DALLASTOWN – Playing with emotion is a double-edged sword in high school sports.
Many times, when the emotions are built on positive energy, the results can be great.
When they are built on negative energy, however, it's often a different story.
Such is the case for the Central York girls’ volleyball team.
The ebbs and flows of emotion often roll off the sleeves of the Panthers. When things are going well, the CY girls are nearly unstoppable. But when a call or play goes the other way, that can sometimes lead to trouble.
Saturday’s District 3 Class 4-A final against unbeaten Hempfield showcased those different plateaus. The Panthers were filled with positive energy in Set 2 and Set 3 to take the lead on the Black Knights. A few calls that went against them in Set 4, however, set the stage for a bittersweet setback.
The Hempfield girls stormed out to a big lead in Set 4 before hanging on. That momentum carried into the fifth set and the CY girls were unable to break their funk in a 25-18, 21-25, 29-31, 25-23, 15-9 loss.
“They just outplayed us,” Central York senior Eve Brink said. “We did everything that we could, but, in the end, it was really tough.”
The Panthers trailed almost entirely in Set 4, but drew to within 18-17 and 24-23 late. On each occasion, the top-seeded CY girls (15-2) couldn’t find a way to get back on a roll.
“We definitely get into slumps,” Brink said. “And we have trouble first-ball siding out. It’s either the passing or the hitting or sometimes it’s both. Usually we can do it in the end, but sometimes we aren’t able to do it fast enough.”
It was the second title match in two weeks for Central York that had a similar ending. The Panthers couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead in the York-Adams League title match against Dallastown before falling.
“In Set 4, I thought we had it,” Brink said. “We had all the momentum after Set 3 and we really played like a team during that set. But in Set 5, I think they really just outplayed us.”
Middle hitter Sydnie Johnson led the Panthers with 20 kills while Jenna Arganbright added 10 more.
The good news for the Panthers is that they will live on to play another day. CY will get the No. 3 seed from District 1, Downingtown East, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dallastown High School when PIAA action begins.
Brink and her teammates, while obviously disappointed, remain optimistic about the next two weeks.
“I really thought this was our year,” she said. “And I still do think this is our year. We’ve made it really far … farther than other (CY) teams have in the past. We’re all really close and I think that’s what makes us a really strong team.”
Second-seeded Hempfield improved to 19-0.
West York 3, Berks Catholic 1: At York, the Bulldogs qualified for the PIAA Class 3-A state playoffs with the win in the District 3 Class 3-A third-place match.
West York improved to 21-2, while Berks Catholic finished at 15-4.
In the first round of the state playoffs on Tuesday, West York will face District 11 champion Southern Lehigh at Catasaqua High School at 5:30 p.m. West York is the defending PIAA Class 3-A state champion. West York is ranked No. 5 in the state in 3-A this season by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association. Southern Lehigh is ranked No. 4.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.