Hempfield repeats as district volleyball champ
Central York's impressive District 3 volleyball tournament run -- which saw the Panthers reach the Class AAA finals for the first time since 1984 -- fizzled Saturday night at the hands of the Hempfield Black Knights.
The Panthers hung tough, but the Black Knights overpowered them, 25-16, 25-14, 25-17 at Dallastown, giving Hempfield its second-straight district gold medal.
Central still advances to the PIAA tournament. The Panthers open the playoffs against District 2 champion Delaware Valley on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.
On Saturday night, for the third straight round of district play, the Panthers put themselves in a hole early by losing Game 1.
Hempfield sped to an eight-point lead, and every time Central seemed to throw a punch and make a move, the Black Knights would counter with one of their own, and the Panthers couldn't pull within four the rest of the way.
"Against them, it's tough to start slow," Central York head coach Nate Ocasio said. "They're one of the best in the state for a reason."
In the second game, Central finally seemed to take the momentum when senior Emily Poole, who finished with eight kills, capped off a 5-0 run with back-to-back kills, tying the score at 14. But Hempfield head coach Andrew Olree called a timeout, and whatever message he delivered worked: His squad finished the game on an 11-0 run to win 25-14.
"I just told them to keep serving aggressive, and they'll start passing poorly," Olree said. "That's our whole game plan. We just want to be aggressive."
That dominant run seemed to rattle Central's confidence. The Panthers fell behind early in Game 3 and never really threatened as Hempfield pulled away, 25-16.
"Our serve-pass game was phenomenal tonight, I've just never seen a match where we played so well and came up short by that many points," Ocasio said. "They had more dig to kill opportunities, and that was a difference."
"They (Central York) played well," Olree added. "It's tough when you have such aggressive serves coming at you all night. They didn't quit, so that's props to them."
While it was a somber moment receiving silver medals as opposed to gold, Ocasio made sure to remind his team that they had nothing to hang their heads about.
"It's an accomplishment because we haven't been in this match since 1984," Ocasio said. "And we're not done yet."
Hempfield def. Central York, 25-16, 25-14, 25-17, at Dallastown
Hempfield stats - Bri Tanksley (1 ace, 1 assist, 9 digs), Jess Zellars (1 assist, 2 digs), Marrisa Wonders (2 aces, 2 kills, 32 assists, 6 digs), Katrina Shelly (13 kills, 7 digs), Aryn Dubosky (6 kills, 3 blocks), Sonia Musso (1 ace, 7 kills, 1 block, 6 digs), Mariah Cadzow (8 kills, 2 assists, 4 digs), Ally Bish (1 ace, 4 kills, 3 blocks, 1 assist, 2 digs).
Central York stats - Allison Rife (2 kills), Ashely Gallagher (6 kills, 1 block, 8 digs), Emily Poole (8 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs), Emma Saxton (17 assists, 1 block), Hannah Rishel (1 assist, 9 digs), Kamryn Stambaugh (2 kills, 1 block, 1 dig), Karah Slow (1 ace), Laura Fahs (1 ace, 9 digs), Natalie Hawksworth (1 kill, 1 dig).
2013: Cumberland Valley
2012: Cumberland Valley