York Catholic boys' volleyball starts pivotal week with sweep of Linville Hill Christian

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

This week is shaping up to be a pivotal stretch for the York Catholic boys’ volleyball team. With key York-Adams League showdowns against Dallastown and Red Lion looming, the Irish hosted Linville Hill Christian in a non-league tilt Monday evening.

Both York Catholic and Linville Hill came into the night entrenched in District 3 Class 2A playoff positions, so the clash gave the Irish a chance to measure up to a team they may see during the district tournament. It also afforded the YC boys a chance to erase the disappointment of nearly upsetting Y-A leader Northeastern last week, a match in which York Catholic forced the Bobcats to five sets before falling.

Not even a delayed start time could throw off coach Phil Autrey and his squad Monday. Led by a great serving night from Luke Forjan — eight kills and four aces the Irish rolled past the Warriors, sweeping the visitors from Lancaster County by a 25-17, 25-7, 25-14 margin.

York Catholic's Luke Forjan (10) agaisnt Northeastern during their boys volleyball match in Manchester on Thursday, Apr. 27, 2023.

While Forjan dominated particularly with his jump-serve, it wasn’t a great start for the Irish senior outside attacker.

“Luke started off the match a little slow,” Autrey said. “I had to give him some extra encouragement.”

York Catholic improved to 12-3 with the victory, while Linville Hill dropped to 9-3.

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Six of the first seven Warrior points were a result of YC errors, resulting in a 7-7 score that forced Autrey to use a timeout. Shortly after that, Autrey could be heard yelling at Forjan to "stop being their best player."

“The Forjans (Luke and John) have been through worse,” Autrey said with a laugh. “They’ve both had tougher coaches in basketball.”

Northeastern against York Catholic during their boys volleyball match in Manchester on Thursday, Apr. 27, 2023.

Luke Forjan certainly got the message when he toed the service line in Set 1. His booming serve proved to be a struggle for the Linville Hill serve-receive to handle. His early run put the Irish up in Set 1, while his second run in Set 2 netted the YC boys a cool eight straight points.

“His serve has improved a lot,” Autrey said of Luke Forjan. “He actually didn’t do it to start the year. He did it (two years ago) as a sophomore, but he’s now stronger and more mature physically so he can control it a little bit more.”

Forjan’s run in Set 2 gave Autrey an opportunity to play some of his bench throughout the rest of the night. That included a couple of fellow York Catholic boys’ basketball players in Joe and Jacob Mountain. In total, a majority of Autrey’s varsity roster includes players from the basketball team, including the Forjans as well as outside attacker Brady Walker.

Some of the skills in basketball are similar to volleyball, especially at the net with regards to tips and blocks. Having so many basketball players has been a plus for Autrey, although the coach still sounded a bit miffed that he was unable to persuade Jake Dallas, who led the Irish in scoring, to put off playing AAU to join the volleyball team.

“He’s too into basketball,” Autrey said. “I tried, but I think he’s on two AAU basketball teams. His mom actually played volleyball in college and she tried, but he’s all basketball.”

If the Irish (7-2 in the Y-A) hope to earn one of four league playoff berths in a few weeks, they’ll need to bring their A-game Tuesday and Thursday against Dallastown and Red Lion, both of whom are also 7-2 in the league. York Suburban is also 7-2, although one of the Trojans' losses was at the hands of the Irish a few weeks ago.

Northeastern leads the league with an 8-0 mark and faces Red Lion on Tuesday, while Central York is in second place at 7-1.

“Right now, we control our own fate for counties,” said Autrey. “But Dallastown is really good and that’s going to be a tough match.”

Nick Moir finished with six kills and two aces, while Walker tallied three kills and three aces in Monday's sweep. Setter John Forjan dished out 19 assists to go along with four digs for the Irish.