South Western girls' volleyball storms back to upset Dallastown in five sets

The Mustangs dropped the first two sets, but won the last three for a thrilling victory.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch
Dallastown against Southwestern during their girls volleyball match in Dallastown on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

DALLASTOWN – After her South Western girls’ volleyball team dropped the first two sets against Dallastown Thursday evening, Mustangs coach Cathy Harman decided to share a story with her club.

“I talked to them about pole vaulting,” Harman said.


“My daughter did the pole vault when she was in high school,” Harman explained. “And with the pole vault, you get three attempts at each height. Now, my daughter usually made it on the first attempt, but if she missed, she still had two more tries.”

With that, the focus turned to Thursday’s volleyball contest.

“I asked them, ‘why do they give you three tries?” Harman said. “If you miss the first two, you still have a chance.”

Harman's Mustangs, despite falling behind two sets to none against the hottest team in the York-Adams League, were not defeated. Sure enough, starting with a 10-1 run to begin the third set, the Mustangs escaped the jaws of defeat by rallying back to sweep the final three sets for an improbable 11-25, 13-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-13 triumph.

“Just because you lost two, let’s make this (next one) Game 1,” Harman said. “Let’s forget about the first two, let’s win the next three.”

As unlikely as it sounded, Harman’s pep talk found the mark. After sloppy play all around through the first two sets, the Mustangs regrouped, rebounded and responded. Missed serves that constantly hindered the Mustangs in the first two set were kept to a minimum. The Wildcats often had difficulty with their serve-receive, which limited effective attacks. And South Western took advantage.

“Something gave us momentum and it was just like that,” Harman said. “We didn’t change anything (after Set 2) other than I stopped calling spots, because when I did, they were in the net. So, I just basically said ‘you need to get this sucker in’.”

Once that momentum kicked in for the Mustangs (8-3 overall, 5-3 York-Adams Division I), the Wildcats were helpless to counter it.

“The first two sets, we played really good,” Dallastown coach Joe Ramp said. “We were playing Dallastown volleyball, we were in system, and then all of a sudden the third set happened and maybe we were a little too comfortable? I don’t like when the kids get comfortable.”

Coming off the heels of an upset loss Tuesday against Red Lion, the South Western girls could ill afford to fall further behind the Wildcats (13-4, 7-2) in the Division I standings as well as the District 3 Class 4A power rankings.

“The quick start in Set 3 definitely gave us the momentum,” Mustangs senior Kaitlyn Grempler said. “And that was definitely the one thing we needed to win.”

Grempler, who finished with 10 kills and two aces in the victory, was the one to finish things off in Set 5. After seeing a 14-9 lead shrink to 14-13, Grempler took charge by smashing the match winner crosscourt before her teammates mobbed her.

“After the loss to Red Lion, I think we dropped to No. 10 (in the power rankings),” Grempler said. “And we didn’t want to drop any further since we still have two big matches with Central (York, first place at 7-1, 7-1) and Spring Grove (9-4, 5-3) next week.”

Lilly Sullivan finished with a team-high 16 kills for the Mustangs, while Jayda Lichty added 10 in the triumph. Libero Maddie Hickman finished with 32 digs, while Grempler tallied 27 to pace the defense.