dallastown setter Mason Figdore finished with 40 assists.
Northeastern 3, Kennard-Dale 0: At Fawn Grove, the unbeaten Bobcats won, 25-13, 25-12, 25-16. Individually for the Bobcats, Wyatt Hughes had six kills, Nate Wilson had five kills and Austin Richard had 29 assists. Northeastern improved to 13-0 overall and 10-0 in the York-Adams League. The Bobcats will play host to unbeaten Central York on Thursday for the league regular-season crown. Noah McConville (three kills, four digs) and John Enders (three digs, eight assists) led K-D. Northeastern won the JV match, 2-0.
Central York 3, Spring Grove 0: At Central York, Cole Johnson pounded out a match-high 14 kills and teammate Braden Richard added 13 more as the Panthers swept the Rockets, 25-14, 25-15, 25-17. Brock Anderson also dished out 38 assists and had four digs and two aces for Central (11-0 overall, 10-0 York-Adams League). Dalton Mummert had five kills and Sam Sweigart posted seven assists for Spring Grove.
Red Lion 3, West York 1: At West York, Blake Hildebrand posted a match-high 19 kills and added a pair of aces and a pair of digs as the visiting Lions won 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-17. Connor Baker added 27 assists for the Lions. Gabe Mummert’s eight kills led West York. The Bulldogs also got 20 assists and 12 digs from Adam Hersey.
New Oxford 3, Eastern York 0: At New Oxford, Mike Robinson recorded 11 kills, while teammate Matt Faust added 27 assists as the Colonials won 25-13, 25-17, 25-20. Dalton Leik led the Golden Knights with eight kills, four aces, four digs, two blocks and two assists.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.