The beauty of the West York girls’ volleyball team this season was not in the fact that the Bulldogs had one singular superstar to rely on.
Instead the York-Adams League champs were so dominant due to the cumulative effect of many different standouts playing together as a unit.
One could point to the two West York seniors — outside attacker Kate Tate and setter Trilby Kite — as potential Player of the Year candidates. Tate finished second on the team with 263 kills while Kite dished out 814 assists for the season.
Others such as Gianna Krinock, Alayna Harris and Taylor Morley, who served off seven points in a row when West York was down 24-18 in Set 4 of the PIAA Class 3-A semifinals against Allentown Central Catholic, all proved invaluable at times as the Bulldogs claimed the Division II and league playoff titles.
While all of those would have likely been consensus-type picks, it was someone who only played organized volleyball for a little more than a year that claimed the top honor as sophomore standout Tesia Thomas was named the Player of the Year in Division II. The athletically-gifted and talented middle hitter finished with 278 kills, 76 blocks and 41 aces for a Bulldog squad that finished with a 27-3 record.
In addition to Thomas, Central York senior Marley Anderson was named the Division I Player of the Year while Delone Catholic senior Chloe Kindig was named the Division III Player of the Year.
West York head coach Joe Ramp hadn’t yet heard the news about Thomas when he was reached by phone Tuesday, Nov. 21. He, however, figured that one of his outstanding group of attackers would win the honor.
“Tesia and Kate had a battle to lead the team in kills, which I enjoyed,” Ramp said.
Ramp pointed out the quick improvement that Thomas made this year compared to last as something to behold. Used only as a front-row attacker as a freshman, Thomas learned to serve and play the back row this season.
“Yeah, we kind of opened up the playbook for her a little more once she was able to understand all of the different positions,” Ramp said. “As she grows with the game, we give her a little bit more leeway with things to do.”
Expanding Thomas' game: One thing that Thomas has shown almost instantaneously since she started playing in the summer of 2016 was to put balls away. With the ability to jump over a foot above the net, Thomas proved to be a difficult player to block last year as a freshman. This season she stepped it up to another level by leading the club in kills, despite nearly 300 less opportunities than Tate.
“Last year we were just more worried about getting her used to the varsity level,” Ramp said. “This year she was putting balls away and getting blocks, which is an area that she improved upon tremendously. And on top of that, her serve was a deadly serve when it was on.”
If Thomas was this good as just a sophomore, what can Ramp and others expect with another year of experience under her belt?
“Next year,” Ramp said before chuckling at the mere thought of Thomas’ potential. “Just to open up the playbook even more. Get her in the back row and let her play all the way around.”
Anderson shines defensively: While Thomas was a threat offensively, Anderson was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
As the Panthers libero this year, Anderson proved invaluable for a Central York squad that claimed the Division I title.
Panther head coach Nate Ocasio has coached a ton of outstanding attackers over his nearly decade-long tenure at Central. This year’s club, however, relied much more on defense to win matches. And, defensively, it all starts with the libero in the back row.
“First thing, Marley was our rock in our serve-receive,” Ocasio said. “She is a very good athlete with incredible body control and balance which is why I think she was so efficient and exceptional.”
For a libero to be named as the Player of the Year speaks volumes about Anderson and her importance to the team according to Ocasio.
“Everyone looks at the offense for these things,” he said. “So for someone who doesn’t really wow the crowd with booming kills, I think is pretty cool.”
Kindig top player on state runner-ups: Kindig, a setter, proved a key cog in Delone’s highly successful season.
The Squirette senior dished out 435 assists while registering 75 kills, 50 aces, 162 digs and nine blocks for a Delone team that won the Division III title, District 3 2-A crown and reached the PIAA Class 2-A championship contest where they fell to Freeport.
York-Adams League girls' volleyball all-stars
Player of the Year: Marley Anderson - Central York
Madisyn McMaster - South Western
Ali. St. Rose - South Western
Tatiana Matuszewski - Dallastown
Alexa Shorts - Central York
Emily Wilt - Central York
Emma Davis - Dover
Delaney Kolb - Dallastown
Abby Diehl - Dover
Kendra Miller - Spring Grove
Chayce Hoffman - Dover
Faith Shaffer - Spring Grove
MacKenna Caruso - Central York
Lydia Stump - Dallastown
Kaylynn Zeigler - Spring Grove
Madelyn Grimm - Red Lion
Airika McCaskill - Spring Grove
Taylor Laughman - New Oxford
Gabby Ream - Dallastown
Player of the Year: Tesia Thomas - West York
Trilby Kite - West York
Chey Buckingham - York Suburban
Brooke LaCesa - Eastern York
Lauren Guyer - York Suburban
Ali Reinecker - York Suburban
Sammi Faloon - Gettysburg
Eryn McBride - York Suburban
Kate Tate - West York
Tess Lampe - Gettysburg
Alexis Stouffer - Gettysburg
Kambrie Hepler - West York
Alexis Tomassini - Gettysburg
Amber Bortner - Susquehannock
Jaden Walker - Susquehannock
Player of the Year: Chloe Kindig - Delone Catholic
Autumn Altland - Delone Catholic
McKenna Walker - York Catholic
Emily Staub - Littlestown
Abby Pilkey - York Catholic
Hanna Riley - Littlestown
Maddie Claybaugh - Delone Catholic
Megan Daugherty - York Catholic
Emily Hoffman - York Catholic
Gena Eiker - Fairfield
Jacqui Fisher - Bermudian Springs
Bella Kepner - York Catholic
Jess Dunbar - Littlestown
Lauren Trummer - Delone Catholic
Hailey Madara - Bermudian Springs
Ally Montour - Hanover
Kelsey Farver - Fairfield
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com