DALLASTOWN – Ever since the PIAA moved to four classifications in girls’ volleyball, there were whispers around District 3 regarding the 2-A classification.
The prediction among coaches and fans alike was that the 2-A district title would likely either be won by parochial rivals Delone Catholic or York Catholic.
The York-Adams League rivals have continually been among the best small-school teams in the area over the past handful of seasons.
The logic, or so it seemed, was sound.
Trinity coach John Barrick, however, had other ideas.
Since taking over the program nine years ago, Barrick’s No. 1 priority was to get his squad into a position to get the better of Delone and York Catholic.
Turns out that time was Saturday afternoon at Dallastown High School.
Taking on the Squirettes for the 2-A district crown, the Shamrocks survived an early Delone barrage in Set 1, made an adjustment with its block at the net, and then surprisingly cruised to a convincing 25-23, 25-19, 25-15 triumph.
The loss ended the season for the defending 2-A district champs. It also marked the first-ever District 3 title for the Shamrocks (20-1), who will move on to the PIAA tournament next week.
“When I took this program over nine years ago, beating a program like Delone was the bar that we had to get to,” Barrick said. “Delone is as good as anyone in the state and it took us nine years, but we finally got there.”
The Trinity defense was simply outstanding, especially after rallying back to claim Set 1. The balls that Delone seniors Maddie Clabaugh and Brooke Lawyer put away previously – Barrick estimated those two combined for 47 kills during Delone’s 3-2 victory over Trinity in the regular season — were suddenly finding hands at the net, digs in the back row or, even worse, sailing wide outside of the lines.
“We strategized to switch up our middle in between the middle and the weak side just to give them something to think about,” Barrick said.
Clabaugh (16) and Lawyer (11) had to earn their kills, with the duo combining for 27 on the night. Those two, however, also finished with a combined 13 errors.
“I thought that their block was really solid,” Delone coach Jason Leppo said of the Shamrocks. “I think they just made plays and that’s ultimately what decided it.”
Saturday’s contest had a similar start to the one these two sides experienced a month ago during the regular season. In that first showdown, the Shamrocks won the first two sets only for the Squirettes (18-3) to finally find their rhythm en route to an impressive come-from-behind effort.
Leppo was hoping for something similar after Set 2 left his team trailing 2-0 again. Unfortunately, this time there was no magical comeback for the Squirettes.
“I think they played their best match of the year,” Leppo said. “And when you do that for all three sets, at this time of the year you’re usually in trouble.”
The memories of that first match proved to be a valuable lesson for Barrick’s squad in the rematch.
“In the first match, the girls just said that they kind of thought that they had them beat,” he said. “And they just eased up so that was a really, big-time learning lesson for us.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.