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Underdog role just right for surging West York

The West York girls’ volleyball team wasn’t in the preseason power rankings earlier in the season, and that was just fine with the Bulldogs.

They knew the team they had entering the 2016 season and believed their play would speak for itself during the course of the year.

Now, with only a handful of games left in the regular season, the Bulldogs have done just that. West York sits atop of the Division II standings and has punctuated its success with wins over last season's division-title winner Susquehannock, and last year’s league tournament runner-up York Suburban.

But the Bulldogs success hasn’t been the result of one or two players stepping up this year, it has been a collaborative effort from every member on the roster.

“It is a complete team effort,” West York head coach Joe Ramp said. “It’s not one single passer that’s doing the job, it’s all three back there. It’s not one single hitter. Of our six hitters, we have four or five just dominating and hitting 30 percent every single game…

“We’re pretty even across the board, which makes us a little bit more unique and harder to figure out where the ball's going to go.”

West York has been a team that spreads the ball around during games. During the Bulldogs win over Susquehannock in early September, Julia Rill led the team with 13 kills, but three other players recorded five or more kills during the game.

When the Bulldogs defeated Gettysburg recently, Rill recorded nine kills, but four other players had six or more kills by the end of the night.

“Any time we get one-on-one with our hitters, our hitters believe that they can take care of what they need to do,” Ramp said. “The many options we have – back row, front row wherever, set or dump – all those things help us get where we need to go.”

Senior Abbey James sees the depth and versatility the Bulldogs have as a necessity in the sport.

“Then you can just have fun and do what you do,” James said.

The Bulldogs are within grasp of clinching the YAIAA Division II title. Ramp and his squad think they can do more than just win a division championship however — they have their sights set on county and district titles as well.

West York is ranked first in District 3 Class 3A, but the Bulldogs have flown under the radar for most of the regular season. Part of that has been a motivational tool for the Bulldogs, however, who enjoyed the underdog role they’ve taken on.

“It really motivates us to come out and show it. Now I think people are starting to notice us a little more,” James said. “But I definitely like that. It’s always been like that with West York. We’ve been a little bit down and then we just come up for the win.”

Tuesday's match

Who: West York (15-1 overall, 10-0 in YAIAA Division II) at Eastern York (6-5 overall, 5-5 in YAIAA Division II) 
What: YAIAA Girls' volleyball  
Where: Eastern York High School  
When: 7 p.m. 
More coverage: Click here for this week's YAIAA sports schedule