WEST YORK — West York girls’ volleyball coach Joe Ramp gave his team to about the three-quarter mark of the season to find its way.
The first time the defending PIAA Class 3-A state champion Bulldogs met rival York Suburban this season, they were only at the half-way point.
Thursday, in the second of two York-Adams League Division II clashes with the state-ranked Trojans, the Bulldogs were finally where Ramp expected his team to be.
Even against a team such as Suburban, which was ranked sixth in 3-A in the last Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association state poll, the Bulldogs proved to be the class of area once more.
Playing in the school’s Dig Pink game, with funds raised for cancer research, the West York girls claimed a decisive 3-0 triumph over their rivals. The match scores were 25-16, 25-23, 25-21.
The triumph sewed up the Division II title for the Bulldogs (18-1 overall, 14-0 D-II) for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Suburban fell to 14-3 and 12-2.
“I gave them three-quarters of the year to get their stuff in order,” Ramp said. “Even though we won tonight, it’s still a work in progress.”
Ramp pointed to Monday’s victory over a Lower Dauphin side that pushed the Bulldogs to five sets as an example that his talented side still needs to improve.
“We weren’t ready and we weren’t prepared,” Ramp said of the 3-2 victory over LD. “We just thought that we could roll in there and dominate. And I fore-warned them that LD is a very good team. That was one of the matches that I had on my calendar where I thought that we could lose.”
Thomas shines: Playing a big game on their home court against a YS team that nearly upset them earlier in the season seemed to bring out the best in the West York players.
Especially two-time all-state standout Tesia Thomas.
Thomas, who is known for her thunderous kills and blocks, showcased perhaps the most underrated side of her skill set Thursday. Not known as an especially outstanding server, Thomas gave the Suburban girls more than they could handle from the back line throughout the night.
Thomas served a team-high 18 times while recording a pair of aces. It was one of the best performances from his senior that Ramp could recall.
“She had a pretty aggressive serve last year,” Ramp said. “But this year it kind of went away. Tonight I just kept reminding her to take her time and not rush it and that’s what she did tonight. She did a fantastic job.”
Thomas, per usual, was dominant at the net, leading the Bulldogs with 18 kills. But even she was most pleased by her service game that has come a long way this year.
“Yes,” Thomas said with a big smile when asked if she agreed with her coach’s take on her service game Thursday.
Thomas gave credit for her improvement at the service line to her teammate, Kambrie Hepler. It was Hepler, the team’s vocal libero, who turned the tide for the WY girls in their 3-2 victory over Suburban a few weeks ago.
“In practice coach Joe will have me serve at (Kambrie),” Thomas said. “And it’s helped.”
Getting more comfortable: While Hepler, Thomas and Alayna Harris have been the most visible parts of West York’s success this year, the play from lesser-known players was noticeable Thursday. Georgianna Kahley, M.J. Rupp and Amya Jones each performed markedly better Thursday than they did earlier in the season.
“We’re a lot more comfortable with each other,” said Thomas, who will spend this weekend taking an official visit as a track-and-field recruit at the University of Iowa. “We all trust each other more and our level of consistency is getting there. And we’ve gotten better at learning from our mistakes and getting over them a lot quicker than we did earlier this year.”
More battles vs. Suburban may be looming: Thursday’s victory may not be the last time the Bulldogs see the Trojans this season. A potential rematch in the league playoffs next week is a possibility. If not, a clash in the District 3 or PIAA playoffs could certainly be in the cards as well.
Despite holding two wins over the Trojans this season, Ramp is hoping his fifth-ranked squad in the PVCA rankings will get a reprieve.
“We could see them again next week,” Ramp said. “And then maybe in districts and in states. But, quite frankly, I don’t want to see them ever again because it’s a dogfight every single time we play them.”
OTHER GIRLS' VOLLEYBALL
Spring Grove 3, Dallastown 0: At Dallastown, the Rockets won the York-Adams Division I match, 25-19, 25-20, 25-15. Hailey Wolfe led the Rockets with six kills and 11 digs. Also for the Rockets, Maddie Ruhland had 22 assists, five aces and four digs; Kaylyn Zeigler had nine digs and four kills; and Nevaeh Wolfe had seven digs and three assists. For the Wildcats, Syd Ohl had 10 kills and 11 digs, Abby Herbert had 18 digs and Lexy Bloss had eight kills. Spring Grove finished divisional play at 7-5 and improved to 13-5 overal, while Dallastown finished at 8-4 in D-I and fell to 13-6 overall.
South Western 3, Elizabethtown 0: At Elizabethtown, the Mustangs cruised to the nonleague triumph, 25-18, 25-19, 25-17. The South Western stat leaders were Jacy Crouse (35 assists, eight digs), Ali St Rose (19 kills, 11 digs), Makayla Dyson (13 digs), Emma Filipovits (eight kills, seven digs) and Kirby Meyer (six aces, nine digs). South Western is 14-2.
New Oxford 3, Kennard-Dale 0: At Fawn Grove, the Colonials won the York-Adams Division II match, 25-16, 25-8, 25-14. Torrin Kelley led the Colonials with 29 assists, five aces and three kills. Also for the Colonials, Devyn Kelley had nine kills and four digs, while Morgan Adams and Lilly Anderson each had eight kills. New Oxford finishes divisional play at 8-6 and improves to 10-8 overall.
Delone Catholic 3, York Tech 0: Delone rolled to a 25-7, 25-8, 25-11 victory to earn a share of the York-Adams Division III title with York Catholic. Delone improved to 14-2 overall and 11-1 in the division. Delone's stat leaders were Deanna Klunk (11 assists), Maddie Clabaugh (seven kills), Katie Kohler (seven assists), Brooke Lawyer (six kills, three digs) and Olivia Snyder (11 assists).
Central York 3, Red Lion 0: The Panthers wrapped up the York-Adams Division I championship with the victory. Central is now 12-1 overall and finished 11-1 in the division. Red Lion fell to 3-12 and 3-9. The Panthers are No. 2 in the latest District 3 Class 4-A power ratings. Hempfield (14-0) is No. 1. Hempfield is No. 5 in the state in 4-A by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.