Losing in the preliminary round of the District 3 Class AAA boys' volleyball tournament means the season is over for the defending state champions.
And, perhaps, no team wanted to knock Central York out more than host Hempfield, who lost to the Panthers in the state semifinals a year ago.
Although the four-game victory (25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-15) on Monday wasn't exactly sweet revenge.
Sure, demons were "exorcised," Hempfield coach Mike Vogel said. But he was referring to his team's ability to put away matches after being up two games, a problem that's hindered them twice this season.
Eliminating Central York in four games is nice too, he said.
The two teams are developing a playoff history after all. In the past five years they have each claimed a Class AAA state title. It was Central York winning its first last season, beating Hempfield, who last won a title in
Hempfield had beaten Central York last season in the District 3 tournament before both qualified to advance.
Although it wasn't a topic either coach discussed much.
"Did I mention it? Yea, but the kids all know that stuff," Vogel said. "They know the history. They sat the bench and saw us lose."
Despite being the defending champions, it never felt as if a target was anywhere near Central York. Coach Brad Livingston never thought of it as an issue, he said.
"They were the defending champs, but those guys left," Vogel said. "It's not a completely different crew that came in here; he runs a quality program, but it's really hard to keep that up every year. They were hit hard by graduation. We were hit hard by graduation, so it's completely new teams this year."
And the Central York of this year could never find a rhythm in the 2012 tournament.
Before a good sweat could soak their orange shirts, the Panthers were already down a game to the Black Knights.
Game two was missed opportunities and squandered chances as well as both traded points and serves without much of a rhythm before Hempfield pulled away. The Black Knights earned the winning point on an out-of-rotation penalty.
Even the game the Panthers won was a struggle, nearly blowing an eight-point lead before recovering to send the match to a fourth game that became completely lopsided in favor of the Black Knights.
"When you come here to play you have to bring your 'A' game," Livingston said. "We didn't do that tonight and they wouldn't let us find it."
Junior Garrett Dimm led the Black Knights with 22 kills, 14 digs, two aces and one block. Ben Ault had 10 kills and Zach Bookman had 12 kills and two aces.
Royce Clemens led the Panthers with 10 kills. Spencer Ortmyer and Ryan Gardner each had nine.
HEMPFIELD 3, CENTRAL 1
(25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-15)
Central York -- Dylan Hose (2 kills, 34 assists), Spencer Ortmyer (9 kills), Josh Van Wyk (6 kills, four digs), Royce Clemens (10 kills, 4 digs), Ryan Gardner (9 kills), Jesse Munson (8 digs), Seth Davies (3 aces).
Hempfield -- Garrett Dimm (22 kills, 14 digs, two aces and one block), Ben Ault (10 kills), Ben Ault (10 kills), Zach Bookman (12 kills, 2 aces), Harrison Lutz (3 blocks).
JV -- Northeastern def. Central York, 12-25, 25-18, 15-12