YORK—The senior night recognition ceremony is supposed to be a happy night for the home team.
For the Dukes, it was anything but.
The Central City Bison came to York Thursday with the idea of spoiling the York parents night and senior recognition ceremony and did just that as they outlasted the Dukes by the scores of 22-25, 25-20, 28-26, 18-25, and 15-11. It is the first loss of the season for the Dukes when matches have gone to a fifth set.
The contest came down to a fifth set that was a see-saw affair. The Bison jumped out to a 7-2 lead only to see the home team get hot and tie matters at 11-11. From that point on, it was all Bison as they scored the final four points of the match on two unforced Duke errors and two kills of their own to secure a 15-11 win.
York coach Kayla Makovicka was justifiably down following the contest.
“I don't want to be a roller coaster team,” Makovicka said. “I think we have the ability to beat the top teams but did not begin to show that we could tonight.”
The Dukes never trailed in the first game and often times held a three or four-point lead. Credit the Bison, however, as they fought back each time and tied the match on six occasions.
Set number two was nearly the same scenario except the Bison had the upper edge most of the way even though York had early leads of 8-7 and 9-8. After the Dukes pulled even at 15 all, Central City pulled away to win the game scoring five of the game's final points.
In the third set, York had a chance to take a 2-1 edge in set when they had two set points, leading 24-22. However, a service error followed by an attack error and a Bison kill put the visitors on top.
The Dukes were not going to let this game get away without a fight as they tied it up at 26 apiece. Two consecutive points gave Central City the set and a 2-1 lead in match.
Makovicka commented on the Dukes play from the beginning.
“We didn't start with a lot of energy,” the York coach said. “It was clear that Central City came to play. It just seemed that we were one step too slow on every ball. It may have been a matter of the girls underestimating Central City.”
York wasn't too slow in the fourth set as they rallied from a 6-3 deficit to take a 11-7 lead before Central City coach Heather Negus took a time out. After widening its lead to 16-10, Central City was bound and determined to end the match in four sets as they narrowed the score to 17-16.
York, undefeated in its four previous five-set matches, said no way and charged to the finish line to win 25-18 setting up the winner take all fifth game.
The statistical leaders for the Dukes were Aleah Rosenau, Erica Koehler, and Sarah Stephens with 23,18 and 14 kills, respectively. Elizabeth Harlow won the digger's award with 16 and Olivia Stubbs was credited with 66 set assists.
Makovicka commented on Koehler's performance.
“Erica (Koehler) had a very good night,” Makovicka said. “She stayed aggressive with her attacks, had three ace blocks, and added four ace serves.”
Not only was the loss a disappointment to the coaching staff, the seniors who lost on their home court for the last time during their careers had to have bitter tastes in their mouths as well.
The loss dropped the Dukes record to 10-9 for the season and eliminated any chance of hosting a first-round conference tournament game in the friendly confines of York High.