Attention sports fans, especially volleyball lovers.
Circle Tuesday, Oct. 20 on the calendar and make plans to head to Red Lion High School.
Barring a major upset, the YAIAA Division I title should be decided that night between Central York and the host team.
And if Wednesday evening was any indication, the trip to Lion country will be well worth it.
With both teams coming into the match unbeaten in league play, the Panthers and Lions locked up in a five-set nail-biter in the Central York gym and – as one might expect – needed a little extra play to decide the winner.
Central York standout Emily Poole recorded a match-high 15 kills in helping her squad to a 25-17, 18-25, 23-25, 25-16, 16-14 victory, pushing the Panthers' league mark to 5-0.
"It was nice to get battle-tested," said Panthers coach Nate Ocasio. "It was good to see our kids respond, especially in a five-game match and (being) down 2-1. It showed we don't get rattled down 2-1."
The Panthers, also 5-0 overall, could have easily been up 2-1 as the third game was tied as late as 22-all.
But Red Lion (4-1, 4-2) got kills from Lindsey Blevins (12 for the match) and Logan Dontell (10 kills) sandwiched around a Central York attacking error to claim the 25-23 game. It looked as if momentum was on the Lions' side.
However, the home team never trailed in the fourth game and forced the deciding game with an easy nine-point win behind four kills from Allison Rife and two kills and a block from Kamryn Stambaugh.
"Up 2-1, I think we felt a little too comfortable. And we didn't execute the game plan," said Lions coach Heather Shoemaker.
For the final game, Ocasio had one move up his sleeve – moving Poole along the net.
Normally playing on the right side, Ocasio switched Poole to the left side. In the first four games, the Lehigh-bound senior was automatic from the left out of serve-receive. So it was a logical move and paid major dividends with five kills — including one off the head of a Red Lion defender — that gave the Panthers match point.
Not bad considering it was the first time Ocasio had played that card but he was confident about the decision from the start.
"In practice we have a drill called Oragami where everybody plays every position. We knew she'd be fine there," he said.
Even with the big effort from Poole, the final game feature five lead changes and a Red Lion lead as late as 13-11, which prompted a Central timeout.
A Poole kill and an ace from setter Emma Saxton tied the game at 13, forcing a Lion timeout.
An attack error by Blevins gave Central it's first match point which Blevins promptly erased with a kill, tying it at 14.
Off a backset from Saxton, Poole drilled the ball down the line, catching the Red Lion defender in the head. The final point came on a miscommunication between two Lions players, as the ball fell harmlessly to the ground.
Central York def. Red Lion, 25-17, 18-25, 23-25, 25-16, 16-14 at Central York
Red Lion stats — Rachel Groff (33 assists, 14 digs), Brooke Gladfelter (1 kill, 2 blocks, 2 digs), Emily Sterner (7 digs), Lindsey Blevins (12 kills, 4 aces, 11 digs), Lauren Enfield (6 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces, 13 digs), Logan Dontell (10 kills, 3 blocks, 1 assist, 12 digs), Kayla Johnson (1 block), Jenna Enfield (3 aces, 1 assist, 4 digs).
Central York stats — Emma Saxton (1 kill, 4 aces, 1 block, 40 assists, 15 digs), Emily Poole (15 kills, 3 blocks, 1 dig), Allison Rife (10 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig), Kamryn Stambaugh (9 kills, 2 aces, 5 blocks, 7 digs), Laura Fahs (1 ace, 15 digs), Hannah Rishel (3 aces, 11 digs).
JV Score — Central York def. Red Lion 2-0.