DALLASTOWN — Central York girls' volleyball coach Nate Ocasio didn't really have a whole lot to say Thursday, Nov. 2, after his team's clash with Hempfield in the District 3 Class 4-A semifinals at Dallastown High School.
Ocasio's club, which won the York-Adams League Division I title this season while earning the No. 3 seed in the district draw, was thoroughly dominated in Set 1 against the No. 2-seeded Black Knights.
While the Panthers rebounded to make it a game in Set 2, Hempfield was just too much for Central to handle. The Knights cruised to a 25-9, 25-23, 25-17 triumph to earn a berth in the finals against fourth-seeded Exeter Township. Exeter knocked off top-seeded Cumberland Valley, 3-2, in the other semifinal Thursday.
Ocasio had only a few words about his team's play in a sluggish Set 1.
"They kicked our (butt)," he said.
What more could Ocasio have said?
Hempfield's domination, however, didn't translate to Set 2, when the Panthers (15-2) held a steady lead until late. The Black Knights, however, rallied back just in time from a three-point deficit to finally take a 23-22 lead. Moments later, the Lancaster-Lebanon League power was up 2-0 in the match.
"We settled in and got into a better rhythm," Ocasio said of the second game. "Especially with our third contact, which really helped."
Central kept things close in Set 3 as well, but the Knights were able to used their size and depth to claim the sweep.
State berth still possible: The loss, while certainly disappointing, does not mean an end to Central's season. The Panthers will have to defeat Cumberland Valley in the third-place match at 5 p.m. Saturday at Garden Spot to qualify for the PIAA Class 4-A state draw.
"It's win-or-go-home now," Ocasio said. "We've seen CV in preseason scrimmages and we played them a couple of years ago when we beat them in the semifinals of districts, but they beat us in states. It should be fun to watch."
Emily Wilt led the Panthers with nine kills while Alexa Shorts added five in the setback. Setter Linnea Prudell finished with 23 assists, while libero MacKenna Caruso had14 digs for Central.
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