LANDISVILLE -- It took the Central York girls' volleyball team nearly an entire game to knock off the rust of a weather-induced, three-day layoff during its District 3 Class AAA quarterfinal match Wednesday against Garden Spot.

Perhaps not coincidentally, that's also how long it took for Panthers senior Hadley Swartz to step to the service line.

With her team trailing late in the set, Swartz served up seven straight points -- including four consecutive aces -- to hand the Panthers the first game of their eventual sweep of the Spartans, 25-20, 27-25, 25-18 at Hempfield High School.

That set the tone for the rest of the night. Swartz served out comeback wins for Central York in each of its first two games, before the Panthers ran away with the third set.

"We tend not to do as well with long breaks," Swartz said of the three-day hiatus caused by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy. "We all tried to get into the gym before we got here, tried to get some reps in. We always start slow, but we pick it up."

The sixth-seeded Panthers advanced to play No. 2 seed Exeter (16-0) tonight in a 6 p.m. semifinal at Dallastown Area High School. The top three finishers in the Class AAA tournament make the state playoffs.

Central York (13-3) heaped pressure on third-seeded Garden Spot from the service line -- it had 13 aces, seven of them by Swartz.

Even more important was the Panthers' ability to make key runs late in games. Both teams played spotty at times, but Central was able to take advantage of the openings afforded to them by the Spartans (13-3).


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"We couldn't practice for three days. Sometimes it's hard to find a rhythm," Central York coach Nate Ocasio said. "It was a little frightening going in Game 1 and 2, because we didn't know how we'd respond after being off three days."

Even Swartz seemed off early. She sprayed several balls out of bounds or into the net early in Game 1 -- uncharacteristic for a player who routinely leads the Panthers in kills.

"I think she made the first five attacking errors in Game 1," Ocasio said. "Halfway through the match, I said, 'You just got to take the game and throw it in the bag. Great players need to step up and take over.' That's what she did toward the end of Game 1."

More specifically, it was Swartz's burrowing jump-serves that did much of the damage. When she toed the service line late in the first game, Central York trailed, 20-18. After a pair of kills by sophomore Andrea Quartey tied the set, Swartz ripped her first ace.

Then another.

Then another.

Then one more.

"I was never really taught from the beginning to underhand serve," Swartz said. "When coach first started here three years ago, he said, 'You're going to be jump-serving all the time.' "

Game 2 ended in similar fashion. This time the Panthers faced a set point at 25-24. Another Quartey kill erased that threat, and neither of Swartz's next two serves made it back over the net.

While those aces served as the knockout blow, Garden Spot coach Dennis Werner placed greater blame on his team's proclivity for lulls and untimely errors. The Spartans built a six-point lead early in Game 1 and a four-point edge midway through Game 2.

"We were in control the first two games," Werner said. "We just threw it away."

Erin Dobbeck doled out 33 assists for Central York, while Quartey and Sydney Gallagher each chipped in nine kills.

Maddy George had a team-high nine kills for Garden Spot.

@johnsclayton; 771-2045

 
at Hempfield H.S.
CENTRAL YORK 3, GARDEN SPOT 0
(25-20, 27-25, 25-18)
   Garden Spot -- Maddy George (9 kills, 3 blocks), Katelyn Snader (2 aces, 21 assists), Hannah Williams (16 digs).
   Central York -- Andrea Quartey (9 kills), Naya Cheatam (3 kills, 3 aces), Alexis Biesecker (9 digs), Sydney Gallagher (9 kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks), Erin Dobbeck (33 assists, 1 ace), Taylor Akins (9 digs), Morgan Webb (7 digs), Hadley Swartz (11 kills, 7 aces), Allison Rife (3 kills).