RED LION — One thing is clear after the Dallastown-Red Lion girls’ volleyball battle on Tuesday, Sept. 5 — when these two squads face off in the future, the contest will likely be a little different.
Meeting in the York-Adams Division I opener for both teams, the rivals had a natural feeling-out process. There were a fair number of missed serves, errant passes and mental miscues.
Neither side particularly dominated play until an unfortunate leg injury suffered by Red Lion senior Autumn Zeplo in Game 3. Zeplo’s injury, which forced her to be carried off the court, seemed to turn the tide in the favor of the visiting Wildcats, who claimed a 25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 25-17 triumph.
“I think the injury was a game-changer, which was so unfortunate,” Dallastown coach Shannon Werner said. “I think that if that was my team, we probably would have just fell apart. But I thought (Red Lion) did a very good job of coming together and trying to work through it.”
Even experienced clubs go through struggles without a key member of the rotation. Besides her play on the court, however, Zeplo brings senior leadership and enthusiasm that is hard to replace.
“Autumn is a natural leader for us,” Red Lion coach Heather Schoemaker said. “She’s played on varsity for the last three seasons. She is a part of the gel that brings us all together. Autumn is an amazing asset for this team”
Schoemaker, who led her team to York-Adams Division I, league playoff and District 3 4-A titles last year, refused to used Zeplo’s absence as an excuse.
“Every single player, both on and off the court, does a nice job as a leader,” she said. “We talk about leadership. So even if a player unfortunately gets hurt or not, we should be (OK).”
The contest was a contrast in trajectories for the two programs. The Lions will have to regroup with a new core of players after losing a handful of all-stars from last year’s title squad. Dallastown, on the other hand, has been building up to this time with a squad looking to gain prominence in Division I.
Part of the reason that the Wildcats were considered favorites in the preseason is their front line. With towering attackers Tatianna Matuszewski and Delaney Kolb, as well as Lydia Stump, Dallastown has perhaps the most formidable front of any team in the league.
Stump and Matuszewski led the way with nine kills each, while Kolb finished with eight. Matuszewski added eight aces and a block, while setter Gabby Ream dished out 22 assists.
“I give kudos to Shannon,” Schoemaker said. “She has a wonderful lineup and a great group of kids who are completely hard hitters.”
Schoemaker did reserve judgment on the entire season based on just one game.
“I still think Division I will be up for grabs,” she said. “We’ll have to wait to see who takes it at the end.”
Werner, meanwhile, likes what she’s seen so far from her group. She pointed to what could be a season-defining stretch in the team’s 3-1 victory against West Chester Henderson Saturday, Sept. 2, as evidence.
“We were down 7-18 at one point and we came back and won,” she said. “That just shows how resilient my team is this year.”
Red Lion’s attack was led by Sophie Guthrie, who finished with five kills. Madelyn Grim and Makenna Michael added three apiece, while Grim added 13 assists.
West York 3, Susquehannock 0: At Glen Rock, the Bulldogs won the match, 25-20, 25-18, 25-17. It was a meeting of the top two teams in York-Adams Division II from a season ago. For the Warriors, Jaden Walker led the home team with 14 digs and six kills. Also for Susquehannock, Emily Sweitzer had nine assists and five digs, while Amber Bortner had 20 digs. No statistics were provided for the Bulldogs. West York won the JV match, 2-1.
Gettysburg 3, Kennard-Dale 0: At Gettysburg, the Warriors won the match, 25-16, 25-15, 25-21. Sammi Faloon led the home team with 15 kills and seven digs. Teammate Tess Lampe had four kills, four digs and three aces. For the Rams, Jess Moore had four assists and three aces, Jaden Gray had three kills and Lexie Kopko had three blocks. Gettysburg won the JV match, 2-0.
York Catholic 3, York Tech 0: At York Catholic, the Irish won, 25-6, 25-7, 25-9. Megan Daugherty led the Irish with eight assists and three aces. Also for the Irish, Julia Yanick had five kills and three aces, Ellen Burns had three kills and Emily Hoffman had five assists. No Spartans statistics were available. York Catholic won the JV match, 2-0.
Northeastern 3, York High 0: At York High, the Bobcats won the match, 25-7, 25-18, 25-18. Ashley Klinger led the Bobcats with seven kills. Also for Northeastern, Madysen Mann had three kills and three aces, Natalie Marti had 22 assists and Sekayla Richardson had three kills and three digs. For the Bearcats, Krishna Ortiz had three aces, while Jae Fitch had three kills. Northeastern won the JV match, 2-0.
York Suburban 3, Eastern York 1: At Suburban, the Trojans won the match, 25-14, 24-26, 25-19, 25-16. Cheyanna Buckingham led the Trojans with 13 kills and five blocks. Also for Suburban, Lauren Guyer had 30 assists and 16 digs, Ali Reinecker had seven kills and nine digs and Eryn McBride had 15 digs. For the Knights, Brooke LeCesa had 12 kills and seven digs, Katie Lehman 18 assists and five digs and Abby Smith had three kills. Suburban won the JV match 2-0.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.