York Suburban girls win clash of volleyball powers, claim first league title since 1977

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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  • York Suburban won the York-Adams League girls' volleyball crown on Tuesday.
  • The Trojans grabbed a 3-1 victory over Spring Grove at Dallastown.
  • Both teams entered the match unbeaten and ranked among the best 3-A teams in the state.
York Suburban's Grace Hare, center left, and Eliana Rodgers, center right, celebrate their team's York-Adams League girls' volleyball championship win over Spring Grove at Dallastown Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Central took the title with a 3-1 victory. Bill Kalina photo

DALLASTOWN – It was a long time coming, in more ways than one.

The eagerly-anticipated showdown between York County's girls’ volleyball unbeatens finally happened Tuesday evening, when York Suburban clashed with Spring Grove in the York-Adams League title match at Dallastown High School.

The Rockets entered the night as the top-ranked team in the state in Class 3-A, according to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association. The Trojans, who advanced to the state semifinals a season ago, weren’t far behind in that same poll, coming in at No. 3.

After the teams split the first two sets, the Suburban girls showcased why state rankings don't mean a whole lot at this time of the year.

The Trojans took charge midway through Set 3 before cruising in Set 4 to claim a 25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 25-14 victory.

“This is amazing,” Suburban senior Eliana Rodgers said. “The best feeling ever.”

Ending a long league title drought: The triumph earned Suburban its first league title since 1977. Despite being one of the premier programs in the league for the past decade or so, the Trojans were never able to claim the mantle as league champions — until now.

If last year’s league tournament had been held, the Trojans (now 20-0 this season) might be the two-time champions right now. Last year's event, however, was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suburban, however, did win the District 3 3-A title a year ago, a run that included a victory over the Rockets (20-1) in the semifinals.

“Yeah, you have to wonder what would have happened last year,” Suburban coach Sonia Guyer said. “But that’s OK … safety first.”

Too many errors for Rockets: The Trojans rode a big night from Rodgers (22 kills, 21 digs) to get past a Spring Grove side that struggled for a second night in a row. The Rockets were pushed to five sets by York Catholic in the semifinals Monday.

“I don’t think that mattered that much,” Spring Grove coach Liz Zeigler said. “I just looked at the stats and we had 24 hitting errors, which is almost an entire set. That really doesn’t help, especially when you’re playing a caliber of team like Suburban.”

Team effort for Trojans: Guyer gave credit to her entire lineup for staying focused on the grand stage. Her team handled the ups and downs of the match like a team that has been in big matches before.

“We just focused on the point,” she said. “And when that one is over, you just focus on the next one. The girls really trusted themselves and knew what they needed to do.”

Rodgers agreed.

“We knew they were a very good team and were capable of coming back at any time so we had to stay on top of them and put it away,” she said. “We just played like we knew how we could.”

Moving forward: Despite Tuesday's outcome, the Rockets will still enter the District 3 3-A draw as the No. 1 seed, with the Trojans taking No. 2. Tuesday's contest didn't count in the district power ratings that determined the seedings.

Zeigler’s message to her team after the setback was simple — it’s time to move on.

“Counties doesn’t really mean anything right now,” she said. “It would have been nice to leave with a gold medal, but it isn’t do-or-die. Moving forward we just need to have a better mindset.”

Both sides will have a day to prepare for Thursday’s first-round district matches. More time to recuperate might be nice, especially after the Rockets played nine sets the last two nights, while the Trojans played eight. Still, the benefit of being seeded in the top two affords both programs the chance to host every district game up until the final.

Spring Grove will host No. 16 Schuylkill Valley on Thursday, while Suburban will host No. 15 Big Spring. Both matches are slated for 7 p.m. starts.

Stats: Zoe Haines finished with 13 kills for the Trojans while Makenna Stockton added nine. Setter Grace Hare dished out 38 assists to go with 10 digs.

Hailey and Neveah Wolfe led the Rockets in kills. Hailey finished with 15 while Neveah tallied 11. McKenzie Boyer finished with eight kills, while setter Maddie Ruhland tallied 38 assists in the setback.

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