By RYAN VANDERSLOOT
West York’s Shaina Robinett tries blocking a shot against Susquehannock on Tuesday. She finished with 15 kills in West York’s victory. (BIL BOWDEN — For The York Dispatch)
GLEN ROCK — The West York girls’ volleyball program doesn’t exactly have the same type of storied history as Tuesday night’s opponent, Susquehannock.
But this year’s Bulldogs team is hoping to change that.
After last winning a York-Adams League (or YCIAA) title way back in 1986, Coach Joe Ramp’s club is halfway toward ending that drought.
Ramp, however, knows it won’t be easy after winning a clash with a banged-up Warrior club at Susquehannock High School. The Bulldogs won the first two games and survived a rally by the home team to improve to 7-0 in York-Adams Division II division after a 25-19, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22 triumph.
It’s not often that a team defeats the Warriors — who have a couple state titles and numerous district title banners on their walls — and sounds and looks disappointed afterward.
“We did not perform well tonight at all,” Ramp said. “It was more of a survival-like mode tonight. Susky played very well, digging us left and right. They had a little bit bigger heart tonight, but somehow we found a way to win.”
Playing without Abigail Bentz, who suffered an ankle injury a few weeks ago, the Warriors nevertheless gave the visitors all they could handle. Brittany Fitzgerald (11 kills) and Laura Savin (nine kills) combined to put balls away several times after lengthy rallies.
“Sometimes, when your best player is out, the girls can sit around and think ‘what are we gong to do?,'” Susquehannock coach Rob Marrison said. “We have nothing to lose, so it’s time for the girls to step up, take some swings and be brave, and I think we did that.”
Ramp felt fortunate that the Warriors were without their standout for the night.
“Bentz is a very solid player,” Ramp said. “I had the opportunity to coach her in club one year and she’s enthusiastic and a very smart player. She makes that team go.”
As disappointed as Ramp sounded after a brief huddle with his club afterward, he knows that a championship-type squad can battle through lulls in play yet still come out victorious.
“It’s more of us, as a coaching staff, looking at our girls and knowing what they’re capable of doing,” he said. “What they displayed tonight was two different gears.”
After winning the first two games in somewhat comfortable fashion, the Bulldogs trailed throughout much of Game 3. The visitors, however, were able to forge a 21-all tie late and appeared to be on track for a sweep. But a four-point run by the home side closed out that set, denying West York.
The Bulldogs seemed to rebound. They stormed out to a 12-5 lead in Game 4, but were unable to put things away. Susquehannock’s defense kept balls in play for long rallies, which seemed to frustrate the Bulldog side.
But senior Kari Lankford stepped up for two of her seven kills on the night to score points 24 and 25 in Game 4 to cap off the victory.
“This was fun to watch,” Marrison admitted. “There were some really cool rallies in there tonight and it’s exciting when both teams are playing well defensively.”
Shaina Robinett led the Bulldogs with 15 kills, while teammate Dixie Miller added 10 kills and setter Meryssa Love dished out 35 assists. Kelly Franz led the Warriors (4-3 Division II) with 21 assists while Amber Sweitzer added 12.
Now, with one complete round through the eight-team Division II cycle, the Bulldogs are sitting pretty. Being there at the end would not only break a long drought, but also fulfill a long-sought goal that the team set in the preseason.
“This group of girls — and there are six seniors on this team — and they’ve wanted it since Day 1,” Ramp said. “They went undefeated when they were sophomores at the JV level. Their goal is the keep pushing. They see the light at the end of the tunnel. The question is ‘are they hungry enough for it?’ and that’s a question that wasn’t answered tonight.”
OTHER GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL
Dallastown 3, Red Lion 0: At Dallastown, the Wildcats handed rival Red Lion its first York-Adams Division I loss, 25-21, 25-16, 25-14. Red Lion fell into a first-place tie with Central at 5-1. Dallastown improved to 4-2. Dallastown was led by Sophia Messner (10 kills, four aces), Kat Forry (26 digs), Megan Clinton (30 assists, 11 digs) and Toni Cappas (nine kills, seven digs). Red Lion’s leaders were Brook Daugherty (30 assists), Rachel Groff (11 digs), Julia Pondolfino (10 digs), Lauren Enfield (nine digs, four kills) and Lindsey Blevins (nine digs, four kills). Dallastown also won the JV match, 23-25, 25-12, 15-11.
York Suburban 3, Kennard-Dale 0: At Fawn Grove, the Trojans rolled, 25-14, 25-12, 25-22. Suburban was led by Georgia DuMars (23 assists), Sabrina Geary (seven kills) and Claudia Mingora (10 digs). K-D was paced by Brittany Wolf (four aces, six blocks), Katie Leftridge (eight kills, three aces) and Lindsay Amrhein (six blocks). Suburban won the JV match, 25-19, 25-15.
Delone Catholic 3, Hanover 0: At McSherrystown, the Squirettes rolled, 25-5, 25-18, 25-14, behind big nights from Katie Laughman (26 assists, seven digs), Maddie Comly (12 kills, four aces, four digs) and Kayla Baadte (10 digs, four assists). Delone won the JV match, 25-16, 25-18.
Gettysburg 3, Eastern 1: At Gettysburg, Myla Manahan recorded 32 assists for the Warriors, who turned back the Golden Knights, 25-10, 13-25, 25-17, 25-23. Jess Sandoe and Grace Redman combined for 17 Gettysburg kills. Lauren Reichard had a terrific match for Eastern, finishing with 22 kills, 10 digs and five blocks. Lauryn Snyder delivered 32 assists, four kills and six digs for the Knights. Gettysburg won the JV match, 25-19, 25-22.
Bermudian Springs 3, York Catholic 2: At York Springs, the Eagles rallied for a 15-25, 25-11, 22-25, 25-14, 15-7 victory. Madyson Whitcomb (12 kills) and Gabby Emeigh (22 assists) led Bermudian. Natalie Stewart supplied six kills and 19 assists and Meredith Beecher delivered eight kills and six digs for York Catholic. The Fighting Irish won the JV match, 25-15, 25-22.
Central York 3, Spring Grove 1: At Central, the Panthers bounced back from a first-set loss to defeat the Rockets, 17-25, 26-24, 25-14, 25-16. Andrea Quartey and Emily Poole teamed for 26 Central kills, and Julia Terpak finished with 36 assists. Hannah Rishel racked up 20 digs for the winners. Mia Bennett had 10 kills and four blocks for Spring Grove, and Becca Keller contributed 22 assists and three digs. Central also won the JV match, 2-0.
Northeastern 3, York High 0: At Northeastern, the Bobcats swept the Bearcats, 25-6, 25-4, 25-17. Bayle Sowers and Macie Schantz combined for 15 Northeastern kills, and Alivia Crerand furnished 18 assists.
Littlestown 3, Fairfield 0: At Fairfield, Emily Staub (10 assists) and Isabella Lenzini (four kills, nine aces) led Littlestown to the sweep, 25-8, 25-11, 25-22. Abby Herring (seven kills) led Fairfield.
Eastern York 3, ELCO 0: At Wrightsville, in a non-league match from Monday, the Golden Knights rolled, 25-21, 25-13, 25-13. Lauren Reichard (10 kills, seven digs, six blocks), Lauryn Snyder (32 assists, four aces) and Allie Crumling (10 kills, five digs, three aces) paced Eastern. The Knights also won the JV match, 25-5, 24-26, 15-8.