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Red Lion wins dramatic YAIAA volleyball championship

The night may have been filled with tense moments, but the Red Lion girls' volleyball team ended it as YAIAA champions on Tuesday.

After beating West York in five thrilling sets in the semifinals, the Lions had a quick turnaround before beating York Suburban in an equally grueling four sets, 3-1 (25-17, 36-34, 26-28, 27-25). It was Red Lion's first league title since 2006.

"This is what hard work gets you, this is what they deserve," Red Lion coach Heather Schoemaker said. "They know what our expectations are, and they just performed. It's that mind over matter mentality. They were emotionally and physically exhausted but everyone did their job in the end."

The finals, which took place directly following the semifinals at Dallastown High School, started easily enough for the Lions with an eight-point win in the first set. But the match would quickly become more dramatic.

The highlight of the match was the second set, as the two teams were a point away from winning a combined 12 times before Red Lion finally claimed it, 36-34, on a York Suburban foul.

But down 2-0, York Suburban wouldn't go down without a fight. The Trojans won the third set and led the fourth by six points, before eventually allowing a Red Lion comeback that claimed the title for the Lions.

"Our goal was to get that banner, and we put in all that hard work to see it up there and we can always remember this," Red Lion outside hitter Lindsey Blevins, who had 29 kills in the finals, said. "I can't even process it, I'm so happy right now. It's an indescribable feeling."

In the semifinals, Red Lion dropped the first set to West York before wining two in a row and eventually taking the match, 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-20, 15-13). York Suburban swept Central York 3-0.

It was the second straight season York Suburban lost in the finals, as the Trojans fell to Delone Catholic last season.