Big crowds are typically a given when any of the top York-Adams League boys’ volleyball teams square off.
That made the decision to close off the student section for Tuesday’s Y-A clash between state powers York Suburban and Central York a curious one.
With Suburban already owning one of the smaller gyms in the area, the lack of the extra room for seating made the contest feel like it was being played in a closet. The close quarters may have also amped up the crowd intensity.
So, did the change of scenery work to the Suburban's favor?
Yes and no.
The home team stormed out of the gates looking very much like a team that could possibly win the PIAA Class 2-A title later this spring.
After that, however, the Class 3-A Panthers, who have state title aspirations of their own, put their collective foot down and refused to get pushed around any longer. The end result was an 18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-19 Central victory.
“I think we just all came together,” Panther standout Braden Richard said. “We knew we weren’t playing up to our ability (in the first game) and that needed to change.”
Richard, Minkin, Mehl lead way: Richard was one of the primary catalysts in Central’s comeback. The Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) recruit finished with a match-high 28 kills.
The Panther senior, however, shared credit for erasing the early 1-0 deficit Tuesday with his other primary attackers, Matt Minkin and Kyle Mehl. Minkin chipped in 13 kills, while Mehl tallied 11 in the victory.
“I just love that we can all hit from anywhere on the court,” Richard said. “It’s a lot of fun playing with Kyle and Matt.”
While the Panthers were obviously happy about the outcome, the Suburban boys, who were coming off an impressive runner-up finish at the Bobcat Invitational this past weekend, were admittedly stung by the outcome.
“I think that maybe we got a little too comfortable with our lead after the first set,” Suburban senior Nate Bowman said. “And I just think that they kind of took advantage.”
Key timeout: Bowman and his teammates quickly won the first two points of Set 2 to keep the good vibes going. But Central coach Todd Goodling didn’t mess around. The Panther coach called a very early timeout.
“I thought that was a little strange,” said Bowman, who tallied 10 kills on the night.
Well the result speaks for itself.
The Panthers quickly righted the ship behind Mehl, Minkin and Richard. Moments later the Trojans found themselves down 17-11 before the visitors evened up the match.
“I thought that we really came out early and played really well,” Suburban coach Oliver Good said. “But unfortunately we could not sustain that really high level.”
Rematch possible: Tuesday’s clash doesn’t figure to be the only time these two teams will see each other this season. There’s a good chance that they could square off in the league playoffs, or, before that, possibly in the Koller Invitational that Central hosts in a few weeks.
“Hopefully,” Good said of another possible showdown in the future. “And hopefully we can take away some lessons from this that might yield some better results.”
As for the future of closing off the student section for big matches down the road, that answer remains up in the air.
“I like it personally,” Bowman said. “It seemed like it was pretty loud in here, but we’ll see.”
Northeastern 3, West York 0: At West York, the Bobcats cruised, 25-11, 25-18, 25-19. Brady Leman (seven kills), Tristan Schrauder (10 digs) and Austin Richards (37 assists) paced Northeastern. Adam Hersey (20 assists), Gabe Mummert (eight kills) and Alex McClellan (seven digs) led West York.
Spring Grove 3, Eastern York 0: At Spring Grove, the Rockets won, 25-17, 25-20, 25-19. Elijah Taylor led the Rockets with nine kills. Also for Spring Grove, Josh Blymier had 14 assists and three digs, J.J. Wolfe had three kills and Dalton Mummert had five kills. For the Golden Knights, Brady Bixler had 18 kills, 11 digs and 11 blocks, while Jake Kennell had 10 kills, six digs and four blocks and Tim Leaman had eight kills and five digs. Spring Grove won the JV match, 2-0.
New Oxford 3, Dover 1: At New Oxford, the Colonials won, 25-20, 19-25, 25-15, 25-18. Matt Faust led the home with 44 assists, six aces, four digs and three kills. Teammate Chase Nell had 10 kills and eight digs. For Dover, Devin Crone had 13 kills and five digs, while Dakota Dehoff had 10 kills and Owen Davis had 22 assists and eight digs.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.