Holly Neiderer

NOT QUITE ENOUGH — Delone Catholic’s Holly Neiderer, seen here spiking the ball in a regular season game against Littlestown, notched 14 points in the Squirettes’ 3-1 loss to York Catholic on Thursday.

On a night when the Delone Catholic fans were looking to celebrate while decked out in Christmas garb, the York Catholic girls’ volleyball team played the role of the Grinch.

Or maybe Scrooge.

Either way, a loud and boisterous student section that drove all the way to York Catholic High School Thursday evening to root on the Squirettes in a District 3 Class 2-A semifinal was forced to head home disappointed.

After evening the match with a dominating effort in Set 2, the Squirettes couldn’t maintain that momentum against their parochial and York-Adams League Division 3 rivals. The Irish rebounded with strong play in Set 3 and 4 to earn a 3-1 triumph (25-12, 22-25, 25-19, 25-22), ending Delone’s season in the process.

“It’s always a fun matchup when we get together,” Delone coach Nate Staub said of the third battle with the Irish this season. “It was certainly fun to be a fan watching this. We battled back like we have all year but we just fell a little bit short.”

The Irish got off to a strong start in Set 1, racing out an 18-5 lead. As dominant as they were in the opening set, however, the Squirettes turned the tables in Set 2. Delone erased an early deficit before taking the lead for good in Set 2 at 7-6.

“I know that team (Delone) like I do the back of my hand,” York Catholic coach Phil Autrey said. “And I knew they were not going away. It’s hard to sustain that level of play we had in Set 1 and we started making a bunch of errors and instead of staying aggressive we kind of played passive.”

Autrey’s squad regrouped after dropping Set 2 by largely getting back to the aggressive play that has led to their No. 8 ranking in Class 2-A by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.

It didn’t hurt that the Irish made it nearly impossible for balls to hit the court on their side of the net either. A total of three YC starters tallied at least 16 digs, led by a 29 dig effort by Mia Citrone.

“Defensively they just kept balls off the floor,” Staub said. “They’re so scrappy. And then they have some decent kids that can but the ball away.”

Adaline Phillips led the Irish attack with 23 kills while three other YC players finished with at least five kills apiece.

The toughest part of Thursday’s showdown as the one of the two best teams in the York-Adams League would see their season end.

Staub, his team and especially the student section were all expecting Delone to advance to Saturday’s final against Trinity, but it wasn’t meant to be.

While Staub knew that the end of his first-year leading the program would eventually come to an end, Thursday’s setback meant he had to say goodbye to nine seniors that fueled the squad this season.

“This group of girls here are special,” Staub said. “They just make you want to be a part of the program. And I feel bad for the seniors. We didn’t prepare to lose and we came in tonight thinking, like we always do, that we’re going to win tonight. So it’s tough. It’s hard to see the kids after they battled like this and struggled and try to find the right words.”

Senior Makenna Mummert led Delone with 11 kills. Setter Campbell Chronister, a sophomore, dished out 24 assists while Olivia Snyder, a senior, paced the Squirettes defense with 21 digs.

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