DALLASTOWN — You can forgive the Spring Grove girls’ volleyball team if it had a sense of déjà vu.
That feeling of being there before wasn’t necessarily a good one, either.
Just a season ago, the Rockets fell in the York-Adams League Tournament finals to Dover. Coach Dawn Myers’ team then moved on to District 3-AAA pool play, where the Rockets finished second to Penn Manor.
Last week it felt like it was happening all over again. Spring Grove again lost to the Eagles in the league title game. Tuesday night at Dallastown, the Rockets were back in district action, and once again it was Penn Manor standing in the way of claiming Pool D.
Only this time, they reversed the curse.
Spring Grove and the Comets both won their first two matches of the night to set up a winner-take-all final match at Dallastown High School. After Penn Manor won the first game (25-21), the Rockets (8-1) refused to allow history to repeat itself and won the final two games (25-16, 25-16) en route to a 3-0 night and a first-place finish in the pool.
Spring Grove’s triumph highlighted a banner night for the league. Central York and Dover also advanced out of their respective pools. The Panthers (9-0) dominated Pool B without dropping a single game, while the Eagles (7-2) finished second to Hempfield (8-1) in Pool A.
All three teams will be back in quarterfinal action Thursday. Central will face Penn Manor at 6 p.m. at Hempfield High School. At Northern High School, Dover battles Pool C champion, Manheim Township, at 6 p.m., and Spring Grove takes on Exeter at 7:30 p.m.
That feeling of déjà vu wasn’t lost on Myers before her team’s showdown with Penn Manor.
“Before the game, the Penn Manor coach said to me that this is like déjà vu,” Myers said. “I said, ‘it sure is.'”
After Penn Manor took the first game in the best-of-3 series, the Rockets did an about-face with a total team effort. Spring Grove started to get its block in line and finished Game 2 on a 15-3 run that propelled its momentum through Game 3.
“The block improved and so did the energy,” Myers said.
A palpable sigh of relief could be felt from the Rockets when they celebrated on the court after the final point dropped in the victory over the Comets.
“We wanted to win this so badly,” said Spring Grove middle hitter Karli Mummert, who tallied 34 kills and three blocks on the evening.
“I wanted to break this cycle,” Myers said. “These girls love this sport and they deserve to take (the season) as far as we can take it.”
One other thing that the Spring Grove girls hope to take a little further is the annual mystery behind the letters on the back of their sneakers. Each player has a letter stuck to the back of both their shoes and they won’t reveal the true meaning behind it until the season’s over.
“We’ve done it all the years I’ve been playing,” Mummert said.
“It’s a big deal,” Myers said. “They figure out a saying and put it on their shoes.”
—Spring Grove defeated Garden Spot, 25-13, 25-23, 25-18 in the first match of the night. The Rockets also downed Cumberland Valley, 25-21, 25-16, 25-14.
—The winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal matches at Northern and Hempfield will advance to the semifinals Saturday at Dallastown. The top three finishers will advance to the PIAA Tournament the following weekend.
—Cumulative Spring Grove stats: Karli Mummert (34 kills), Allie Garrett (21 kills, 25 digs, five aces), Katie Baynum (15 kills), Brandi Kinard (90 assists, seven kills, 27 digs, seven aces), Kayla Yingling (74 digs), Dakota Godfrey (18 kills, 28 digs), Mia Bennett (nine kills, five blocks) and Adrienne Marcionette (29 digs, four aces).
OTHER DISTRICT 3 GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL
CENTRAL YORK GOES 9-0: At Wilson, Central York dominated Pool B, going 9-0. The Panthers beat Exeter (28-26, 25-16, 25-22), Mechanicsburg (25-17, 25-22, 25-17) and Lampeter-Strasburg (25-12, 25-5, 25-10). The stat leaders for the Panthers were: Hadley Swartz (30 kills, five aces), Sydney Gallagher (19 kills), Jordan Benton (18 kills, five blocks, nine aces), Ashlee Burd (14 kills), Brooklyn Smith (33 digs, 11 aces) and Hayley Harrold (59 assists).
DOVER TAKES SECOND: At Hempfield, the Eagles couldn’t get past the host school. Dover beat Chambersburg (25-17, 25-14, 25-12) and Daniel Boone (25-14, 25-16, 25-12), but suffered a 21-25, 29-27, 25-13 loss to Hempfield, the No. 1 seed from the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Hempfield is ranked No. 4 in the state in Class AAA in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association poll.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.