Red Lion didn’t give Northeastern an easy point during Tuesday’s YAIAA Championship match, but the Bobcats still found a way to pick up the win in three games (25-21, 25-10, 25-17) and capture their third league title in the last five years.
"It''s an awesome feeling," Reese Devilbiss said about winning the league title. "In York County we have some of the best volleyball in the state of Pennsylvania. Winning here is definitely a great achievement and we just felt relieved that we finally accomplished what we've been working for since we started playing volleyball. It's great."
Tuesday was the second meeting of the year between the Lions and the Bobcats. The first match came on April 27, when the two sides played a highly competitive game where the Lions only lost each match by two or three points.
The championship game started out in similar fashion, with the Lions and Bobcats battling for each point. Red Lion took an early lead in Game 1 by coming back from a two-point deficit to jump ahead 9-7. Northeastern answered back a few minutes later, tying the game at 11 and then putting some space between themselves and the Lions.
"For whatever reason we do some funky things both times that we played (Red Lion)," Northeastern coach Matt Wilson said. "I'm not certain we were very crisp or clean, but we got the win."
The second game followed a similar script, with the two sides even at three early on. With Reese Devilbiss serving, the Bobcats put up four straight points and they went on to win 25-10.
Down two games heading into the third game, the Lions didn’t go down without a fight. After taking a 10-3 lead, Red Lion rallied to bring themselves within two points of the Bobcats. The Lions mounted another comeback later in the contest, but it was Dakoda Hoffman who got the winning kill.
"I kind of forgot what was going on for a second," Devilbiss said about the winning point. "But it was awesome. It's an awesome feeling."
The Lions and Bobcats didn’t have an easy road to get to the championship tilt. Northeastern went head-to-head with Central York in the YAIAA semifinals, while Red Lion battled York Suburban. The Bobcats swept the Panthers, but the Lions had to beat the Trojans in five games to get to the finals.
Tuesday was Red Lion's first trip to a league championship game, and something that Dillon Hildebrand was very proud of.
"I couldn't thank (head coach Rick Torbert) any more for coming in and taking us where we needed to be," he said. "And working us to our full potential."
Northeastern and Red Lion will now turn their attention to the District 3 tournament. The Lions will face Lower Dauphin in the first round of the AAA tournament and the Bobcats will play in the quarterfinals of the Class AA tournament.
Northeastern 3, Red Lion 0
(25-21, 25-10, 25-17)
Northeastern stats — Drew Landis (3 digs), Chris Lee (1 dig, 2 assists), Taemar Willis (3 kills, 1 assist), Matt Schaeffer (1 dig, 1 kill, 29 assists), Jeff Reynolds (8 kills), Reese Devilbiss (2 digs, 3 blocks, 12 kills), Brandon Arentz (6 digs, 5 kills, 1 assist), Dakoda Hoffman (5 kills).
Red Lion stats — Dillon Hildebrand (12 digs, 8 kills), Cole Brillhart (1 dig, 10 kills, 2 blocks), John Longnecker (3 digs, 12 assists), Levi Davis (1 ace, 3 digs, 10 assists), Bennett Frey (6 digs, 2 kills), Josh Donaldson (1 kill), John Janowiak (1 kill), Caedan Sweeney (2 kills), Joel Zamora (1 dig, 1 assist), Colby Myers (3 digs).