Delone dodges West York, moves onto District 3 Class AA volleyball semifinals
Delone Catholic head coach Jason Leppo knew his team didn't need any special words of wisdom.
The Squirettes had taken the first two sets from West York in the District 3 Class AA quarterfinals, but looked sloppy in the third and trailed 17-15. Leppo called a timeout, and he cut right to the chase.
"I just said, 'what the heck are we doing?'" Leppo said. "No, it was just, we need to figure out a way to play through this and trust ourselves. There's so many distractions and we just had to trust our technique and not let the moment get in our head."
Delone Catholic would play through it, scoring seven straight points on its way to a 25-20 win that clinched a 3-0 sweep over the Bulldogs. The Squirettes won the first two sets 25-18 and 25-17.
The win advances the Squirettes to the district semifinals, where they'll play York Suburban. The Trojans knocked off Fleetwood on Tuesday 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-15) in a match played at Hempfield High School. Having lost in the District 3 finals last season, the Squirettes are determined to not come up short two years in a row. Still, they're doing their best to not get ahead of themselves.
"We went 20-3 last year and came up short, but that's the standards you set for yourself," Leppo said. "We know where we are in the season, but we're just trying to play better than we did the day before."
Delone Catholic entered Tuesday night feeling very familiar about its opponent, having beaten West York in the quarterfinals of the YAIAA tournament just eight days prior. Once again, the Squirettes wasted little time, taking a 9-1 lead to start the first set.
But the Bulldogs rallied back behind junior Marisa Krinock, who tallied three kills and two blocks in the first set to keep it close. Despite her efforts, Delone Catholic never lost the lead as they took the set 25-18.
That would become a theme of the match, as the Bulldogs kept things interesting the next two sets but were never able to capitalize on their opportunities. On a night where both teams played sloppy at times, West York continuously hurt themselves with poor serves.
"We didn't play a clean match tonight but you don't get style points this time of year," Leppo said. "I think there were a lot of good of exchanges back and forth and when you use up that energy, you tend to lose focus when you serve."
As usual, Delone Catholic had a number of standout performers, with Katie Laughman finishing with 29 assists and Amber Johnson (6 kills), Sarah Senft (7 kills, 2 assists) and Lilly Singleton (12 kills, 2 aces) all playing big roles. According to Laughman, the Squirettes' experience has helped them prepare for these playoff games.
"Each match we have to take seriously," Laughman said. Nothing is going to be handed to us, so we have to focus on each game and not on what's ahead of us."
Delone Catholic def. West York, 25-18, 25-17, 25-20, at Dallastown
Delone Catholic stats – Amber Johnson (6 kills), Katie Laughman (29 assists, 3 kills, 1 ace), Sarah Senft (7 kills, 2 assists, 2 aces), Lexi Shanabrook (4 assists), Lilly Singleton (12 kills, 2 aces), Sydney Dockins (4 kills), Karigen Emig (5 kills, 1 assist), Chloe Kindig (1 ace).
West York stats – Marisa Krinock (8 kills, 2 blocks), Abbey James (4 kills, 14 assists), Amanda Sides (6 kills), Trilby Kite (3 assists).