Coach's fiery words spark Northeastern to York-Adams League boys' volleyball playoff title

  • Northeastern won the York-Adams League boys' volleyball playoff championship on Tuesday.
  • The Bobcats rallied after losing the first set to earn a 3-1 victory over Central York.
  • The Bobcats have won eight York-Adams playoff crowns in the last 11 seasons.

DALLASTOWN — Northeastern boys’ volleyball coach Matt Wilson may not look like someone who has been coaching for 20 years, but the veteran mentor has seen his share of in-game issues since taking over the Bobcats' program.

Never one to mince words when he feels his team is becoming complacent, Wilson had to light a fire under his talented squad Tuesday night in the York-Adams League playoff title match against rival Central York.

“Let me communicate something to you,” Wilson yelled at his team after quickly taking a timeout in Set 2 at Dallastown High School. “You’re about to get wiped out! Do you hear me?”

Wilson’s question certainly rang loudly in his team’s ears when they walked back onto the court. Like a switch that was finally turned on, the Bobcats responded after dropping Set 1 and falling behind in Set 2.

There was little that the Central side could do after that.

Northeastern rallied to win Set 2 before completing the come-from-behind victory in four sets, 19-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-14.

Tuesday’s triumph marked the 10th Y-A League playoff title for the Northeastern program since the tournament started in 2001.

Not ready: “We weren’t ready," Bobcat junior middle hitter Alex Finch said. “But once they won that first set, we knew we had to bounce back.”

Wilson wasn’t about to take any chances that his team might follow the same path it took last Thursday in the regular-season finale against the Panthers. Central won the first two sets last week before the Bobcats stormed back to capture the regular-season title in five sets.

So Wilson took it upon himself to call a timeout just three points into Set 2. His timeout came shortly after a Central attack inexplicably fell to the floor between two Northeastern defenders.

The Northeastern coach pointed out that play only happened because his team was not communicating like a team that is favored to capture a sixth-straight PIAA Class 2-A championship. So a red-faced Wilson yelled at his team to get back to doing the things they normally do that are successful.

Wilson is hoping he won't have to give such a stern lecture to his squad anymore this season.

“I still feel like the young Matt Wilson coaching, but I don’t have the energy that I once did,” he said. “So I wear out a little quicker. But I think this team keeps us on our edge right now. That’s just who we are right now and, fortunately for me, they have been responding well to getting pushed.”

Turning things around: After Central pushed its lead to 5-3 in Set 2, the Bobcats started to turn things around. A five-point run forced the Panthers to call a timeout to try to curtail Northeastern’s newfound momentum.

It didn’t work.

The 'Cats continued to play solidly. Northeastern's defense, serving and attack gave the Central side more than it could handle.

Wyatt Hughes led a Northeastern attack that had five players register at least six kills, Hughes had 12, Cole Brillhart finished with 10 and Finch tallied nine, including the final one of the match.

“That felt amazing,” Finch said of his kill that clinched his school’s eighth title over the past 11 years. “We just had to let it all out after coach said something to us.”

After surrendering leads twice in the last week against their biggest rival, the Central York players were understandably downtrodden. The only silver lining is that the Panthers won’t have to dwell on Tuesday’s loss for too long. Their District 3 3-A first-round contest is slated for Thursday at home against Conestoga Valley.

Braden Richard and Cole Johnson led the Panther attack. Richard collected a match-high 16 kills while Johnson finished with 15.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at




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