Central York boys' volleyball sweeps Northeastern for emotional league title

Four months after the death of beloved coach Todd Goodling, the Panthers won their first York-Adams League tournament since 2017.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

DALLASTOWN — Moments after his Central York boys’ volleyball captured the York-Adams League tournament championship over Northeastern in three sets (30-28, 25-17, 25-23), Panthers co-coach John Feldmann quickly acknowledged the one person most responsible for the squad’s ascent this season — the late, great Todd Goodling.

“This team wouldn’t be where it is today without Todd,” Feldmann said. “Landon (Shorts), Brock (Anderson), Jeremiah (Dadeboe) and I are here, but this all comes from June of last year to January of this year. Todd was with them every day and really had an instrumental part on this team’s development. I think he would be really proud of this group and how far they have come.”

Central York's Christian Bucks (26) and Devon Marsh (32) celebrating their win against Northeastern in the YAIAA boys volleyball Championship in Dallastown on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

After starting out the season with an opening loss to York Suburban, the Panthers have displayed all the characteristics of the historic teams that Goodling, who died in January, has helped coach over the past four decades — resiliency, dedication and selflessness.

Resiliency in being able to bounce back after a humbling start to the season. Dedication in putting in the long hours of work necessary to achieve greatness. Selflessness in putting the need of the team above any individual goals or mindsets.

While talent is certainly necessary, without those traits, great things rarely happen.

“Our engagement has to be top-notch to be able to compete the way that we want to,” Feldmann said, “and come out with a win.”

And win they did, becoming the first Central York team to capture the county title since Goodling led the program to its last crown in 2017.

“It feels great,” attacker Trevor Ketrick said. “We were really confident because we just beat them (last Thursday), but to sweep them tonight was just great.”

Central York's Trevor Ketrick (21) against Northeastern in the YAIAA boys volleyball Championship in Dallastown on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Tuesday roundup:Dallastown boys' tennis advances to state quarterfinals

Baseball:Susquehannock rides ace pitchers to repeat York-Adams League title

Softball:South Western, Littlestown advance to league final

Central’s resiliency was put to the test late in Set 1. In a back-and-forth opening game, the Panthers found themselves staring at an 0-1 deficit with the Bobcats ahead 25-24. But the Panthers rallied to win the next two points and kept the Northeastern boys from getting back-to-back points until finally closing out Set 1 with a 30-28 victory.

“It was fun to watch the two teams kind of trade points back and forth,” Feldmann said. “And, to be honest, I’m way more nervous now than I ever was as a player competing. But to watch the teams trading big swings and big blocks was great. It was certainly a momentum-giver for us and (I'm) just grateful that we were able to pull it out.”

The CY boys were able to capitalize off that momentum to go up 2-0 with a fairly dominating Set 2 triumph. Set 3, however, was anything but easy. Last Thursday, the Bobcats were down 0-2 in the match before sending the contest to a pivotal fifth set, so neither side believed the contest was over at that point.

“We knew we had to come out strong and play to our standard,” Panthers senior Devon Marsh said. “We believe that if we can do that, we can hang with all of the top teams in the state. That’s what Central is about. We’ve been relevant for so long because of that.”

That standard was set first by Bruce and Barb Koller, then by Brad Livingston before Goodling — who was an assistant on the staff dating back to 1984 — took over as the team’s head coach in 2016. It’s been upheld by every team, every year, including this season’s iteration.

Central York's Mason Boyer (12) celebrating with teammate Trevor Ketrick (21) after winning a set against Northeastern in the YAIAA boys volleyball Championship in Dallastown on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

No one is the epitome of that more than Marsh, who was the team’s starting setter last year. When approached about moving to defensive specialist — a less glamorous, yet equally important role — Marsh responded with an answer that would make Goodling smile.

“He just said, ‘Whatever the team needs,’” Feldmann said. “And he’s really owned that. He comes in and makes a difference just by stepping on the court with his energy and his play. He’s always picking up his teammates and that’s something that’s been invaluable over the course of the game.”

Feldmann pointed to Ketrick, who is one of a bevy of tall-yet-talented attackers in Central's rotation, as another difference-maker both on and off the court with his play and demeanor.

“Trevor has just been our constant source of energy,” Feldmann said. “Whether it’s been at practice, during bus trips to games as well as on the court, he just brings that level of energy that takes over the gym.”

Ketrick finished with eight kills, a block and an ace as part of the Panthers' four-headed attack. Donovan Burris and Mason Boyer each recorded 13 kills apiece, while Christian Bucks tallied 11 in the victory. Marsh was credited with four digs and an assist in Set 3 that helped the Panthers close out the sweep.

Central York celebrating their win against Northeastern in the YAIAA boys volleyball Championship in Dallastown on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

For Northeastern, Tuesday’s results was a tough pill to swallow. After coming so close last week to pulling off the "reverse sweep" — losing the first two sets before winning the final three — the Bobcats couldn’t find the hammer to nail down key points at pivotal moments.

Playing without Zach Kilpatrick, whom Northeastern coach Lamar Fahnestock referred to as "our heart," the Manchester boys were unable to score the big points during the match.

“A lot of times it just comes down to the right serve at the right time,” Fahnestock said. “When it comes down to the (key) points, it all comes down to the serve and the serve-receive. We battled back from multiple deficits during the match, but it just didn’t come out our way in the end.”

Hugh Rogers and Ethan Schick led the Bobcats with eight kills, while setters Tyler Finch and Chase Almes dished out 16 assists apiece.

Central York and Northeastern sit third and fourth, respectively, in the District 3 Class 3A power rankings. Both teams will play first-round home games on Tuesday, May 23, with the Panthers expected to host Penn Manor while the Bobcats welcome Elizabethtown.