District volleyball: Central rides a 'good bad day' into semifinals
The YAIAA has the No. 1-ranked teams in Pennsylvania in Class 2A and 3A this season. Find out GameTimePA's power rankings for the YAIAA. Jim Seip, GameTimePA
For all the success of the Central York boys' volleyball team this season, the Panthers coaching staff has cautioned the team that if they find themselves not playing their best, they still need to find a way to win
During Monday's District 3 Class 3A quarterfinal against Cumberland Valley, the Panthers found themselves in just that sort of a battle. After two games against the Eagles, the score was all even.
"We had a very specific game plan which we did a really lousy job at following, but I think Cumberland Valley played really well," Panthers head coach Todd Goodling said. "We talked all year about if these guys want to make a postseason run, there will be days where they are not playing well and they have to figure out how to have a good bad day. I thought we did that."
With the match tied at a game apiece, the Panthers found their groove in the final two games and held off a tough CV squad, 3-1. The Panthers won, 26-24, 18-25, 25-18, 25-19.
"Just the competitive, gutting it out, I was really excited about that," said Goodling, whose team was pushed to a fourth game for only the third time this year. "It's a matter of figuring out — Game Plan A isn't working, what's Game Plan B? How are we going to hang together and find a way to win the point?
"That's what the postseason is all about. I don't think you have to play great in the postseason, but you better be darned prepared to compete in postseason."
With the win, the second-seeded Panthers (15-0) advance to Wednesday's semifinal against No. 6 Dallastown (15-3), which upset No. 3 Lower Dauphin in a 3-0 sweep in the first game of Monday's doubleheader at Central York High School. The Wildcats won, 27-25, 25-18, 25-20.
Their semifinal will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Red Lion. It will be a rematch of an April 11 contest that Central won, 3-1. That was one of the three times this year that the Panthers had been pushed beyond three games.
"I don't know how relevant that game is," Goodling said. "It was early in the season and they have changed a bit and we have matured.
"I expect it to be a great match and I think it will come down to who controls the serve-pass game again."
The match will also see Dallastown assistant coach Jeff Johnson prepare a game plan against his son, Panthers junior Cole Johnson.
"It's definitely pretty cool playing against him. I think it's fun," the son said of taking on his father's team.
On Monday, Cole Johnson led the Panthers with 25 kills and four aces. Carter Luckenbaugh added 54 assists and three digs. Braden Richard supplied 23 kills and an ace.
The Panthers had to recover from a tight start against CV.
"I felt like we served really well and we won the serving game a little bit," Eagles head coach Terry Ranck said. "Pressuring them on serve-receive is really key and we did a pretty job of moving the ball around. We served pretty well and it put them on their heels and then their serving picked up at the end of the match. We kind of won the service game early and they won it late when it mattered."
In the first match of the evening, Dallastown pulled out a 27-25 Game 1 win and used that momentum to sweep the Falcons.
"We are on to states and have extended our season," Wildcats head coach Tom Beakler said. "The kids are very excited about it. They played well."
As has been the case all season, the Wildcats relied on a balanced attack offensively and defensively to advance.
Nathan Darr finished with 14 kills, three digs, four aces and one block. Avery Terroso supplied five kills, four digs, one ace and a block. Peyton Ranck handed out 36 assists, one kill and six digs.
Dallastown has handed Lower Dauphin both of its losses this season and will look to hand the Panthers their first loss of the season.
"We will see a very good team on Wednesday," Beakler said. "This is districts and anything can happen. We will be ready to play."
Central York's schedule
The Panthers' quarterfinal victory puts a wrinkle into the District 3 volleyball schedule.
Central York's graduation is scheduled for Friday evening. But Monday night's victory put the Panthers in line to play Friday — either for the District 3 championship, or in the third-place consolation match, depending on the result of Wednesday's semifinal.
However, District 3 tweeted Monday night that the Panthers will play Thursday, not Friday, to accommodate the school's graduation. That will be the case whether they reach the championship match or the third-place match.
More from the District 3 volleyball tournament
In Class 2A, Northeastern and York Suburban both advanced to the district semifinals, albeit in different fashion.
The Bobcats needed just three games to knock off fellow YAIAA competitor Spring Grove, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20.
York Suburban, meanwhile, needed five games to defeat Lancaster Mennonite, 17-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11.
The YAIAA foes reached opposite sides of a Wednesday semifinal doubleheader at Dallastown. Northeastern will face Cocalico at 6 p.m., and then York Suburban will meet top-seeded Manheim Central at 7:30 p.m.