Central York sophomore comes into his own
The boys' volleyball team was led by a firetruck and police vehicle after winning the PIAA Class 3A title on Saturday. Jeff Lautenberger, for GameTimePA
Perhaps the story of Braden Richard illustrates just how good Central York volleyball has been.
Richard did something that no player in Central's program had accomplished in about 25 years last season. He started on varsity as a freshman.
That fact didn't go unnoticed at Central, where volleyball is king.
Then for Richard's second act, he improved. He turned into an all-around weapon and difference-maker during this year, his sophomore season.
"He has no fear, he will go down swinging no matter what," senior setter Carter Luckenbaugh said about Richard.
Yet, Richard might have been overlooked this season.
Division-I recruit Cole Johnson catches the eye of most observers, with coaches at UCLA, USC and Penn State taking notice of him.
The senior leadership of Carter Luckenbaugh is visible every night, too.
But don't sleep on Central's No. 11.
"I think Braden is our most versatile hitter, in terms of the different tempos and zones he gets to the net," Goodling said. "A great antithesis, I think, to what Cole does, you know big bomb from high outside.
"Braden has been spectacular all season for us. My big issue is getting other people to notice just how spectacular he is."
Richard's play in Central's 3-2 victory against Northeastern in the YAIAA tournament title game provided a glimpse at what he can do. He smashed 20 kills and Central fended off the Class 2A state finalist.
"There's just no fear," Goodling said. "There's never any nerves. He's gotten a lot better from the service line. He now plays through the back row, who would have thought that a year ago?"
In every big game, Richard has been a game-changer with his unflappable demeanor and ability to pound the ball.
After knocking off Central Dauphin in the District 3 title game, Richard gave a glimpse of his competitive nature, discussing how a loss to CD earlier in the year fueled the team's
"It kind of inspired us even more tonight," Richard said.