Luke Braswell and his Northeastern boys' volleyball teammates will have to get up quite early Saturday morning. So will the 29 other teams that trek to Northeastern for the Bobcat Invitational, which starts bright and early at 8:30 a.m.
By the end of the night -- some 12 hours later -- Braswell should be spent. That's just how long he expects he could be playing Saturday's "meatgrinder," as coach Matt Wilson likes to call it.
"A lot elite teams come in, but not a lot of us leave feeling elite at the end," said Wilson, whose squad was eliminated by York Suburban during the play-in round of last year's tournament.
That Northeastern squad wound up making quarterfinal pool play of the PIAA championships.
Nearly the entire team returns, including Braswell and his senior brother, Stephen. With that core, plus the addition of freshman hitter Reese Devilbiss, the Bobcats (4-0 entering play Thursday) are ranked second in the state among Class AA teams by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association. They would be considered a favorite at their own invite, if not for the presence of the No. 1-ranked team, Ambridge.
Rest assured, Wilson's Bobcats and the District 7 power will watch each other closely if they don't meet -- or if they do. Wilson did not deny that.
That, of course, won't come without a plateful of powers for breakfast. Central York, ranked No. 2 in Class AAA, will be on the menu as one of eight top-10 teams from the bigger division in the state.
Such a gauntlet requires multiple gyms, which is why when Northeastern left the high school to play at the middle school last year against Suburban, it did not return. Braswell is confident such an occurrence will not happen again, and the Bobcats' early success justifies the junior setter's thinking, as well as their ranking.
They've already beat seventh-ranked Saegertown, which will be present Saturday, swept State College on the road and topped Suburban in three games.
"We feel like we're a well-rounded team," Braswell said. "We have scoring options, but we have stuff to work on. We're strong in attacking, but not exactly in defense, and we need to pick that up."
A whole day of volleyball might help alleviate that deficiency. The question is, are Braswell and his teammates ready for so much court time?
"Oh definitely," Braswell said.
He's done it before. Just once, at Central York's Koller Classic last season.
Try it out: It took only a few days after York Catholic's loss in the PIAA girls' basketball championship for Morgan Klunk to receive a text message concerning a friendly matter. The message came from Katie Linthicum, who wanted Klunk to try her hand at lacrosse.
Soon after, Klunk made her way to the lacrosse field.
"I'm attempting to play," she said with a hint of humility.
Klunk, as a first-year senior on the team, participated in a handful of practices before playing her first game Tuesday with the JVs, who beat Susquehannock, 11-9.
"I did all right," Klunk said of her self-assessment. "It was confusing. I had two assists, though."
Basketball wasn't the only sport for Klunk, who earned first-team all-state honors and finished as one of only eight players in York Catholic girls' history to score 1,000 points. She ran cross country for four years.
However, she's not the school's only basketball player taking to lacrosse this spring. Hard-nosed junior guard Amelia York also is playing.
Humble beginnings: When Spring Grove opened its baseball season with a 7-5 loss to Solanco, some might have taken notice. The Rockets were one of them.
"We were a little too high there. It took us down a notch," Will Maughlin said after a 7-6 win Wednesday vs. Northeastern. "Now we're even keel."
The Rockets had since won four straight, and their expectations have much to do with returning 11-of-15 players from last year's team that just missed a YAIAA Division I title.
"It kind of put us in our place and make us work for it," junior Devin Fisher said. "It's making us work for all of these wins, and we're doing pretty good right now."
Matt Goul is a high school sports reporter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 771-2045 or @mgoul on Twitter.