GIRLS' VOLLEYBALL: Central York sweeps Red Lion to clinch York-Adams Division I title
RED LION — The Red Lion girls' volleyball team had seemingly stacked the deck against Central York in a clash of York-Adams Division I powers on Tuesday evening.
First, it was Senior Night, an occasion that typically gives an extra boost to the home team.
Then the Lions had the revenge card in their pocket after dropping an exciting five-game match last month that could have gone either way.
Despite those factors working against them, the Panthers answered back with solid fundamental play to steal away the spotlight — and the victory.
Central took charge early on by rolling to an impressive 10-point victory in Game 1. The Lions played much better in both Game 2 and Game 3, having a shot at claiming both of them, before the Panthers triumphed.
The 25-15, 25-22, 25-22 sweep was unexpected by many, but was extremely satisfying for the visitors, who locked down the York-Adams Division I title for a second straight year.
"We came out and were really crisp," Central York senior Emily Poole said. "We had a good idea of what we wanted to do and had that goal in mind of just getting a win."
The Panthers (11-0 in the division) excelled in all the key aspects of volleyball — blocking, defense and serve-receive. The Lions had trouble getting on track early, largely because the visitors refused to allow any sustained runs by the home side.
Central raced out to a 5-1 lead in Game 1 and the Panthers were never really challenged, with Red Lion (9-2 in the division) getting no closer than three points at any point.
"Our defense played out of their minds," said Poole, who finished with eight kills and five blocks. "They really picked up (points) for us that we wouldn't have been able to get without them."
The Panthers continued to play well in taking a 5-2 lead early in Game 2. The Lions, however, started to find a groove behind all-state outside hitter Lindsey Blevins, claiming a 14-12 advantage midway through. Central responded with a 6-0 run to regain the lead, but the home team rallied to take a temporary 21-20 lead late. But a couple of hitting errors by Blevins sparked Central's late-game 5-1 rally to put the Lions down 2-0.
"We have to lessen the hitting errors," Red Lion coach Heather Schoemaker said. "It really came down to serve-receive and the errors."
In Game 3, the teams traded points early on. The game was deadlocked six times, the last of which came at 11-all, before a Central rally put them ahead for good.
To win in convincing fashion against the team that everyone had pegged as Central's toughest challenger for the regular-season title made it all the more impressive.
So what was the difference between the back-and-forth rumble in the first showdown and Tuesday night's sweep?
"The first time we played them we were still playing around with our lineup," Central coach Nate Ocasio said. "We were trying to find our identity, as every team is. I think we found what works for us and cleaned some things up and I think that was the difference."
Alison Rife led Central with 10 kills, while setter Emma Saxton dished out a game-high 30 assists for the Panthers, who have just one division match against Spring Grove remaining.
Blevins led all players with 14 kills to go with a team-best 13 digs. Setter Rachel Groff finished with 19 assists for the Lions, who still have one division match with rival Dallastown Thursday.
OTHER GIRLS' VOLLEYBALL
Susquehannock 3, Gettysburg 0: At Gettysburg, Kelly Franz led the visitors to a 25-20, 25-15, 25-16 victory with 25 assists and 14 digs. Also for the Warriors, Laura Savin had 11 kills and seven digs, Gabee Ogude had eight kills and five blocks and Karah Sweitzer had 17 digs. Gettysburg's Myla Manahan had 14 assists and seven digs. Susquehannock (12-1) clinched at least a tie for the York-Adams Division II title. Susquehannock won the JV match, 2-1.
Eastern York 3, York High 0: At Wrightsville, Madison Anslow led the home team to the 25-15, 25-13, 25-8 victory with seven kills and four blocks. Also for Eastern, Brianna Wells had seven aces, Liz Pyles had 18 assists and Brooke LaCesa had five kills. For the Bearcats, Cheyenne Bradford had five digs, while Nicheska Vigo had four digs. Eastern won the JV match, 25-7, 25-10.
Spring Grove 3, Dover 0: At Spring Grove, Autumn Leese led the Rockets to a 25-13, 25-6, 25-11 win with 10 kills, six digs and six aces. Also for the Rockets, Josie Attig had 25 assists, Kendra Miller had eight kills and Laken Bankert had 12 digs. For the Eagles, Abby Diehl had 15 assists and six digs, Rajah Fink had five kills and Rachel Wagner had six digs. Spring Grove won the JV match, 25-19, 19-25, 16-14.
New Oxford 3, Dallastown 2: At New Oxford, the Colonials won, 19-25, 25-7, 25-18, 22-25, 16-14. Carly Rippeon led the home team with 10 kills. Teammate Wren Berry had 33 assists. For the Wildcats, Paige Childs had 13 kills, while Kat Forry had 17 digs and seven kills and A.J. Hale had eight digs. New Oxford won the JV match, 25-22, 21-25, 15-9.
Bermudian Springs 3, Hanover 0: At Hanover, the Eagles won the road match, 25-23, 25-23, 25-15. Madyson Whitcomb led the Eagles with 12 kills and five blocks. Teammate Gabrielle Emeigh had five kills, nine digs and four aces. For the Hawkettes, Alexa Merrel had seven kills. Bermudian won the JV match, 24-26, 25-18, 15-8.
York Suburban 3, Northeastern 1: At Suburban, the Trojans won,17-25, 25-22, 25-6, 25-16. Jordan Landis led the home team with seven kills and 12 digs. Also for Suburban, Parker Faircloth-Henise had nine kills and five blocks, Georgia DeMars had 23 assists and six digs and Eryn McBride had 15 digs. For the Bobcats, Abby Braswell had 11 kills and 11 digs, Alivia Crerand had 21 assists and Jordyn Smeltzer had 10 digs and six aces. Suburban won the JV match, 25-19, 25-11.
York Catholic 3, Fairfield 0: At York Catholic, the Irish won the match, 25-12, 25-14, 25-18. Eliza Johnson led the Irish with seven kills. Also for the Irish, Emily Hoffman had five kills and six digs, Liz Gick had seven aces and McKenna Walker had 17 assists. York Catholic won the JV match, 25-13, 25-14.
West York 3, Kennard-Dale 0: At West York, Amanda Sides led the Bulldogs to a 25-18, 25-23, 25-19 home victory with 14 kills. Also for West York, Abbey James had 32 assists and seven digs, Marisa Krinock had eight kills and Julia Rill had seven kills. For the Rams, Brittany Wolf had eight kills, eight digs and five blocks, Katie Leftridge had eight digs and six kills and Claire Glackin had 13 assists. West York won the JV match, 25-11, 25-27, 15-6.
Delone Catholic 3, York Tech 0: At Tech, the Squirettes rolled, 25-10, 25-4, 25-12. Kirstyn Evans (eight kills) and Brooke Glass (eight assists) led the Spartans. Delone won the JV match, 25-6, 25-9.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.