DALLASTOWN -- These Barons are boiling hot.
Fresh off winning the program's first District Three volleyball championship last week, Manheim Central picked up right where it left off on Tuesday, breezing past Archbishop Wood 3-0 in a PIAA Class 2A first-round matchup at Dallastown High School.
Game scores were 25-14, 25-7 and 25-8, as the Barons dispatched the Vikings in a brisk, nearly error-free 54 minutes. Messiah commit Mason Nissley led the hitting brigade with 17 kills, and Central, the top-ranked Class 2A team in the PAVBCA state rankings, had a pair of quick-strike, game-changing runs against Wood, the District 12 third-seed.
Central, the L-L Section Two champ and league semifinalist, opened the second set on a 12-0 blitz. And in the third set, the Barons went 13-0 to grab a commanding 18-2 cushion.
During the 13-0 spree, Nissley had a trio of aces and a pair of kills, Ben Wolford had two spikes and Quintin Rohrer had a kill for Central.
"We were kind of going in blind and hoping for the best," Central coach Craig Dietrich said. "I said after the first game that we needed to stop playing their slower style and play our volleyball. We started attacking and imposing our will."
And the Barons never stopped.
Up next for Central is a state quarterfinal-round date on Saturday against District 12 runner-up Palumbo, which knocked out District Two third-seed Abington Heights 3-1 on Tuesday. Saturday's match will be played at a site and time to be announced.
Tuesday, the Barons were nearly flawless on defense; Wood, a Philadelphia Catholic League semifinalist under coach Sue Kilian, had just seven kills the entire match, and only one of those came in the third and final game.
Blake Wagner had four digs and Rohrer had a block for Central, which trailed 3-1 in the first game before punching it into an entirely different gear to conquer the Vikings, who simply didn't have the height up front to curtail the Barons' hitters at the net.
That left Nissley, Wolford and Brandyn Musser to tee off at will against Wood.
Since a 3-0 loss to Hempfield in the L-L semifinals on May 13, Central has rattled off four victories in a row, including a 3-0 win over York Suburban in the D3-2A title match. The Barons are simply sizzling, and Dietrich said his club has picked the perfect time of year to get hot.
"Some of the younger guys realized how much harder they're going to have to work in pressure situations, because we all have to be ready to play these upper level teams," said Wolford, who closed out Tuesday's first game with a spike.
"Tonight, we wanted to play fast," he said. "We wanted to play at a faster pace than them, like we've been doing against other upper level teams. We had to play our game."
Central was never threatened on Tuesday. After Wolford's kill gave the Barons a 4-3 lead in the first game, Central never trailed again, outscoring the Vikings 71-26 the rest of the way.
It was never close.
"We have to keep ramping it up every round now," Dietrich said. "Our confidence level is very high. We feel great about the position we're in, and we feel great about where we're headed."