DALLASTOWN — Seeing the same team twice can be nerve-racking for a high school girls’ volleyball coach.
Seeing a good team for the second time in just more than a week can be even more worse.
That's exactly what West York girls’ volleyball coach Joe Ramp faced Thursday evening at Dallastown High School in the District 3 Class 3-A semifinals against Dover.
Taking on an Eagles side that pushed the Bulldogs in the York-Adams League semifinals just 10 days ago, Ramp and his talented squad knew that they would be in a for a tough night.
While the final outcome, a 3-0 sweep, may not indicate that, Ramp definitely exhaled a sigh of relief when it was over.
“It was a battle,” Ramp said after his team claimed a 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 triumph that clinched a state playoff berth. “Coming into today I was just like ‘ugh.’ I was nervous for it 100 percent.”
Ramp had every right to feel that way. While the Eagles may not have been state-ranked, such as the York Suburban and Delone Catholic teams that West York defeated this season, they probably should be.
Sixth-seeded Dover (14-7) gave the second-seeded Bulldogs (23-1) trouble all night with their defensive play and bevy of attackers.
“We knew what they had,” West York senior Gianna Krinock said of Dover. “And we knew what they were going to do coming in. It doesn’t really matter what the score is, we knew they could come back at any point.”
That was the certainly the case. The team’s see-sawed the lead back and forth in all three sets. The difference was that the Bulldogs were able to string together more and bigger runs in the clutch.
“We know that we had to keep the momentum,” said Krinock, who led the Bulldogs with 13 kills for the night. “Because once we get down it’s hard to dig out of a hole and it’s really hard to come back from that against a team like that.”
While the Eagles were never out of it in any set, coach Brett Hoffman pointed out that the biggest difference between the two teams was experience.
“When it comes down to it, we just don’t know how to win,” Hoffman said. “And West York knows how to win. They adjusted on the fly better than we did.”
Chayce Hoffman and Emma Davis each tallied 12 kills for the Eagles, who will need to win Saturday’s third-place match against Garden Spot to earn a berth into the PIAA draw. That contest is slated to be played at Central York High School at 5 p.m.
Palmyra up next: The Bulldogs will take the court immediately after the Dover-Garden Spot contest at 7 p.m. in the final against No. 1 seeded Palmyra at Central. The Cougars (17-2) handed West York its only loss of the season by capturing a five-set contest back in September.
“I’m excited,” Ramp said with a smile. “(Playing Palmyra) is what I wanted. It’s redemption.”
Palmyra downed Ramp’s team in the final last year to prevent the two-time PIAA Class 3-A semifinalist Bulldogs a chance at capturing their first 3-A title.
“The only team that beat us this year was Palmyra,” Ramp said. “So now we have another chance again to redeem that blemish.”
Ramp, however, is far from the only one in the program relishing this opportunity.
“I think we’re ready for them now,” Krinock said. “We’re really stronger now. The first time we played them, we weren’t ready for that. We weren’t playing up to them. They have some decent hitters, but I think that if we play smart and don’t get down, I think we can take them.”
Palmyra swept Garden Spot in the other semifinal, 3-0.
In the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 3-A poll, Palmyra was No. 4 and West York was No. 5.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.