Central York, Northeastern set for rematch in York-Adams boys' volleyball final
The Panthers and Bobcats each won their league semifinal matches Monday, setting up a second meeting in less than a week.
DALLASTOWN — It was only a few days ago when the Northeastern and Central York boys’ volleyball teams squared off in the York-Adams League regular season finale.
Unsurprisingly, however, the two backyard rivals will meet up for showdown No. 2 on Tuesday evening in the York-Adams League playoff final.
The Panthers swept their way past a very game York Catholic side (25-21, 25-21, 25-18), while the Bobcats found their groove after a slow start en route to a four-set victory over York Suburban (21-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-14) in Monday's semifinals.
Panther prowess: After Thursday’s five-set win over Northeastern, the Panthers showed a little bit of rust against a York Catholic team that entered the night ranked No. 7 in Class 2A in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association rankings.
Not enough, however, for the first-year Y-A program to pull off what would have been a shocking upset.
“It’s tougher when we don’t have a day of practice,” Central York co-coach Landon Shorts said. “We practiced Saturday, but didn’t do anything Sunday and we just had a little serve-pass before the game today just to get things rolling. We certainly had to get rid of some rust.”
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The Irish definitely took the Panthers to task in all three sets, but the size and skill of the Central York side ultimately won out.
“We did a much better job of blocking tonight than we did against them earlier in the season,” York Catholic coach Phil Autrey said. “And we battled back all night and gave ourselves a chance. They’re a phenomenal team. They are big and pass super well. Their passing average was really high and, for a team that runs their type of offense, that’s difficult to beat.”
The Panthers, however, got a real test of their might on a night in which nearly the entire league was watching.
“Yeah, we had some dull points there at time,” Central's Mason Boyer said. “But we really brought it back and picked up our energy at those points and were able to recover.”
Boyer was one of the catalysts at those points, as the outside hitter smashed home a team-best 14 kills in the triumph.
“I feel that we keep getting better and better every match,” Boyer said. “We practice hard in the gym and we just keep that same attitude when we come out and play a game.”
Along with his 14 kills, Boyer also tallied two blocks and three aces in the victory. Christian Bucks finished with 10 kills, while Trevor Ketrick tallied five kills and two blocks. Setter Lance Shaffer finished with 34 assists to go along with nine digs.
Luke Forjan finished with 10 kills and three aces for the Irish, while John Forjan dished out 22 assists to go with an ace and a kill.
“This was a great experience for us,” Autrey said. “First time in the league and making counties is a big achievement. Super proud of how the guys played and handled themselves.”
Starring substitute: It’s hard to take the luster off a York Suburban vs. Northeastern clash, but both sides were missing key players in their showdown Monday night.
The Trojans were without 6-foot-3 middle hitter Jackson Bryant, who has been sidelined for the past few weeks, while playing the first set Monday without starting setter Luis Montalvo, who was on the bench. While it wasn’t clear why Montalvo didn’t play in Set 1, the senior did play to begin the second set and remained on the court from that point on.
And the Bobcats were without one of their big outside attackers in Zach Kilpatrick, who suffered an injury over the weekend to his right hand, which was in a protective casing.
“He shattered his pinkie during mini-Thon,” Northeastern libero Gavin Meador said of Kilpatrick. “The volleyball guys were just messing around in the gym and he went up to block and it went off his finger wrong. It kind of just snapped and shattered, so he’s out for the rest of the season.”
Despite Kilpatrick's absence, the Bobcats were able to gain a rhythm by swapping out one Zach with another. And Zach Trexler stepped up and filled in adequately, which didn’t shock Meador or his teammates one bit.
“Zach (Trexler) was just phenomenal tonight,” Meador said. “I don’t think there were a lot of expectations from him as he was coming off the bench for one of the first times all season, but we made up for what we were missing without (Kilpatrick) tonight. He brought some energy for sure.”
While missing a player the caliber of Kilpatrick is not a great way to go into a showdown with an arch-rival like Central, Meador doesn’t believe that his loss will hinder the Bobcats from gaining a measure of revenge for last week’s setback — Northeastern's only loss of the regular season.
“We just have to hustle and want the ball more,” Meador said. “I don’t think that we really wanted it more than them and it showed in the first two sets. We brought it back in the next two sets, but kind of flamed out in the fifth. It’s going to matter just how much we want it (Tuesday).”
Koltrin Forry finished with a team-high 13 kills for the Bobcats while Hugh Rogers finished with 11. Trexler chipped in six kills while setters Tyler Finch and Chase Almes combined for 43 assists in the triumph.
Nathan Efiom-Ekaha led Suburban with 12 kills, while Matthew Torres added 11 for the Trojans. Montalvo finished with 28 assists, while Connor Hayes tallied seven assists in Set 1.