BOLTS

BOLT BLOCK — Littlestown’s Ellie Staub (24) and Maddie Dunbar (2) attempt to block a hit by York Catholic’s Adeline Phillips during Thurday’s YAIAA match in the Thunderdome. The Irish swept the previously unbeaten Bolts, 3-0.

The Littlestown girls’ volleyball team started this week with a pair of eye-opening, five-set victories of Boiling Springs and Delone Catholic.

The Thunderbolts’ reward?

A Thursday date with defending District 3-2A runner-up, York Catholic.

The Irish took control early in the matchup of previously undefeated teams and never looked back, taking the victory in straight sets, 25-17, 25-21, 25-14.

“We were tired,” Littlestown coach Steve Staub said afterward. “And I don’t care how good a team you are, whether you’re York Catholic, Delone, us, anybody else in the league, when you play 10 (sets) in two days and then have to practice and then have to come back and play another really good team, it’s a long week.”

York Catholic (3-0 Y-3, 3-0 overall) looked locked in early on and took a quick 11-6 advantage in the first set thanks to strong hitting from Adeline Phillips, who led all players with 13 kills in the match.

That lead ballooned all the way out to 19-10 before Staub was forced to use a timeout. The Bolts (2-1, 3-1) fought back to within six at 21-15, but it wasn’t enough as a pair of unforced errors led to the set win for the Irish.

The second set followed almost the same script. York Catholic again raced out to a big lead, this time 10-3, before Littlestown began to find its footing. The lead was extended to 15-5 before a 6-1 run by the Thunderbolts put them back in it at 16-11. Slowly but surely, behind the hitting of Maddie Dunbar and Makayla Orwig, the Bolts closed the gap, getting within two points at 23-21.

Yet again, though, unforced miscues struck at the wrong time as Littlestown struggled to receive York Catholic serves and the Irish pulled out a 25-21 set two victory.

“It can get tough if you let it get that way,” Staub said of having to rally back in each of the first two sets. “We’re used to, in years past, fighting out of those five, six-point deficits. But our defense keeps us in it all the time. Our defense is so good this year and they’re literally what keeps us in the ball game. If we keep playing hard and we keep doing the things we do — yeah nobody wants to be down those five, six points — but our team, all 12 of our girls, always give us a chance.”

In the third set, York Catholic again took control from the outset, but this time the Irish didn’t look back. The visitors took a quick 5-2 lead before pushing it out to 10-5. From then on, Littlestown didn’t get back within five as York Catholic rolled to a 25-14 final set victory to win the match.

“When you see you have Delone and Littlestown early in the season, it’s always nice to get two road victories,” York Catholic coach Phil Autrey said after the match. “We’ve got a tough couple non-conference games coming up this weekend and on Monday, so it’s really great to have really good competition.”

The Bolts will now have a bit of time to rest as they have off until a Monday meeting with Bermudian Springs. The Irish, meanwhile, will see some of the area’s best on Saturday as they head to Trinity High for the Big 8 Catholic Volleyball Tournament.

Clay Sauertieg can be reached at csauertieg@gettysburgtimes.com

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