EMIGSVILLE – The Susquehannock girls’ volleyball team was hoping to shed a few tears on the court at Central York High School for Saturday’s PIAA Class AA volleyball championships.
The Warriors, however, were expecting them to be tears of joy.
Unfortunately for the District 3 champions, those tears were of heartache after a disappointing end to their season. The Warriors fell in the semifinals to District 11 champ Southern Lehigh, 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 30-28). The Spartans moved on to face Brandywine Heights in the state title game at 3:30 p.m.
The roller-coaster ride that has seen the Warriors fall in the York-Adams League playoff semifinals, win the District 3 title, and fight off elimination in a three-way playoff Friday night, took another unexpected turn Saturday.
“I could make the excuse that most coaches would make,” Susquehannock coach Rob Marrison said. “That we spent a lot of emotional energy last night in that playoff match and we did. But the fact of the matter is that they (Southern Lehigh) outplayed us today.”
The Spartans put together a plan that attacked a Susquehannock weakness with receiving short serves. Southern Lehigh forced the Warrior defense to make some passes with its serve-receive that caused the club difficult generating its offense.
“They had a good game-plan,” Marrison said. “We just couldn’t seem to make that step up in the part of the court that we’re not comfortable in to pass those short balls.”
The result often allowed the Spartans to set up their own counter-attack that features Melann Amory and Molly Grammer. Grammer was a nightmare for the Warriors to handle as the senior registered 20 kills on 41 swings, nearly half of those coming in Game 3 after Marrison made a lineup change to try to get a better block against her. Amory added 13 kills to give Southern Lehigh a potent 1-2 punch.
“The last set we were just trying anything to get a block there on 21 (Grammer),” Marrison said. “She just dominated the game.”
The Warriors, though, had their chances in Games 2 and 3. Susquehannock rallied to even the score at 20-20 in Game 2, but couldn’t recover from a four-point Spartan run. Marrison’s team also failed to take advantage of four game-point opportunities in Game 3 that would have extended the match.
“Southern Lehigh is a great team and they had the will to win,” Marrison said. “When the game is on the line like that you have to step up and perform.”
As the Warriors walked off the court, nearly every player had tears in their eyes. They were the four seniors – Sherelle Walker, Kacey Franz, Hannah Bentz, and Kara Anderson – who realized that they had played their last game together for the school.
Those four, however, have all signed on to continue their careers at the next level. Walker is committed to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Franz to Salisbury, Bentz to Gettysburg, and Anderson to Stevenson.
Marrison paid tribute to those four for helping the team accomplish something he didn’t think might be possible when the season began.
“I don’t know if I expected us to do as well as we did this season,” he said. “They worked their butts off in the offseason and I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of them.”
Susquehannock stats: Sherelle Walker (13 kills, 1 digs, 1 block); Leah Deter (4 kills, 2 blocks); Caroline Savin (5 kills, 2 blocks); Kacey Franz (19 assists, 2 kills, 4 aces, 2 digs, 1 block); Kara Anderson (2 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs); rachel Moltz (1 kill, 5 assists, 1 ace, 8 digs).