DALLASTOWN — Some teams play down the revenge factor before preparing for a rematch.
The West York girls' volleyball team did the exact opposite.
They embraced it.
After an early-season loss to Palmyra on a Saturday in September, the Bulldogs put a big red circle around that contest, a 3-0 victory by the Cougars.
Revenge is most certainly on West York's radar.
Before the Bulldogs could earn a potential rematch in the District 3 Class 3-A final against No. 1 seeded Palmyra, however, they had to get past Lower Dauphin in the semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Dallastown High School.
Playing more like a cohesive team than they did in a quarterfinal victory over Berks Catholic two nights previously, the second-seeded Bulldogs did their part of the equation. West York swept the third-seeded Falcons, 25-19, 25-22, 25-20, to earn a berth in the final at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, back at Dallastown.
The win also clinched a PIAA state berth for the Bulldogs.
Palmyra, meanwhile, held up its end, beating Garden Spot in the other semifinal, 25-6, 21-25, 25-18, 25-20, to earn its berth in the final.
"This feels great," West York senior Trilby Kite said. "This (winning a district title) has been our goal all season and I think that we have a very good shot at it this year."
Kite was a key component of last year's Bulldog team that finished fourth at districts before advancing all the way to the PIAA Class 3-A state semifinals. That team defeated Palmyra during the season only to get upset in the district semifinals in five games.
Like last year, when the Bulldogs (22-1) then beat the Cougars in the state quarterfinals, they're hoping to avenge their only loss of this season.
"We circled that one loss on the board," West York coach Joe Ramp said of the discussion about playing Palmyra again. "And this is what we're going to go for. We want our redemption. We want to play Palmyra again. We know they're a top-notch team. Let's go get it."
Ramp's club played more like the team that swept to the York-Adams League Division II and league playoff titles than the squad that sputtered for long stretches against Berks Catholic. A brief 11-4 deficit in Set 2 was the only hiccup along the way. Behind the serving of Taylor Morley, who registered a team-high four aces, the Bulldogs rallied to even things up at 15-15 just a few minutes later.
"We kind of got back into that individual mode that you saw (vs. Berks Catholic)," Ramp said. "And that's why it went bad. Everybody was just doing their own thing and we weren't playing in our system. So I called a timeout to tell them to relax. We were up one game and I said, 'you just have fun and take care of business.'"
West York did that behind a balanced attack led by sophomore standout Tesia Thomas. Thomas finished with 11 kills to lead the Bulldogs, but the West York attack was anything but one-dimensional. Five others (Gianna Krinock, Alayna Harris, Kate Tate, and Trilby Kite) finished with at least four kills apiece.
"It was a great effort all the way across for us," Ramp said. "These girls are strong and, if they want it, they will absolutely go get it."
For Kite, who dished out 29 assists in the victory over Lower Dauphin, that means getting some revenge.
"Hopefully we get to play Palmyra," Kite said with a smile.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.