Delone Catholic rolls to a fourth straight York-Adams girls' volleyball crown
DALLASTOWN — While some of the teams that played in the York-Adams League girls' volleyball tournament looked at the two-day event as a glorified scrimmage in preparation for District 3 action, the York Suburban girls took the opposite approach.
Perhaps several years of disappointments played into that. The Trojans were on a three-year run of early exits. But, with perhaps their most talented squad of the bunch, the Suburban girls were looking to make a statement on a big stage.
While it certainly wasn't the home run they were hoping for, the Trojans left Dallastown High School Tuesday night with a token that commemorates their efforts.
After getting by Division II champion and rival Susquehannock in the semifinals (25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20), the Division II runner-up found itself up against the best program in the York-Adams League in the finals — Delone Catholic.
Seeking their fourth consecutive league title, the Squirettes have been in big games and big moments quite a bit. Perhaps that experience was a big reason why Delone was able to get past the up-and-coming Trojans, 25-17, 25-21, 25-17.
"Winning this four years in a row, and considering how tough our league is, has added significance," Delone coach Jason Leppo said. "But we don't want to make this a bigger deal than it is. We have bigger goals."
While the title eluded Coach Sonia Guyer and her club, the Trojans still felt pretty good about themselves and their second-place showing.
"To us, anytime that you're given an opportunity to play (the best teams), you should be treasuring that and make the most of it," Guyer said. "Whether it's a regular-season game or a (league) postseason game, and that's kind of the way that we look at it."
The Trojans entered their finals showdown against the Division III champion with their eyes wide open. There was also a sense of excitement in the way they played that sometimes was missing in other match-ups throughout the tournament.
That was evident in Game 1 when they rallied back from a 15-10 deficit to close within 15-13. That mini run forced Delone to call the first timeout of the match while also giving the Suburban girls a chance to celebrate a little.
Gifted team: Those moments of momentum are hard to come by against a team that is clearly the most gifted of all the programs throughout the entire league. The Squirettes rarely beat themselves and no league team has been able to find a way to knock them off during their historic four-year run.
Suburban was able to come as close as anyone so far this year to taking a game from the champs, a fact that they hope to build upon with a possible rematch looming next weekend in the District 3-AA semifinals.
"If we play them again, hopefully, we can take a lot from this game to build on," said Suburban's Georgia DuMars, who dished out 20 assists while celebrating her birthday. "There's a lot that we can improve on, so that's hopeful for us."
Delone was able to control the flow of the game for long stretches behind their passing, serve-receive and their attack. The Squirettes can attack from pretty much everywhere on the court, which is not unique when compared to other top teams. But it's the speed of their game that separates them from the pack.
All of that starts with their setter, Katie Laughman (31 assists), who has a knack for quickly finding her teammates in good position. Many of those chances were afforded to senior Sarah Senft, who led all players with 19 kills.
"They do a really good job of spreading the ball around," Guyer said. "And sometimes our blockers have to guess where it's going if they can't make the early read, and then they have to react to the faster offense. They are fast and they run a fast offense."
On to districts: Both Suburban and Delone move on to the upcoming district tournament with a goal of qualifying for the PIAA tournament. Of the 14 teams in the field, half of them are York-Adams clubs. As the No. 1 seed, the Squirettes earned one of two first-round byes, meaning they will get the chance to watch and take on the winner of West York-Trinity in the quarterfinals.
Suburban will have to get past Big Spring in the first round and either Hanover or Fleetwood in the second round to get a rematch with Delone, something that Leppo isn't overly thrilled about.
"I hate that (because) it's also tougher to beat those same teams multiple times," he said.
Notes: Jordan Landis led Suburban with nine kills in the finals while Ciara Buckingham and Ali Reinecker each tallied five apiece.
Delone advanced to the finals after an impressive sweep of previously unbeaten and Division I champion Central York in the semifinals. The Squirettes were led by Lily Singleton's 10 kills in the 25-21, 25-16, 25-13 victory over the Panthers. Senft tallied eight kills in that match, while Laughman dished out 30 assists.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.