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Delone Catholic's season ends with loss in PIAA Class 2-A girls' volleyball semifinal

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@yaiaascores
  • The Delone Catholic girls' volleyball team dropped a 3-2 setback to Holy Redeemer on Tuesday night.
  • The 23-25, 25-13, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10 loss came in a PIAA Class 2-A state semifinal contest.
  • The loss ends Delone's season at 23-4 overall.

EXETER TOWNSHIP — Delone Catholic girls’ volleyball coach Jason Leppo didn’t want to hear the excuses during the regular season.

Delone Catholic's Brooke Lawyer blocks a shot by Holy Redeemer's Livia Moore during the Class 2-A state semifinal at Exeter Township High School Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.  Bill Kalina photo

One excuse was: Leppo’s club graduated a ton of talent from last year’s PIAA Class 2-A runner-up squad.

Another excuse was: It just wasn't Delone's year after losses to York Suburban and York Catholic in the regular season, and tournament defeats at Wilson and Cumberland Valley.

As it turns out, Delone didn't need any excuses during a standout postseason that included a York-Adams League runner-up finish and a District 3 Class 2-A championship.

For the Squirettes to be back in the PIAA Class 2-A semifinals for a second year in a row says a lot about the character and mettle of Leppo's club. To Leppo, it showed resiliency, especially when his team was backed up against the proverbial wall.

Delone Catholic's Tessa Beauchat dives for a return against Holy Redeemer during the Class 2-A state semifinal at Exeter Township High School Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.  Bill Kalina photo

That mettle was tested pretty good Tuesday night against District 2 champ Holy Redeemer. After dropping Sets 2 and 3, the Squirettes were again up against the wall. After evening the match by winning Set 4, the Delone girls had a chance to return to the state final once more.

It just didn’t happen.

The Royals seized momentum early in Set 5 and never let it go. Holy Redeemer claimed a 23-25, 25-13, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10 triumph.

Leave it to Leppo to sum it up best.

“The clock just struck midnight,” the Delone coach said. “When you keep putting yourselves up in those back-against-the-wall situations, that’s tough.”

Delone Catholic's Maddie Clabaugh fires a shot past Holy Redeemer's Livia Moore, left, and Sarah Liskowicz during the Class 2-A state semifinal at Exeter Township High School Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.  Bill Kalina photo

Holy Redeemer’s big duo of Skylar Osenkarski and Sarah Liskowicz provided lots of trouble defensively for Delone. But balance was also an issue, with the Redeemer girls able to keep the Delone girls guessing.

“This was a much bigger game of runs than normal side-out ball,” Leppo said. “But I think that tends to happen more at this time of year when teams start to rely on their horses a little bit more.”

That was true of the Squirettes, who got big nights from junior standouts Brooke Lawyer (12 kills) and Maddie Clabaugh (15 kills). The Royals were just able to get more from their role players, which made a big difference.

“They are able to set a couple of different people,” Leppo said. “And we knew it was going to be a tough match-up.”

From left, Delone Catholic's Katie Kohler, Tessa Beauchat and Allie Colgan react from the bench during the fifth game against Holy Redeemer during the Class 2-A state semifinal at Exeter Township High School Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. Delone would lose the game and the match. Bill Kalina photo

The Royals, who fell to Delone in five sets earlier this season, were also able to control the middle and their first-contacts much better than in the previous showdown.

“We needed to serve, pass and control first-contact,” Leppo said. “When we did we were in good shape, but when we didn’t … I don’t think we got a quality swing until the fourth or fifth point.”

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.