Central sweeps Dallastown to reach district title game
Dallastown volleyball players explain how to perform a float serve. Jim Seip, GameTimePA
Central York has the grudge match it wanted.
After sweeping Dallastown, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17, at Red Lion High School in the District 3 Class 3A semifinals on Wednesday, the Panthers will face Central Dauphin in the district title game on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Dallastown. Having split with the Rams in two tournament matchups this season, the Panthers are determined to pull ahead in the season series.
While there's plenty of pressure that comes with playing for a district title, the Panthers will enter Thursday feeling good. Their loss to Central Dauphin came in a three-set match at the Bobcat Invitational on April 1, and they feel they'll have the advantage in a normal best-of-five contest.
"It's a little different (in the last matchup) because it's shorter, obviously, but I'm feeling pretty confident," Central senior Grant Cash said. "We know who they are, and they know who we are."
Central will enter the championship match on a roll, having gone a combined 6-1 in sets in two district games against Cumberland Valley and Dallastown. Still, it has some things it can fix for Thursday.
The Panthers let Dallastown hang around for portions of Wednesday's match, even trailing 6-0 in the beginning of the third set. While their ability to almost effortlessly go on runs and take control is impressive, the Panthers don't want to get lazy on Thursday.
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"We can't even afford to do that on any team, especially against Dallastown, we shouldn't be able to do that against them," junior Cole Johnson said. "We just kept the ball in play and let them make errors, which helped us out a lot. But we're not going to be able to do that again."
As usual, Johnson was one of the key cogs for Central against the Wildcats. The 6-foot-7 junior led the Panthers with 14 kills and added five digs and two aces. Setter Carter Luckenabaugh finished with 25 assists and Zak Kakos had 14 digs.
A win on Thursday will give Central York its third District 3 Class 3A title in the past four years. The Panthers previously won in 2014 and 2015.
Dallastown will play Penn Manor in the third-place match on Friday. The Wildcats played well for stretches on Wednesday, but struggled to handle the Panthers' serves.
"They served us off the court," Dallastown coach Tom Beakler said. "Too much Cole Johnson. He's a tough player, he's on another level. We got some hands on him a couple times, not not nearly enough."