DALLASTOWN — It wasn't easy, but the West York girls' volleyball team found a way.
It started Monday, Oct. 23, when the Bulldogs persevered against a fiesty Dallastown squad in the first round of the York-Adams League playoffs. It took West York five sets to get it done, but they got it done when it mattered most.
The same can be said in the semifinals against rival York Suburban Tuesday, Oct. 24. The Trojans gave the Bulldogs fits all night, including winning Set 1.
But the Division II champions found a way to earn a 3-1 triumph to move to the final against Division III champ Delone Catholic at Dallastown High School.
After those two grueling matches, it figured that the Bulldogs would be in for another marathon against a Squirette squad that had won four of the last five tournament crowns.
West York, however, had other ideas and put on a performance for the ages — 51 years to be exact.
The Bulldogs started hot and never let down. Led by big nights from Kate Tate, Gianna Krinock, Tesia Thomas and Trilby Kite, the 'Dogs dominated Delone and claimed an impressive 26-16, 25-11, 25-18 triumph.
“This just feels amazing," Kite said. "We've been so close for so long. We lost in the quarterfinals and then the semifinals (the last two years) so this just feels really good to finally make history.”
The victory was the first-ever for West York in the York-Adams final and the first league title in 51 years for the program, according to head coach Joe Ramp.
“I think that tonight was a display of how versatile we can be," Ramp said. "And how dynamic we can be.”
Sophomores shine: Thomas (eight kills) and Alayna Harris (four kills) gave Delone fits in the middle. Both are just sophomores, but both have winning pedigrees in other sports (swimming and gymnastics for Thomas and basketball for Harris).
“They're both very athletic," Ramp said. "Tesia is a pretty special kid. She excels in all sports. And then we have Alayna, who is a star basketball player. We have two very athletic middles that most teams don't have.”
Delone coach Jason Leppo agreed.
“We don't really match up well with a team like that," Leppo said. "A kid like Tesia, who can walk on air, sometimes, we don't have the size that can match up with that. This year we don't have a whole lot of size, we're more built on speed to be able to attack defensively. So when you have two kids like that in the middle, that's a really tough match-up.”
The middle opened up things for both Tate (nine kills) and Krinock (eight kills) on the outside, which made things easier for setter Kite (26 assists, seven digs, six aces) to decide where to go with the ball.
“This was the best I've seen us play all season long," Kite said. "We really came together and just cleaned things up.”
Delone rolled into final: That might be an understatement. Delone came into the showdown unbeaten on the season. The Squirettes were also coming off an impressive sweep of Division I champion Central York in the other semifinal. But, as Leppo pointed out, these games aren't played on paper.
“I don't ever bet against us," Leppo said. "We've been pretty good for a while now, but, that said, I'm not surprised that they won. They're a really tough match-up for us. In sports, at any level, it usually comes down to match-ups and we just don't match up well with them.”
Districts next: While the Bulldogs left Dallastown on quite a high, both teams figure to be well-positioned for a lengthy postseason. Both programs are the No. 2 seed in their respective District 3 draws (West York in 3-A, Delone in 2-A). Last night's battle will likely benefit both in the long run.
“This helps a ton," Leppo said. "Now that we've seen middles like that, we know what we tried and we know that we obviously need to try something else. And that's something where you don't know where your flaws are until you see them.”
Autumn Altland led Delone with seven kills, while Maddie Clabaugh finished with five kills and three aces.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.