Hempfield is the District Three Class 4A girls volleyball champion.
It should by now.
The Black Knights won their second straight — and 13th overall — district title Tuesday night with a 3-1 (25-16, 23-25, 25-19, 25-19) win over Wilson in the title match in Landisville.
It also marked the Knights’ ninth title in the last 13 years.
“The next one is always the best one,” Hempfield coach Andrew Olree said. “These girls have been fighting to put a number up there themselves after being in the shadows last year of the girls (state semifinalists), so to come in here and win it was awesome.”
The win puts Hempfield (16-0) into a PIAA quarterfinal match Saturday against District Six champion State College at a site and time to be determined.
“We’re going to be ready on Saturday,” Olree said. “These girls want to go further.”
Standing in their way this night was a tough Wilson squad that wasn’t backing down.
After the Knights took the opening set, the third-seeded Bulldogs (15-3) erased a 12-11 deficit in the second set and took an 18-13 lead. Hempfield clawed back, eventually taking a 23-22 lead, but Wilson scored the last three points of the set to even the match.
Wilson got a lift in the second set by seven Hempfield service errors as well as the play of its lengthy front line, featuring the likes of Rachel Etim, Bintou Sissoho and Kassidy Means, among others.
“That’s a group of big girls right there,” Olree said of the tall Bulldogs. “I honestly think playing Cumberland Valley on Saturday prepared us for this because they were big like that as well.”
Tied 13-13 in the third set, the Knights broke open a 19-14 advantage, and the Bulldogs only got as close as 22-19 down the stretch.
Wilson opened the fourth set with a 5-0 lead before the Knights began chipping away.
“I was not pleased with our start in that fourth set,” Olree said. “But they gained their composure on their own, came out and finished the job.”
Still trailing 15-11, Hempfield rallied with four straight points to tie it. After the Bulldogs answered with back-to-back points, the champs ran off five straight to regain control and closed it out.
“It feels so great,” said senior captain Emma Bitner, who had 29 assists and four aces. “This is my second one in a row. Adding another number to the banner feels really good.”