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Fall sports lookahead: 5 storylines to watch in 2016

Football may be right around the corner, but there is plenty to be excited about pertaining to other fall sports that will be in action soon enough as well. From competitive volleyball and soccer programs, to changes in the scoring format in tennis, YAIAA fans will have plenty to look forward to in 2016.

Here are five things to keep an eye on for the upcoming high school fall sports season:

Another exciting girls' volleyball season

It’s no secret the YAIAA has a pretty talented crop of volleyball players and that usually translates to success for the area teams. That will surely be the case again in 2016, even as teams see some changes to their roster.

Delone Catholic has the most glaring changes after graduating several high-profile starters such as Katie Laughman and Sarah Senft. Still, the deep roster that helped the Squirettes win division and league titles, as well as reach the District 3 title game, will likely make up for the losses from last season.

Central York, York Suburban, Red Lion and Susquehannock will also be competitive teams again this year. There will be no shortage of quality matches to see in the YAIAA.

Can Susky repeat their 2015 success?

The 2015 Susquehannock girls’ soccer team made plenty of noise last season. They have a Division II title to their name, reached the semifinals in the District 3 tournament, and the quarterfinals in the state tournament.

Whether they can re-create that success this year will depend on if the Warriors can make up for the loss of goal-scoring machine Maddy Mummert and their rock in net Ashley Stone. Mummert accounted for 20 of the team’s 37 goals last season and Stone made 118 stops while recording 11 shutouts.

“She’s a phenomenal athlete and … I think she is easily the best goalie in York County,” Susquehannock coach Pat Brubaker said last season.

Those two played big roles in Susquehannock’s success and finding the right players to replace them will be key for this season.

Scoring change in YAIAA tennis

The five-point scoring system is not a new concept in high school tennis, but it's application this season in the YAIAA will be a challenge for coaches across the league.

The York/Adams has traditionally used a seven-point scoring system – five singles points and two doubles points – but changed to the smaller format to three singles points and two doubles points for the 2016 season. The five-point system is used across the PIAA and in the district tournament, so the change aligns the YAIAA with the rest of the state.

But it will take some time to get used to.

It also forces coaches to put a greater emphasis on developing doubles players, especially since there will be no repeats anymore. Repeats allowed a singles player to also compete in doubles during team matches, but that will no longer be the case.

Central York boys’ soccer regroups with new core

The 2016 incarnation of the Central York soccer team understands the expectations that are on them. The Panthers captured their third-straight division title last season and reached the YAIAA and District title game.

Now the Panthers will try to capture yet another division title and make another deep run in the postseason behind a new crop of leaders. Eight seniors graduated after last school year, including 20-plus goal scorer Igor Gomes and defensive leader Jarad Wagner. Senior captain Carter Luckenbaugh and junior captain Nick Starr Jr. will take over as leaders, but head coach Frank Lenno is expecting the younger players to step up as well.

“(The leaders) know what the expectations are, but they know they can’t do it by themselves,” Lenno said. “We’re going to need a lot of younger players to step up and fill roles. And they know that.”

Dallastown looking to repeat as champs

The Wildcats have been the gold standard when it comes to field hockey in the YAIAA, and that appears to be the case in 2016.

The defending Division I champs will be returning 15 seniors to the field and six starters from last season’s team. Dallastown is looking for its fifth-straight division title and will be vying to win their fourth YAIAA title in the last five years. And after missing the state tournament by one game last season, they’ll be looking to make up for that this year.