The Panthers were down by nine, only two points away from elimination, when they ran off eight straight to make it a game.
Although the Comets notched two of the final three points to end the match, both coaches saw something in Central's refuse-to-go-away attitude.
"That made the night a success, to see them grow like that," Panther coach Nate Ocasio said. "They looked at each other for answers in that game."
"They are pretty scrappy, and that (Hadley) Swartz is a heck of a player," Comets coach Jarod Staub said of Central and its junior outside hitter. Swartz amassed 15 kills, eight digs and an ace in the match.
Penn Manor advanced to Saturday's semifinals with a 25-27, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 victory against the Panthers. The Comets will face rival Hempfield, which knocked off Carlisle, 25-15, 25-18, 25-19, in the opener of Thursday's doubleheader on the Black Knights home floor.
Central, which saw its season end with an 11-5 record, showed its comeback capabilities right from the start against Penn Manor. The Panthers fell behind 15-12 and 20-18 before rallying to win Game 1, staving off two game points in the process.
The Panthers did it again in the second game, falling behind 21-14, before coming back to tie the score at 22. However,
Game 3 featured Central bursting out to a lead, which extended to 16-11. But Penn Manor started feeding 6-foot-1 junior Jessie Greenslade, who notched five of her match-high 20 kills during a deciding 14-6 run.
"You could tell we were very hesitant. We weren't playing relaxed," Ocasio said. "It's from not being here before and being young."
Greenslade added 12 digs, two blocks and three aces to her all-around performance.
"Jessie is one of the best players in our league and the state," Staub said. "Once we started running our offense, we played better and better."
While the Comets threatened to run away with the final game, Panthers senior Brooklyn Smith hammered two of her three aces to go along with seven digs. and Ashley Burd dropped two of her eight kills during Central's eight-point run.
Sydney Gallagher posted nine kills and four blocks, while fellow junior Jordan Benton put up five kills, three digs, two aces and a block. The passing duo of Erin Dobeck and Haley Harrold combined for 36 assists for the Panthers.
Ocasio is well aware of the fact that Central returns many of the players that see significant court time.
"We have a lot of players coming back," he said. "But, the seniors set the tone for this program."
at Hempfield High School
PENN MANOR 3, CENTRAL YORK 1
(25-27, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23)
Central York stats -- Hadley Swartz (15 kills, 8 digs, 1 ace); Sydney Gallagher (9 kills, 4 blocks); Brooklyn Smith (7 digs, 3 aces); Jordan Benton (5 kills, 3 digs, 2 aces, 1 block); Ashley Burd (8 kills, 1 block, 1 dig); Erin Dobeck (23 assists); Hayley Harrold (13 assists).
Penn Manor stats -- Jessie Greenslade (20 kills, 12 digs, 3 aces, 2 blocks); Dana Mowbray (7 kills, 3 blocks); Cassidy Sangrey (38 assists, 3 aces); Remington Sangrey (6 kills); Kristen Longsderff (13 digs).