Throwback Thursday: York Suburban girls' volleyball alumni reminisce about PIAA title
When Nancy (Melhorn) Lloyd saw the coverage the Northeastern boys' volleyball team garnered after winning a third straight PIAA Class AA championship in June, she couldn't help but recall her own volleyball title run. Even if it was 40 years ago.
Lloyd was one of the team captains for the York Suburban girls' squad that won the 1975 state championship, the first team title in school history, thanks to a talented group with a legendary coach.
"It hits home when I see these other kids, like the Northeastern boys winning a third in a row," she said.
York Suburban defeated Norwin in the final, the same team that Susquehannock beat for a championship the season before.
"The overall experience of having that success at the point of my life has carried through the rest of my life," said Carol Thompson, who was a sophomore starter on the Trojans "It gave me the confidence to move forward in life. I felt comfortable on the court and to have that success at that age built that confidence in every thing."
While Norwin got its revenge on the Trojans in the finals the following year, starting a seven-year consecutive state title run, Suburban had its moment, which ironically happened on the same day, April 26, as Central York winning its first of several PIAA boys' championships.
Not only were the girls and boys volleyball seasons both in the spring then, scheduling was different back then too.
The state tournament was played all in one day, at Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University) and Suburban won five matches in the 12-team, double elimination tourney. The Trojans lost only one set during the run, the middle game of the finals vs. Norwin (15-12, 7-15, 15-9).
But that wasn't the only schedule oddity compared to today. The night before states, Suburban played then-YCIAA foe Spring Grove – and lost to the Rockets.
The team not only regrouped, but 10 days later the Trojans faced Spring Grove again for the league title and won, 15-8, 15-13.
"It was all so backwards, you won the county championship after winning the state championship," Lloyd remembered. "Friday night, before we went to states Spring Grove came in and that was a humbling experience that made us all the more hungry for the next day. It was neat to be a part of it."
"There was more pressure to come back and win counties then," Thompson said. "You don't want to lose at the county level after you've won districts and states."
One thing all of those involved remember is beloved coach Jane Herrman, who in May was posthumously inducted into the York County Sports Hall of Fame after leading the Trojans to a 215-18 record over 19 years, with 15 division titles and 10 county championships. She also won back-to-back district titles in 1974-75.
Her AAU Junior Olympics team won a national crown in 1974. The 1952 Red Lion grad, who was a physical education teacher at Suburban for 34 years, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996.
Sue Masenheimer, who served as Suburban's team manager after not making the squad, laughed when recalling Herrman's demeanor during a match.
"I always had to sit right beside her. She couldn't look to see if a serve went over," Masenheimer said. "As far as I am concerned, she was the pioneer of girls' volleyball around here."
"She was long overdue," added Lloyd on Herrman's election to the York Hall. "You were in awe of her, you respected her and never wanted to disappoint her. She was just a wonderful lady and really taught me a lot of life lessons."
After graduating from college, Thompson came back and coached at Suburban for four years, and has been a coach for Eastern York volleyball for many years. She credits Herrman for that.
Several members from that team were on hand at Santander Stadium the night Herrman was honored, making it a mini-reunion.
"Years ago, when she was inducted into the state (hall of fame) it was in State College, and we had four-five car loads going there," Lloyd said. "I have fond memories of it and lifelong friendships I have made out of it. We don't see each other a lot, but when we do it's like we are right back there."