If you only saw the first game of Thursday's West York-York Suburban volleyball match, you'd think the Bulldogs were the dominant team on their way to an easy victory.
The young Bulldogs squad easily handled their fellow 2014 co-division champs from start to finish in front of a raucous West York crowd, and cruised to a 25-9 win in the first game. But after being admittedly dominated, the Trojans regrouped, eager to prove that the first result in the box score was a fluke. And three games later, they had done just that, earning a 9-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-18 victory
"We just had to get that out of our system and be done with it," York Suburban head coach Sonia Guyer said of the first game. "Once we settled down, we reset with a clean slate in the second."
Guyer pulled her team in close during the break between the first and second games, and delivered a wake-up call.
"I told them I'm glad they got beat (in the first game)," she said. "I think it grounded them and gave them a sense of 'Oh, maybe we can't just show up and win. Maybe we have to stay clean and play our game.'"
The Trojans (3-0, 3-0 YAIAA Division II) took her message to heart. They jumped out to an early five-point lead in the second game and maintained that until late when the Bulldogs (3-2, 2-2) started to chip away. After a Ciara Buckingham kill pushed York Suburban's lead to 16-11, West York went on a 7-1 run, capped by a kill by freshman Julia Rill that sent the West York crowd into a frenzy as the Bulldogs took a brief lead. The Trojans regrouped again, and a second Buckingham kill ignited a 5-1 Trojans run, which locked up a 25-21 victory.
"We knew that every time we come in here, it's a battle," Guyer said of being at West York. "Our teams are evenly matched and they're always well-coached. It's just a matter of knowing that we're going to have to come in and fight a hard battle, not just against the girls on the other team, but also against the crowd and environment."
After Buckingham squashed the Bulldogs' comeback attempt in the second, it was Jordan Landis' turn to do the same in the third. The senior had three key plays down the stretch — a kill to give York Suburban a 21-14 lead, a dig on an emphatic Bulldog shot attempt, and a second kill after West York had cut the lead to 23-22.
"We just got in our heads a little bit at first and hurt ourselves," Landis said. "But we're used to playing against crowds like that and we're used to playing in this gym. It was more on us than anything."
By the time the fourth game started, the confidence and momentum were squarely on York Suburban's side of the court, and the Trojans closed with a 25-18 win.
"We learned that we can come back from a bad start," Buckingham said. "Our mental game and energy level just have to be there."
York Suburban def. West York, 9-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-18 at West York
West York stats — Amanda Sides (12 kills, 1 assist, 6 digs), Skylar Sweitzer (2 aces, 4 digs), Abbey James (3 kills, 36 assists, 2 aces, 7 digs), Faith Zurick (1 dig), Tailyn Kite (4 kills, 2 assists), Marisa Krinock (11 kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks), Trilby Kite (1 kill, 2 assists 8 digs), Kate Tate (6 kills, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 digs), Julia Rill (3 kills, 4 aces, 4 digs).
York Suburban stats — Georgia DuMars (2 kills, 32 assists, 1 block, 4 digs, 1 ace), Jordan Landis (9 kills, 4 blocks, 2 digs), Ali Reindecker (6 kills, 1 block, 18 digs, 2 aces), Ciara Buckingham (8 kills, 3 blocks, 6 digs), Parker Faircloth-Henise (7 kills, 9 blocks), Miranda Kauffman (7 kills, 1 assist, 5 blocks), Emily Hamberger (1 assist, 8 digs, 1 ace), Molly Sargen (14 digs, 1 ace).
JV Score — West York def. York Suburban, 2-1