Red Lion volleyball headed to district final
LANDISVILLE – Hollering to the rafters and dropping to the hardwood floor, Red Lion let it be known which team was headed to the District 3 championship match.
Red Lion survived a back-and-forth, five-game match to pull out a 3-2 victory in a District 3 Class 4A semifinal Thursday at Hempfield High School. Two points away from recording a sweep, Red Lion dropped games 3 and 4 only to recover just in time.
When it mattered the most, Red Lion found a way, securing a 26-24, 25-15, 23-25, 11-25, 15-9 victory. The win propels the Lions to the District 3 title game. The Lions will play the Hempfield winner at 7 p.m. Saturday at Dallastown.
"We realized in the fifth set we have to come together as a team," Lindsey Blevins said. "We are really grateful for this; this is amazing. ... It feels like such a relief, knowing how much hard work we all put in. Now we can just go. I'm ready to win."
Blevins recorded 20 kills, and Lauren Enfield had 15. Exeter countered with Bair Eckel's 11 kills and Emily Hangen's eight kills.
Entering Thursday's match, the Lions hadn't lost a game in the district tournament. But that streak looked in jeopardy in Game 1. In fact, the Lions had to erase Exeter’s early lead.
Unfortunately, an officiating crew that came into question during the opening game of Thursday's playoff doubleheader once again took center stage in Game 1 of the nightcap. The officials ruled Red Lion had won the game point, while Exeter asked for a tip to be called. Moments later, the umpire ruled the call would stand. Exeter’s fans erupted in disbelief. Moments later, after both sides had calmed down, Exeter’s coach Jason Grove was issued a yellow card while he sat quietly awaiting the start of Game 2.
“Are you kidding me?” he asked in disbelief.
Exeter seemed shell-shocked, falling in quick order in Game 2.
By Game 3, Exeter rallied from a 23-21 deficit to avoid the sweep.
"It was a lack of focus," Red Lion coach Heather Schoemaker said. "I think we had that 8-1 run ... we got comfortable."
After being demolished Game 4, Red Lion kept its undefeated streak in Game 5s this season by doing what it did so well in the opening two games.
"We gained our focus, we maintained what we needed to do," Schoemaker said.