DALLASTOWN >> When most teams find out their first-round playoff opponents, they have to quickly set to work, researching stats, tracking down film and finding some common opponents.
Chambersburg's girls volleyball team didn't have that problem. The Trojans drew Carlisle, a Mid Penn Commonwealth Division foe, in a District 3 Class AAA play-in game Thursday. But that came with its own set of disadvantages.
"It was difficult," Chambersburg coach Ty Frelin said. "They know our tendencies, and we know their tendencies. We made a slight adjustment in our lineup – just to do something different really, not trying to exploit anything."
That late adjustment may have helped, as the Trojans downed the Thundering Herd, 3-1, despite losing the first set.
With the victory, Chambersburg (14-5) advances to face Central York (15-1) on Saturday, setting up a Franklin County doubleheader at Dallastown. Waynesboro faces a rematch with Red Lion at 3, with the Trojans' game to follow.
The Herd (12-7) came out swinging in the first set, winning it 25-20. But the Trojans held Carlisle to 17, 15 and 22 points over the next three, respectively.
"They served much tougher than we've seen them serve in the past," Carlisle coach Mike Beachy said. "But I don't think they served much tougher than they did in the first game, so I'm not sure what changed with the first set and the next three."
Although Beachy and the Herd had a chance to see Chambersburg twice this season, there was slight rotation change by the Trojans. Chambersburg's top hitter, Caitlin Vrabel, moved to the outside, and Lauren Diller took her spot in the middle.
"(Frelin) switched us in serve receive so we could see if we could get out of it faster and not get in a hole," Vrabel said. "I think it helped us at some points, but other points, it didn't work as well. In the end, we just needed to do something different."
Vrabel finished with 12 kills, while opposite Cara Long was right behind with 11.
The Trojans also got a fine game from one of their best-kept secrets. Sophomore Bailee Nitterhouse lit it up with 11 kills and a pair of blocks. In Set 4, Nitterhouse may have sealed the victory. She had three kills in a row to give the Trojans a six-point lead that proved essential as the Herd made a big push at the end of the set by thwarting five match points.
"I asked her before the match if she was nervous, and she said no," Frelin said. "I told her to just go out and play, and she was awesome. I told our assistants when she had several kills in a row that we should just keep feeding Bailee. Not that the other girls weren't doing good things, but they couldn't stop Bailee."
Vrabel said, "She did some things that she's been doing in practice, but now they are actually showing in the games, which is really great to see."
Not only did the Trojan hitters improve as the night went on, Chambersburg's defense also picked up its game. Five different Trojans finished with double-digit digs. Danessa Martin racked up 22, Kailey Layman had 16, and Laken Myers, Jenna Lombardozzi and Lauren Ching split 30 evenly.
"We all played well, and we blocked really well," Martin said. "It all just flowed, and after we lost the first set, we were just ready to come out and play again."
Chambersburg was also helped along by a rough hitting night for the Herd. Although Cassidy Hoover and Yanna Regis both finished with 12 kills, Carlisle had countless hitting errors, most of which were unforced.
"The first set was beautiful," Beachy said. "We passed perfectly and ran the offense. But then our passing sort of went downhill a little bit, and our hitters were swinging at balls they really couldn't hit as well as they should've."
Chambersburg 3, Carlisle 1
Sets — Car 25-20, Chbg 25-17, Chbg 25-15, Chbg 25-22
Kills — Cassidy Hoover 12, Yanna Regis 12, Shay Regis 9, Lydia Estes 7; Blocks — Y.Regis 1; Assists — Lenisa Berrios 31; Digs — Briana Berrios 26, Alexis Shuhart 16, Emily Smeltz 11; Aces — Hannah Seburn, L.Berrios.
Kills — Caitlin Vrabel 12, Bailee Nitterhouse 11, Cara Long 11, Lauren Diller 6; Blocks — Vrabel 3, Erin Lightfoot 2, Nitterhouse 2; Assists — Lauren Ching 40; Digs — Danessa Martin 22, Kailey Layman 16, Laken Myers 10, Jenna Lombardozzi 10, Ching 10, Vrabel 7, Nitterhouse 5; Service points — Ching 13, Martin 11, Lombardozzi 11, Vrabel 9, Myers 5; Aces — Ching 3, Lombardozzi 2, Martin 2, Vrabel 1.