York Suburban boys bounce back in big way, sweep into state volleyball 2-A quarterfinals

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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York Suburban's Brady Stump, seen here in a file photo, had 17 kills on Tuesday in a state playoff triumph.

The first round of the PIAA boys’ volleyball playoffs can be both exciting and bittersweet.

That was certainly the case for the York-Adams Tournament champions from York Suburban on Tuesday evening.

Hosting Southern Lehigh in a Class 2-A battle, the Trojans were eager to erase the bad taste of a three-set loss in the District 3 final against Lower Dauphin.

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It was also slightly melancholy for the Suburban seniors, who were taking to their home court for the final time in their careers.

That sadness, however, was certainly trumped by an impressive showing from the District 3 runners-up. The Trojans came out on fire in a blistering display of dominance in Set 1 against the Spartans.

While the visitors from northeastern Pennsylvania improved their play after that, it was not enough. The No. 3 team in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association 2-A rankings rolled to a 25-12, 25-17, 28-26 triumph.

The victory advances Suburban (19-2) to the state quarterfinals, where they will face District 10 runner-up Cochranton, a 3-0 winner over District 7 champ Montour. That contest will be played at noon Saturday at Bald Eagle High School in Bellefonte.

“Bouncing back was our mentality,” Suburban senior Ben Klimes said. “We wanted to put the pedal to the floor and kind of show why we are at the place we are.”

Fueled by Stump: The Trojans definitely did that from the outset. The home team rode the big swings from Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) recruit Brady Stump. The lead-by-example heart of the Suburban squad smashed down a handful of big kills early en route to a 17-kill performance.

Those kills not only secured pivotal points during the contest, but they also fueled the energy of rest of the Trojan lineup.

“He’s such an impactful player,” Klimes said of Stump. “And I think we all feed off of him. Sometimes our emotions can get kind of up-and-down like his, but we support him and if he gets going, he definitely helps us out.”

Klimes, one of four YS seniors, couldn’t have capped off his career on the Suburban court any better than he did Tuesday. Klimes was at the service line when he saw the Spartans’ final attack sail into the net for a match point.

“That meant a lot,” said Klimes, who finished with two kills, six digs and an ace in the victory. “This was our last time playing here so it was kind of emotional, but I’m glad I got the opportunity.”

A gauntlet awaits: Opportunity will be the theme from this point out for the Trojans. From here on out, they’ll face a gauntlet of contenders on their crusade for a state title.

Next up is Cochranton, the No. 4 ranked team in the coaches’ poll. A win in Saturday’s quarterfinals would earn them a spot into the semifinals against either No. 1 Meadville or No. 6 Our Lady of Sacred Heart.

If the Trojans somehow navigate their way to the final on Saturday, June 11, at Rec Hall in State College, the Suburban boys will likely see No. 2 Lower Dauphin, the reigning state champions.

If that all happens, there will be no doubt that the Trojans will have earned the right to be called champions.

Klimes, however, knows that he and his teammates will be focusing only on the next contest against Cochranton.

“We’ll be ready,” he said.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.