Treating every YAIAA tournament game like its just another game is getting more difficult for Delone Catholic.
The Squirettes beat West York, 25-12, 25-11, 25-18, in Monday's YAIAA quarterfinals at Dallastown High School, taking one step closer to becoming the first team to win four straight YAIAA tournament titles since Susquehannock from 2002-05.
"In the grand scheme of things, this is just a scrimmage ... we want to use this as a chance to play good teams to make sure that we're ready for districts and hopefully beyond," Squirettes coach Jason Leppo said. "But I guess when we've won it multiple times in a row, we realize these are things that don't happen very often. Each year it probably gets a little bit more meaningful."
And the more they keep winning, the more the rest of the league wants to see them go down. When West York took a 9-5 lead early on in Game 3 of their match, people from across the gym — including those watching a match between Susquehannock and South Western, and even a few Mustangs players on the bench — gazed over to see if the Bulldogs could take a game from the three-time defending champions. Fans of all three teams other than Delone Catholic cheered loudly when West York scored.
"Everyone likes to see the champion go down and root for the underdog, or in this case, the bulldog," Leppo said. "It doesn't surprise me, but it's not something we listen for."
There's sure to be plenty of noise when the Squirettes face the only other team to go undefeated in YAIAA play, Division I champion Central York, in Tuesday's semifinals. The Panthers beat Hanover, 25-18, 25-10, 25-9, in their quarterfinal match to keep an undefeated season going earlier on Monday, and the players hung around to watch the first game of Delone Catholic's match.
"I don't think our team's ever been intimidated by Delone," Central York coach Nate Ocasio said. "They've beaten us the last two years (but this tournament) is just an opportunity for us to get better and focus on the district run and kind of tune up some things."
Both teams went undefeated in non-tournament play, so their semifinal match will likely feel like a final. But whichever team gets through will still need to beat the winner of the semifinal match between Division II champion Susquehannock and Division II runner-up York Suburban to win the tournament.
Division II champion Susquehannock was the only team that needed an extra game to advance out of the quarterfinals, beating South Western, 25-17, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20.
York Suburban advanced after sweeping Red Lion, 25-22, 26-24, 25-15. The Trojans trailed early in Game 1 before rallying and scoring the final five points of the game, then edged the Lions in a back-and-forth second game that seemed to deflate Red Lion.
"This is definitely one of the more competitive fields top to bottom, where you have matches where you really don't know whose going to win," Leppo said. "Usually there's one or two favorites that jump out, but you can probably make a case for a lot of the teams making a deep run."
Central York def. Hanover, 25-18, 25-10, 25-9
Central York stats — Allison Rife (9 kills, 1 ace, 2 digs), Ashley Gallagher (7 kills, 12 digs), Emily Poole (9 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs), Emily Wilt (2 kills), Emma Saxton (2 kills, 25 assists, 3 aces, 4 digs), Hannah Rishel (1 ace, 3 digs), Jalissa Linz (1 ace, 4 digs), Kamryn Stambaugh (4 kills, 1 block), Karah Slow (1 assist, 6 digs), Laura Fahs (1 kill, 1 assist, 2 aces, 10 digs), Maddison Luring (4 assists, 1 ace), Natalie Hawksworth (1 kill, 4 digs).
Hanover stats — No stats available.
York Suburban def. Red Lion, 25-22, 26-24, 25-15
York Suburban stats — Georgia DuMars (5 aces, 34 assists, 3 digs), Jordan Landis (12 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 16 digs), Ali Reinecker (9 kills, 1 dig), Ciara Buckingham (10 kills, 1 ace, 5 blocks, 5 digs), Parker Faircloth-Henise (6 kills, 4 blocks), Miranda Kauffman (1 kill, 1 block, 1 dig), Emily Hampberger (8 digs), Molly Sargen (3 aces, 7 digs), Eryn McBride (14 digs).
Red Lion stats — Rachel Groff (13 assists, 4 digs), Brooke Gladfelter (4 kills, 2 blocks), Emily Sterner (8 digs), Lindsey Blevins (10 kills, 2 blocks, 4 digs), Lauren Enfield (2 kills, 1 assist, 8 digs), Logan Dontell (2 kills, 8 blocks, 2 aces, 3 digs).
Susquehannock def. South Western, 25-17, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20
South Western stats — Abigail Gatz. (2 assists, 25 digs), Hannah McMaster (9 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 26 assists, 12 digs), Tori Sager (4 kills, 1 ace, 18 digs), Summer Small (15 kills, 1ace, 2 blocks, 4 digs), Kaitlyn Chell (1 kill, 15 digs), Paige Rager (7 kills, 1 block, 1 digs), Bonna Sheehan (6 kills, 1 ace, 18 assists, 9 digs), Morgan Czapp (1 dig), Madisyn McMaster (8 kills, 9 digs), Megan Wolf 1ace, 3 digs).
Susquehannock stats — Laura Savin (13 kills, 3 aces, 1 block, 13 digs), Kelly Franz (1 kill, 7 aces, 33 assists, 20 digs), Karah Sweitzer (3 aces, 26 digs), Kelly Doogan (1 kill, 5 aces, 2 blocks, 7 digs).
Delone Catholic def. West York, 25-12, 25-11, 25-18 at Dallastown
West York stats — Amanda Sides (4 kills, 1 ace, 6 digs), Emily Krout (3 digs), Skylar Sweitzer (1 dig), Abbey James (4 kills, 19 assists, 5 digs), Faith Zurick (1 dig), Tailyn Kite (1 assist, 1 block), Marisa Krinock (6 kills, 1 block, 2 digs), Trilby Kite (6 digs), Kate Tate (4 kills), Julia Rill (1 kill, 3 digs).
Delone Catholic stats — Amber Johnson (6 kills), Katie Laughman (1 kill, 37 assists, 12 digs, 1 block), Sarah Senft (12 kills, 2 aces, 7 digs), Lexi Shanabrook (13 digs), Lilly Singleton (7 kills, 1 assist, 3 aces, 5 digs), Emily Welsh (1 ace, 1 dig), Sydney Dockins (4 kills, 3 blocks), Karigen Emig (9 kills, 1 ace, 8 digs), Kayla Ewart (1 assist, 6 digs), Claire Kaufmann (1 kill, 1 dig), Chloe Kindig (2 aces, 1 dig).