Lady Barons fall to GS in L-L semi-finals Dunagan leads way vs. Warwick in quarters
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Late in game two of her team’s match against Garden Spot on Monday night, Manheim Central girls volleyball coach Laurie McClure called a timeout and challenged her players.
The Lady Barons had gotten a tough break, when GS served out of rotation – which went undetected by the scorekeeper and officials – and jumped to a big 19-6 lead.
"I basically gave them the mantra like, ‘You’re Manheim Central and you’ve proven time and time again that you’re a team that doesn’t give up and you keep fighting no matter what. That’s how you’ve been in games, that’s how you’ve won games, and so what are you made of now?,’" McClure recalled. "They turned it around, so I’m really proud of them for that."
The Lady Barons did, in fact, gain some momentum at the end of game two, then carried that into the next one, where they bolted to a 12-7 advantage. GS answered, however, and finished off a 3-0 sweep (25-23, 25-15, 25-17) in the L-L League playoff semi-finals at Warwick High School.
With the win, Garden Spot advanced to the L-L championship match against Hempfield, a 3-0 winner (25-11, 25-12, 25-9) over Conestoga Valley in the other semi-final.
"(Our girls) definitely played the way I wanted them to in game one – it just didn’t fall our way," McClure said. "And then just having that (rotation) mistake in game two … (but) I like the heart that they showed and hopefully it pays off in Districts as well."
The Lady Barons get underway in the District Three Triple-A playoffs this Saturday with a Sweet 16 match against Mid-Penn’s Gettysburg at Central York at 4:30 p.m.
In the meantime, they will try to build on the positives from their match against GS, a team they split with in a pair of Section Two meetings during the regular season.
Manheim Central and the Lady Spartans were tied at 23-all late in game one, but GS star Maddy George, who finished with a match-high 13 kills and five blocks, put back-to-back kills down to clinch game one.
"We had a few more errors down the road in game one that had an effect on that outcome," McClure said. "But pretty much, it was point for point and it was going to go either way, whoever had the least errors."
The Lady Barons were looking to build on that strong performance from game one. Instead, GS took an 11-1 lead in game two with Katelyn Snader at the service line. Unfortunately for the MC girls, by the time the rotation error was noticed, it was too late.
Evie Dunagan’s 10 kills paced the Central girls, who made a valiant effort to climb back into it, but the deficit was too big and GS locked up a 25-15 win to go up 2-0.
"In the game of volleyball," McClure said, "you get those points if the scorekeeper doesn’t catch it. That’s just the way it goes. We went into a big hole and at the end of the match, we tried to turn it around a little bit and come back from that, but obviously with a 13-point gap to pick up on, it’s a little hard to do so."
Still, the Lady Barons opened game three in solid shape, taking a five-point advantage. Janae Nolt and Brooke Witmer had two blocks apiece, Sarena Greiner chipped in with an ace and 19 digs, while Lauree Wiegand finished with a team-best 20 assists.
It wasn’t meant to be, however, as Garden Spot finished it on an 18-5 run to clinch it.
"They came out at the beginning of that game and played the way they needed to win it," McClure said of her girls. "And it just didn’t continue our direction. We just had too many errors then."
Last Saturday in the L-L quarterfinals, Warwick took a 1-0 lead against Manheim Central with a 25-23 game-one win, but the Lady Barons claimed the next three to pull out a 3-1 victory (23-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-19).
"We were down once again 12-6 or so and we got on a serving run with Evie Dunagan with her jump topspin and she ran about eight to 10 points on them or so," McClure said. "We still ended up losing that first game, but I think it gave us the drive and the fire that we can play with them. They came back those last three and did what we needed to do."
Dunagan led the way for Manheim Central with 10 aces, 21 kills and 21 digs.
Gia Gruett finished with 16 kills and two blocks, while Gabby Yellets chipped in with 14 digs, Callie Donmoyer had two aces and Alexa Mohler added 45 assists to lead Warwick.
More L-L VOLLEYBALL, page B-3