West York girls hope for different outcome this year vs. Allentown Central Catholic

  • West York will face Allentown Central Catholic in a PIAA Class 3-A girls' volleyball semifinal.
  • The match will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Exeter Township High School.
  • ACC swept West York 3-0 in a PIAA semifinal a year ago, also at Exeter.

Revenge may be too harsh of a term to use.

The West York girls' volleyball team, however, is certainly looking to make amends for last year's PIAA Class 3-A semifinal loss.

West York's Alayna Harris, left, and Kate Tate block a shot against Berks Catholici in a District 3 Class 3-A girls' volleyball quarterfinal at West York Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

After the Bulldogs knocked off Pope John Paul II on Saturday, Nov. 11, in the state quarterfinals, the York-Adams League champions will return to the state semifinals for a second year in a row.

West York's opponent on Tuesday, Nov. 14, in the PIAA 3-A semifinals is the same program that ended the Bulldogs' season a year ago — District 11 champ Allentown Central Catholic.

The Vikettes, who captured the PIAA title after beating West York last season, are ranked No. 1 in the state this season in 3-A by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association. The Bulldogs are No. 5 in those rankings.

Tuesday's 5:30 p.m. showdown will take place at the same venue as last year's match — Exeter Township High School just outside of Reading.

While both the opponent and location remain the same, the Bulldogs have their minds set on creating a result that differs dramatically from last year's 25-20, 25-18, 29-27 setback.

Tesia Thomas of West York crushes the ball past York Suburban blockers Elise Mears, left, and Lulu Mooney, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

"Last year was definitely a bad flashback with this team," West York senior Trilby Kite said. "Especially considering that we're playing in the same gym as before. But I see it as a redemption match in a way (because) I just think we all just don't want the season to be done yet."

Memories from 2016: Kite, who was the team's libero a season ago, remembers how ACC was able to contain her team's middle hitters. As the squad's setter this season, Kite will play a big part in determining just how effective that same defensive strategy may be this time around.

"It's mostly on me to mix up the sets and keep the blockers on the other side guessing where I'm going to go," she said. "But it's also on our passers and defense to give me good passes so it's not easy to figure out where I'm going with the ball."

The Bulldogs sport a pair of outstanding middles in sophomores Tesia Thomas and Alayna Harris. Both are athletic and physical enough to cause most opponents trouble.

"They shut down our middles last year, which was new for us," Kite said. "Last year they were just overall bigger and stronger than us."

Against a team such as the Vikettes, however, West York will need to make ACC's defense concentrate on the edges as well. That's where outside hitters Gianna Krinock and Kate Tate will prove key.

West York's Trilby Kite sets the ball against Delone during the York-Adams League girls' volleyball championship match at Dallastown Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. West York took the crown with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-18) win. Bill Kalina photo

Krinock is coming off a big night against Pope John Paul II, which came in ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 3-A by the PVCA. She combined with Thomas for 30 kills. Tate, who is the only other senior on the squad besides Kite, has consistently been the Bulldogs' top outside threat all season.

Vikettes look strong again: The Vikettes' top attacker this season is junior outside Rachel Hess, who has tallied 440 kills. Hess had a big night in ACC's quarterfinal victory over Garden Spot, when she recorded a match-best 17 kills. Megan Nelson and Grace Barr, both outsides, have also proven effective, combining for nearly 500 kills.

One pivotal factor that Kite pointed out is defense. The Vikettes are traditionally a tough defensive squad. Kite has heard that nothing has changed in that regard.

"I talked with the Garden Spot coach and he said they still have just as good of a defense as they did last year," Kite said.

To combat that, Kite feels her team has to be stronger at the net.

"I think for us, our blocking will play a key part of our success," she said.

The winner of this semifinal will advance to the state championship match at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Richland High School in Johnstown. The other 3-A semifinal on Tuesday pits District 7 champion Knoch vs. District 7 runner-up Montour. Knoch is ranked No. 4, while Montour is No. 7.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.