DALLASTOWN — It's become clear that it takes a little while for the Central York girls’ volleyball team to get going this season.
After dropping the first two game against Spring Grove last month, the Panthers rallied back to win the final three to upset the then-first-place Rockets.
History repeated itself Thursday, Oct. 5, when Central traveled to take on York-Adams League Division I rival Dallastown. The visitors fell behind 0-2 in the match before they finally got going.
When the Panthers hit their stride, however, there was little the Wildcats could do to stop them.
Central prevailed in a pivotal fifth game to cap off a thrilling 24-26, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23, 20-18 triumph.
“It’s like our second wind,” Central York’s Alexa Shorts said. “We just get it all together.”
It appeared as if the Wildcats were about to make things interesting in the division with an "upset" of the first-place Panthers. Pegged as the team-to-beat in the preseason, Dallastown hasn’t quite lived up to those lofty expectations yet.
Their un-doing Thursday came in serve-receive. The Panthers were able to serve much better starting in Game 3, which seemed to rattled the home team.
“We really needed to control our first contact better,” Dallastown coach Shannon Werner said. “That’s what I think lacked.”
Werner’s club fell behind 6-1 in Game 5 before regrouping. After that, the Wildcats were able to keep balls alive to force a very exciting finish.
“I think they just made the choice that they were going to do whatever it took to make quality contacts,” Werner said.
The Panthers staved off a couple of match points in Game 5 before Shorts stepped to the line with a chance to put the game away. And that’s exactly what she did with her only ace of the night.
“I was just thinking, ‘put it in play,’” Shorts said. “And maybe they’ll do something bad with it, and fortunately for us, they did.”
Shorts and Emily Wilt led the Panthers with 15 kills apiece while Jenna Arganbright added 11 more in the victory. Linnea Prudell registered 40 assists in the victory while McKenna Caruso tallied 21 digs to lead a Central defense that saved 89 balls.
“We’ve shown that we can be a really good defensive team,” Central York coach Nate Ocasio said. “Our defense travels wherever we go and I think that’s one of the big difference makers.”
Delany Kolb and Tatiana Matuszewski led all players with 18 kills each for the Wildcats. Setter Gabby Ream dished out 37 assists, while Lexie Kalligonis finished with 23 digs.
Central imrpved to 7-1 in the division, while Dallastown fell to 6-3. South Western, after a 3-2 win over Dover, is alone in second at 7-2.
South Western 3, Dover 2: At Hanover, the Mustangs won, 19-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 15-9. Ali St. Rose led the Mustangs with 14 kills, 12 digs and three blocks. Teammate Madisyn McMaster had 32 assists, 12 digs and three aces. For the Eagles, Chayce Hoffman had 26 kills, 19 digs and five aces, while Emma Davis had 17 kills, three aces and three digs and Abby Diehl had 49 assists, 17 digs and three kills. South Western won the JV match, 25-8, 25-12.
Spring Grove 3, New Oxford 0: At Spring Grove, the Rockets won, 25-19, 25-15, 25-7. Kendra Miller led the Rockets with six kills, nine digs and three blocks. Also for Spring Grove, Kaylyn Zeigler had four kills, five digs and eight assists, Hailey Marcionette had 15 assists and three aces while Ellie Glass had 18 digs. Spring Grove won the JV match, 25-21, 25-14.
West York 3, Kennard-Dale 0: At Fawn Grove, the Bulldogs continued their stellar season with a 25-17, 25-9, 25-13 victory. West York improved to 10-0 in York-Adams Division II. The Bulldogs also won the JV match, 2-0.\
Susquehannock 3, Northeastern 0: At Manchester, after cruising through the first game, the Warriors had to battle in the last two, but still swept the Bobcats, 25-12, 25-21, 25-21. Jaden Walker had 12 digs and 10 kills for Susquehannock, while Emily Sweitzer had 14 assists and Nikki Gianzanti had 11 digs. Northeastern got 20 assists and 13 digs from Natalie Martin, while Lauren Kelly (28) and Ashley Klinger (14) combined for 42 digs. Northeastern won the JV match, 2-1.
Eastern York 3, York High 0: At Wrightsville, Katie Lehman dished out 19 assists and Brooke LeCesa added 10 kills as the Golden Knights won, 25-12, 25-11, 25-22.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.