Posted/Updated: 6/11/2024 11:38:04 PM

Parkland boys volleyball sweeps away Central York to surge into state final

Owen Rodgers didn’t want to be present for another Central York triumph.

Instead, the Parkland High School senior, who witnessed Central York celebrate a PIAA Class 6A basketball title at the Trojans’ expense, got a measure of retribution.

Parkland’s boys volleyball team swept the Panthers 25-21, 25-19, 27-25 in the PIAA Class 3A semifinals on Tuesday night at Cocalico High School.

“Obviously, we had to get our get-back there,” said Rodgers, who was also a member of the Parkland hoops program. “One of their middles (Greg Guidinger) was a great player for them and had a great game in the state final. It feels good.”

Parkland (21-3) advances to the PIAA championship game 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Penn State University’s Rec Hall. The Trojans will meet WPIAL champion Shaler (19-1), which swept Warwick during the semifinals, in a rematch of last year’s final.

“I may have whispered it into (former Parkland basketball coach and current AD) Andy Stephens’ ear, and he said he was thinking about it as well,” Trojans coach Scott Trumbauer said about clashing with Central York. [Guidinger] is a basketball kid. He was looking to achieve something that’s pretty crazy in earning two (PIAA) golds in two different sports. Luckily, we had a heck of a game plan ... and we were prepared for whatever tonight.”

Parkland, the defending PIAA 3A champion, broke a recent trend with Tuesday’s sweep. The Trojans won the first two sets but dropped the next two during five-set, first-round and quarterfinal victories.

“That feels great,” Rodgers said. “... After we won the first two sets today, we were determined. We said, ‘Nothing is going to drop. We’re winning this in three.’”

Josh Nation, who had another stellar offensive game for Parkland, tied the third set at 25-25 with a bit of luck. The Trojans junior attempted to push the ball to setter Will Stiles, but the pass sailed over the net and onto the floor, tying the score for the 16th time in the final frame.

Central York, which entered Tuesday with an 18-0 record, was penalized for a net foul to make it 26-25. After a dig by senior libero Kumayl Soonasra, Nation blasted the final point off the Panthers block to seal the victory.

In the third set, Central York led 21-19, 23-22 and 24-23 but couldn’t put the Trojans away.

“Even when we were down late in that third set, we just found ways: touches off blocks, crazy digs,” Trumbauer said. “I told the kids in the timeout at [22-21], we’re going to need something weird to happen – somebody make a weird play, a dumb play, an unscripted play. We had a couple of those with transition plays and high-hand digs.”

The Trojans used an 8-2 streak to take control of Set 2 at 20-14. Rodgers closed the segment with a kill.

Parkland never trailed in the opening set and built a 10-5 lead when Nation punctuated a great rally with a kill, his second in a row. Nation again extended the advantage to five – at 18-13 – by looping a shot to a vacant spot.

Powered by Christian Bucks and Guidinger, Central York sliced the Trojans’ lead to 20-19. Rodgers, however, responded with a kill and fellow senior Luke Smith followed with a block to extend the advantage to 23-20. A hitting error gave the Trojans the opening frame at 25-21.

The Parkland block had a sensational evening with Smith, Rodgers, Alex Wilby, Brady Hayward and Nation all getting in on the action at the net.

“We watched a lot of film, so we knew what was coming,” Rodgers said. “We just had the angles and sealed everything up.”

Trumbauer indicated that serve-receive and blocking were important elements to the team’s success.

“Everybody played well; everybody communicated,” the coach said. “From the sideline to the bench to the coaches, everybody was on the right page today ... They (the Panthers) started to collapse and crack a little bit under pressure. Our block was big; it was constant.”

Parkland went 23-0 en route to the state title last season. This spring’s path had more bumps, including being swept by Delaware Valley (Pa.), which Central York defeated in the PIAA quarterfinals.

The Trojans, who are 2-0 all-time in state finals (2015, 2023), could bank on their postseason experience when it became win-or-go-home time.

“It’s nearly impossible to have any more experience at this level,” Trumbauer said of his group. “They continue to keep achieving and earning their wings.”

Indeed, the Trojans, who have 13 seniors on the roster, keep ascending and now appear just as dangerous as last year’s group, which featured Player of the Year Chase Robbins.

“It just shows how deep we are,” said Rodgers, about reaching the state final again after graduating their top player. “Most of us have been playing since we were sophomores. It’s a big senior-led squad with Josh as a junior. It means a lot to be able to do it on our own.”

And Saturday, Parkland will try to do it again.

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Questions/Comments? Contact Scott Trumbauer