Here are some of the players to keep an eye on in YAIAA boys' volleyball during the 2017 season. Wochit
There's no denying the importance of experience and depth on a roster, and both the Spring Grove and West York boys' volleyball teams are proving that to be true.
Last year, the two squads combined to only win four division contests, with the Bulldogs going winless in the league.
But a year older, a year more experienced and bolstered by some additional varsity depth, both teams are showing improvement this season.
Earlier this week, Spring Grove improved to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in YAIAA play with a 3-0 sweep of West York. The Rockets have already won as many league matches this season as they did in all of 2016.
"Last year we didn't have a lot of varsity depth. This year, we are bringing almost everybody back and that's been a big factor," said Spring Grove head coach Cameron Mummert, whose team jumped up two spots to No. 5 in the District 3 Class 2A power rankings after Tuesday's win.
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This year's squad features five seniors, including Noah Wilson and Mason Staub. Against the Bulldogs, Wilson finished with two digs, two aces and a block, and Staub registered eight kills, five digs and a block.
Mummert said the team's goal this season is a playoff push.
"We still have a bunch of tough teams coming up," Mummert said, pointing to upcoming matches against Northeastern, Central York and York Suburban. "The difference I have seen in performance over the offseason has been a real shock and a nice surprise."
West York has also seen improvement this season. A year after having zero seniors on the roster, West York now boasts eight seniors on its 11-man varsity roster.
The Bulldogs dropped two spots in the district rankings to No. 7 after the loss to the Rockets.
"This was one of the first tests we have had this year," Bulldogs head coach Kevin Wolf said after the match. "They were really tested (Tuesday) and didn't pull through."
At 6-3 overall, West York has already eclipsed its win total from the past two seasons combined. In 2016, the Bulldogs went winless in division play; so far this year, they are 2-3.
"We have big expectations and the team is calling it #RedemptionTour because they are tired of getting beat up," Wolf said. "They want to put us back on the volleyball map."
Still, even with a team of seniors, Wolf is still searching for a player or two to step into that leadership role.
"That's one of the issues, is that there really is no clear leader out there," Wolf said. "Most of my players haven't played four years, even though they are seniors, for some its only their second year playing. That's where we struggle."
On Tuesday, Sam Lovelace finished with four kills, three aces and five digs and Jacob May had 30 assists, a kill and nine digs. Kenton Meckley finished with 17 kills, two aces and four digs.