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York Suburban boys' volleyball coach Jamie Evans said his squad awoke a sleeping giant during Saturday evening's Wildcat Invitational semifinal against Cumberland Valley.

"We told them, 'Look, you played a great (first) set, but you have to come out and play now,'" Evans said. "We kind of came out a little flat in the second set and gave them three or four points. We got back on our heels a bit. You have to be careful when you poke the giant."

The Trojans, who are No. 9 in the latest District 3 Class AA power rankings, took the first set from a Cumberland Valley team that is fourth in the Class AAA power rankings. The Eagles have won six of their 11 regular-season games in straight sets.

Cumberland Valley rallied to win, 21-25, 25-16, 15-10, and advance to the championship bracket final against Central Dauphin. The Eagles then defeated Central Dauphin, 25-20, 21-25, 15-9, to win the event.

"We took a game and we were hanging with (Cumberland Valley)," Evans said. "I stressed to the team afterward it's about the journey. We are ending the regular season, but beginning another with districts coming up. We took another step forward and that's what you want to do. Get better. Not get complacent."

York Suburban beat Holy Redeemer, 15-10, 16-14, in the quarterfinal round to set up a rematch with Cumberland Valley, which beat the Trojans by nine in a one-set pool-play match.

"I think we took a big step forward," Evans said. "We made Cumberland Valley earn it, and that's all you can ask really. If they are the better team, they are the better team. We did what we could do."

A total of 25 teams began pool play Saturday morning and each team played four 30-point sets to determine their placement in the play-in bracket.

The play-in bracket games were one 30-point set to place the 16 championship bracket teams and nine silver bracket teams.

Five YAIAA teams —New Oxford, Red Lion, Spring Grove, York Suburban and host Dallastown — advanced into the championship bracket. Dover and Eastern York went into silver bracket play.

New Oxford, Red Lion and Spring Grove were eliminated in the first round of the championship bracket. The Lions are No. 15 in the latest District 3 Class AAA power rankings while Spring Grove is No. 7 in Class AA.

Dallastown coach Lance Ranck said Eastern York forfeited its first-round silver bracket match, while Dover won the silver bracket competition.

Now or never

That was the rallying point in Evans' post-game speech after York Suburban won its first-round championship bracket battle with Manheim Township in three sets.

"Playing in the YAIAA is a battle every night," Evans said. "We've had some tough losses. I think we are 5-5 in the league. We are still finding that chemistry. That's been our struggle. We know we can compete and play at that elite level. It is the consistency we have been fighting. We are running out of time in the season to show that."

York Suburban went 3-1 in early morning pool play, defeating Spring Grove, Berks Catholic and Christopher Dock after losing its first 30-point set of the day to Cumberland Valley. The Trojans were down a few players early on because of SAT testing.

"Typical teenager morning," said Evans with a laugh. "Just waking up at 8:30. We were a little slow. Cumberland Valley is a good team. We dropped that but came back strong."

York Suburban won its play-in match with Carlisle to make the 16-team championship bracket, then won the opening-round battle with Manheim Township, 17-19, 15-9, 15-11, to advance into the quarterfinals.

"We were ahead 9-2 in the first set and dropped that," Evans said. "It would have been really easy for us to give in then, but they've been fighting."

New Oxford on the rise

Former Central York volleyball standout Jason Barshinger, in his second season as head coach of the Colonials, went from one win a season ago to a 6-6 mark.

The Colonials went 3-1 in pool play Saturday, beating Eastern York, Dover and Manheim Township. New Oxford followed that with a play-in bracket win over Red Lion to make the 16-team championship bracket, but the Colonials were eliminated by William Tennant, 15-6, 15-13.

"This was a one- or two-win team for the six or seven years before I got here," Barshinger said. "This year, at one point, we were two points away from being 7-3. We also got second place in the Elizabethtown Tournament (in late April). It's been a huge turnaround. For us, it has been a cultural change in the program. I am extremely proud of what we have done.

"We had to start over with everything, system play, fundamentals, everything. These guys have come a long way. Beyond that, the very first thing I had to get through to the guys was attitude. To have that want and desire to be an elite team. In this area, an elite program means you could end up being 6-6. There are some very good teams in the league."

Barshinger graduated from Central York in 2001 and was part of the last class led by legendary coach Bruce Koller, who has spent more than 30 years coaching club and high school volleyball with his wife, Barb. The Panthers program won four PIAA state championships, four runner-up state finishes and 18 District 3 championships.

"I have thanked them numerous times for what they have done for me," said Barshinger, who also spent two seasons while in college as an assistant coach for Brad Livingston at Central York. "Not only for that, but for what I have been able to carry on."

The Kollers were at the match against Red Lion on Saturday, and each member of the Colonials team went over and shook their hands after. Barb Koller even offered up some tips to one or two players afterwards in the cafeteria area outside the gym.

"Between Bruce and Barb and Brad, I have learned so much from them," Barshinger said. "I think you are talking about some of the best coaches in the state. They are amazing."

In December, Barshinger was named as the first men's volleyball head coach at Wilson College in Chambersburg. The NCAA Division III program begins its initial season in 2015-2016 and Barshinger said he hopes to also continue coaching at New Oxford. The two seasons overlap by about a month, he said.

Barshinger previously coached both the men's and women's programs at Central Pennsylvania College.

Fine showing for hosts

Dallastown emerged Saturday morning with pool play wins against Palmyra, Hershey and Daniel Boone. The Wildcats' only blemish was a two-point loss to Mechanicsburg.

Dallastown downed Berks Catholic in the play-in game to meet Red Lion in the first round of the championship bracket. Dallastown came away with a 15-9, 15-11 win.

"It's always fun playing Red Lion," said Dallastown coach Lance Ranck. "But we have a rivalry with Suburban. We have a rivalry with Central. It's York County volleyball. We have rivalries with everybody."

The day ended for Dallastown with a 12-15, 15-13, 15-12 setback to Penn Manor in the quarterfinal round. The game was a rematch of a March 20 season-opening meeting at Dallastown that Penn Manor won in five sets.

"Once we made it to the quarters, we are with the big boys," Ranck said. "We really served strong and kept it competitive. We just had a couple of hitting errors. Those unforced errors were the difference. We battled back and forth all three games."

Dallastown is No. 11 in the latest District 3 Class AAA power rankings.

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