DALLASTOWN — It was said that the winner of this year’s York-Adams League Girls’ Volleyball Tournament would have to earn it.
West York coach Joe Ramp doesn’t disagree.
A night after fending off a strong challenge from Division I runner-up Dover, Ramp and his Division II champion Bulldogs were faced with taking on Division III co-champ Delone Catholic in the league final at Dallastown High School Wednesday evening.
In a battle of two state-ranked squads, it was Ramp and his West York girls that earned a second consecutive league crown. The Bulldogs rolled past the Squirettes, 25-18, 25-16, 25-10.
“We definitely had to earn it,” a relieved Ramp said moments after giving out gold medals to his squad. “All three games were tough. And at the end of the day, I just think the biggest battle was with ourselves.”
Ramp felt his team was a bit too tight from the onset, which allowed Delone to keep things close. The two sides were tied at 9-9 in the first set before the Bulldogs gained some separation. And after trailing 11-7 in the second set, the Bulldogs rallied back with an impressive 18-5 run to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Feeling less pressured, the Bulldogs pulled away from a 5-5 deadlock with another big run, this time a 20-5 clip that allowed Ramp and his squad to defend their league title, beating Delone in the final 3-0 for a second straight time.
“We just needed to build confidence and believe in ourselves,” Ramp said. “We’re very talented. The motivation factor is all on them, but sometimes you have to give them a pep talk to get fired up a bit, and Set 3 was me getting them fired up a bit.”
Rill a big addition: Perhaps the biggest difference between this year’s club and the one that won the league title a season ago is the addition of Julia Rill to the lineup. After sitting out her junior season with an ACL injury, Rill has come back to give the Bulldogs that one extra weapon at the net.
“This team here is just a complete team,” Ramp said. “I mean we have some district all-stars, and I’m looking at stats and I think after tonight’s game that we will have four players on this team with over 100 kills apiece. If you can show me another team that has four big offensive weapons, with that size block and solid defense, I’d definitely want to play them because they’ll make us better as well.”
Rill has been thoroughly enjoying her final campaign. Not only is the team, which improved to 20-1, playing great, they’re playing together.
“We’ve never had a group like this, that is as connected this much,” Rill said. “And this year I think that everyone just has a passion just to win and to play our hearts out.”
Bigger goals: Winning a league title was far from the biggest goal that Ramp and his team have set for this season. After back-to-back runs to the PIAA Class 3-A semifinals, the Bulldogs are hoping to reach their first-ever state final.
Before that, however, is another goal that neither of the previous two teams achieved — a District 3 title.
Rill, who is taking a cue from the more down-to-earth Ramp, isn’t about to focus on that goal until they get there.
“(Coach) always talks about focusing on the next game at hand,” Rill said. “And then just work your way up. If districts is there, then it’s there, but we’re going to keep pushing.”
Rill led the Bulldogs with 10 kills and 12 digs, while Tesia Thomas added seven kills and Gianna Krinock chipped in six kills to go with 10 digs. Setter Taylor Morley dished out 25 assists.
Maddie Clabaugh led Delone (18-3) with six kills, while Brooke Lawyer and Maggie Rickrode chipped in five apiece. Molly Raville dished out 13 assists, while libero Lauren Trummer recorded a match-high 14 digs.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.