The season isn't yet two weeks old, but the 2019 York-Adams League boys' volleyball campaign is already shaping up as a real dogfight.
During the season's opening weekend, Central York beat Y-A rival Northeastern in the championship match of the highly-regarded North Allegheny Tournament. That victory on Saturday, March 23, shot the Panthers up the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 3-A state rankings, moving them from No. 6 in the preseason poll to No. 1 after the first week.
The championship loss, meanwhile, pushed down Northeastern from No. 2 to No. 3 in those same 3-A rankings. The Bobcats have won the past six 2-A state titles, but moved up to 3-A this season.
Bobcats win own invitational: The state rankings could be in for another shakeup after the Bobcat Invitational on Saturday, March 30, at Northeastern, an event that featured 40 teams, including a dozen with top-10 rankings in either 3-A or 2-A. The host Bobcats emerged with the tournament crown in Manchester.
It's event that's well known for providing of preview of the PIAA Championships in early June.
Since 2003, the PIAA has crowned 27 Pennsylvania high school boys' volleyball championship teams.
In the year they won those state titles, 22 of those 27 championship teams competed in that year’s Bobcat Invitational, according to Wayne Heberlig, the tournament's longtime director.
The Bobcats opened the 2019 Bobcat Invitational Championship Bracket action with a 15-10, 15-7 victory over Pennsbury. They then earned a little payback vs. Central with 11-15, 18-16, 15-13 quarterfinal triumph vs. the Panthers.
Northeastern then captured a 25-20, 25-21 victory over Cumberland Valley in the semifinals. The Eagles were ranked No. 5 in the state in 3-A.
Then, in the final, the coach Matt Wilson's Bobcats got the best of another Y-A foe, York Suburban, 25-17, 25-21, to capture the championship at their own prestigious tournament.
Trojans may move up in rankings: Suburban had been ranked No. 3 in 2-A by the state's coaches, but the Trojans could be moving up this week. The previous top-ranked 2-A team, Ambridge, and the No. 2 team, Manheim Central, didn't qualify for the Bobcat Invitational Championship Bracket.
The Trojans' road to the Championship Bracket final included wins over Council Rock North (15-10, 13-15, 15-11), Exeter (15-9, 15-13) and Seneca Valley (25-22, 25-23). Exeter was ranked No. 4 in 3-A.
Central opened its Championship Bracket action with a 15-12, 15-7 win over Warwick before falling to Northeastern. Warwick was ranked No. 6 in the state in 3-A.
Pivotal Y-A match looms: In a pivotal early-season Y-A match set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Central York will travel to York Suburban.
In the Bobcat Invitational Silver Bracket final, Chambersburg defeated Ambridge, 25-19. Red Lion defeated Dover in the Bronze Bracket title match, 25-9.
On Friday, Central won the junior varsity Bobcat Invitational title, beating Chambersburg in the final, 25-19.
Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.