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Mid Penn girls volleyball expands to 4 divisions

Franklin County girls volleyball may never be the same again.

Each year, the Mid Penn Conference looks at its realignments to decide if things should be changed, and this year, girls volleyball got an overhaul.

"There were two big reasons," said Vicki Ritchey, athletic director at Greencastle-Antrim and former Mid Penn girls volleyball chairperson. "The first was to try to get a better alignment as far as 3A schools being within the same division. Another thing was because schedules were so full with only three divisions, you were getting 16 to 18 games scheduled for you, and it was difficult for schools to pick up outside contests with schools in larger (class-sized) divisions."

Up until last year, girls volleyball was one of the few sports in the Mid Penn with fewer than four divisions. But ... problem solved.

There are now four girls volleyball divisions, but oddly for Franklin County, the four smaller schools are no longer in the same division. Chambersburg remains in the Commonwealth Division with the usual suspects, while James Buchanan stays in the Capitol with non-Franklin County teams.

Greencastle, Shippensburg and Waynesboro have moved to the Keystone Division to play the likes of Lower Dauphin, Mechanicsburg, Hershey and Palmyra.

"I think it's nice because we have a strong schedule," Greencastle coach Corry Eagler said. "We're still playing (James Buchanan), too, which is nice. We still consider them a rival, and playing them just once maybe will make it more special than playing them twice."

Waynesboro coach Kim Saunders said, "There's always going to be cross-county rivalries, so hopefully we'll still be able to keep those alive. We're in a rebuilding year, so playoffs are on our mind, but the furthest thing from it. But for playoff purposes, night in and night out, in this division, you're preparing yourself."

Waynesboro, the two-time defending champion of the Capitol Division, and James Buchanan will meet in the first game of the regular season, but the Rockets no longer face the Lady Hounds.

"I think those games still have a good weight on them," James Buchanan assistant coach Toryn Quivers said. "Waynesboro is our first game, so I think it'll still be fun for us to play those local teams, and the rivalries will still continue."

Although it's a shakeup for Franklin County, there's one huge benefit to having four divisions. Girls volleyball will now have a Mid Penn Conference championship series. The winner of each division will face off in a pair of semifinals before a championship game.

"I think that'll give us and other teams a different type of chance at the postseason," Quivers said. "That's definitely a good thing."

Chambersburg will play host to the Mid Penn volleyball playoffs on Oct. 22.

Mid Penn volleyball

Commonwealth Division: Chambersburg (4A), Carlisle (4A), Cedar Cliff (4A), Central Dauphin (4A), Cumberland Valley (4A), Mifflin County (4A), Red Land (4A), State College (4A)

Keystone Division: Greencastle-Antrim (3A), Hershey (3A), Lower Dauphin (3A), Mechanicsburg (4A), Palmyra (3A), Shippensburg (3A), Waynesboro (4A)

Capitol Division: James Buchanan (3A), Big Spring (3A), Boiling Springs (3A), Northern York (3A), Trinity (2A), West Perry (3A)

Colonial Division: CD East (4A), Milton Hershey (3A), Middletown (2A), Steel-High (1A), Harrisburg (4A)