Throughout the past few weeks, a lot of us in the area -- including us media folks -- have been treated to some pretty good volleyball. Last week, I watched Central York and Northeastern piece together a never-ending, 38-36 game, the likes of which I figured I might not see again for years. Turns out I only had to wait nine days. What Northeastern and Spring Grove produced during their five-game marathon Thursday was wildly entertaining under any circumstances. Throw in the amped up pressure of a YAIAA tournament semifinal, and you've got an instant classic. In one game, the Bobcats and Rockets endured 20 ties, six lead changes and 19 match points. Of course, only one of those teams could win. In this case it was Northeastern. The Bobcats went on to win their third straight YAIAA tournament title by beating Central York, 3-1. (Check out my game story from Thursday's tournament, as well as Steve Navaroli's column.) Now comes a new test for Spring Grove: How does it respond, heading into the start of districts next week? Despite the tough loss Thursday, Spring Grove coach Mark Neal didn't seem overly disappointed with his team's showing. "I think we played extremely well," Neal said. A couple things here or there. A couple serves we keep in. "All the credit to Northeastern. Our kids fought tooth and nail." To be fair, it was difficult to have too many criticisms of the Rockets, even in defeat. Their first two games against Northeastern might have been two of their best games of the entire season. Spring Grove used all of its offensive weapons -- four players finished with at least 13 kills, led by Brady Markle's 30. Setter Drew Blecher had a staggering 65 assists. About the only complaint Neal could have was that the marathon game couldn't go a few more points. "I would have liked it go a little bit longer," he said, "because that would have given us a chance to win." And certainly, playing in a high-pressure setting like Thursday's should only help going forward. Spring Grove fought off 12 match points, before Northeastern finally clinched the fifth game on a Nic Shoemaker block. Neal said he planned to bring his team in for a light workout Saturday, in preparation for the Rockets district opener Monday against Central Dauphin at Milton Hershey High School. With a win, the Rockets will advance to quaterfinals pool play at Central York on Wednesday. They enter the postseason ranked fifth in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class AAA rankings.
Volleyball: Spring Grove looks to rebound
Zach Miller, zmiller@GameTimePA.com | 8:31 PM Jul 19, 2016
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