Garden Spot vs. Lower Dauphin- PIAA 2A boys volleyball semifinal

Garden Spot's Joe Sharp (11) goes up for a hit against Lower Dauphin during second-set action of a PIAA Class 2A boys volleyball semifinal at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township on Tuesday June 8, 2021.

YORK — A pair of Lancaster-Lebanon League boys volleyball squads made the trip to Central York on Tuesday night, looking to lock up berths in PIAA championship matches.

They both came up short.

In a Class 3A state semifinal, L-L League and District 3 champ Hempfield saw its season come to a screeching halt, after the Black Knights dropped a gut-wrenching 3-2 decision against Central Dauphin.

And in a Class 2A state semifinal, Garden Spot’s fabulous run came to an end when the Spartans fell to District 3 champ Lower Dauphin 3-0.

Hempfield, which beat CD 3-2 in the district semifinals last month, was denied a 13th trip to the PIAA finals, while Garden Spot matched its 2008 club with a state semifinal appearance.

Central Dauphin 3, Hempfield 2: In a rematch of a riveting District 3 semifinal, the Rams got some revenge.

Trailing Hempfield 2-1, CD put on its rally caps, taking the fourth set to force a winner-takes-all fifth set, where the Rams overcame a 9-5 deficit to knock out the Knights, who saw their 19-match winning streak come to a close.

Game scores were a wildly entertaining 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20 and 15-12, as CD survived behind 22 kills from Tyler McConnell.

“We beat them in five, they beat us in five. That’s how close this was,” Hempfield coach Mike Vogel said. “It’s disappointing because this will sting for the kids, especially the seniors. That group has come so far for us.”

Ryan Givens piled up 19 kills and six blocks up front, and Hempfield (22-2) was sailing right along up 2-1 in the match and 14-10 in the fourth. But CD kept slugging.

“There’s only going to be one happy team in the state, and we’re going out one match too early,” Vogel said. “I have to give credit to those guys; Central Dauphin is really good. We had our opportunities but they kept fighting and they got us.”

Lower Dauphin 3, Garden Spot 0: The district-champ Falcons were as-advertised, and they eliminated the Spartans 25-17, 25-16, 25-18.

Garden Spot’s final lead in the match was 4-3 in the first set, as LD roared to big leads the rest of the way and never let the Spartans back in it. Kaden Kirchhoefer and Luke Gibbs had seven kills apiece to lead the Falcons’ balanced attack.

Jordan Martin had 24 assists, Tyler Martin had 11 digs and Laine King had 11 kills for Garden Spot, but the Spartans never got into a rhythm. Spike attempts that had fallen all season were either blocked at the net or returned, and Garden Spot had one too many hitting errors along the way.

“They were solid,” Garden Spot coach Ben Rutt said of LD. “They came out and punched us in the mouth, and we didn’t respond.”

It was a tough ending for Garden Spot, which has enjoyed one of its finest seasons in program history. The Spartans won the Section Two title before reaching the league semifinals, the district semifinals and the state semifinals.

Alas, the Spartans bowed out at 20-4 overall, while making a ton of memories and winning a bushel of big matches along the way.

“This has been an unbelievable season,” Rutt said. “It’s been surreal. At the beginning of the season there were so many question marks. But our kids kept answering every single night.

“Next thing you know we won the section. And we were in the league semifinals. And we were in the district semifinals. And we were ranked in the state. And we’re in states. It just kept going. There are a lot of other teams who would love to be in the position we’re in, so we’ll always cherish this.”

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

More LNP volleyball coverage

What to Read Next