DALLAS ‚?? Just watch the first point of the second set, and you can see the big picture unravel before your eyes.
Nicole Slavoski threw the ball high in the air, took a massive leap and struck it. The sphere hit the white stripe on the top of the net, and gently rolled over to Wellsboro‚??s side on the court, falling in front of two defenders.
Everything went Holy Redeemer‚??s way in the PIAA Class AA girls‚?? volleyball opener.
The Royals used a strong, balanced attack to overwhelm the District 4 champ Hornets en route to a 3-0 victory at Dallas High School. Redeemer moves into Saturday‚??s state quarterfinals to face off with the winner of Delone Catholic and Masterman.
Match scores were 25-12, 25-17 and 25-12.
‚??I didn‚??t expect it to be easy. It‚??s never easy. You just didn‚??t know what to expect, to be honest,‚?Ě Redeemer head coach Jack Kablick said. ‚??We played Troy, and they were excellent, and the same with Mansfield, a team Wellsboro beat in the title game. I think we just had too many hitters.‚?Ě
Too many hitters, and too much athleticism.
Just take one look at Slavoski‚??s day.
She was versatile in her attack. One moment, she would explode through the air, and smash a kill to the court. The next time, the senior floated the ball just over the Wellsboro block to an open area.
In addition to excellent back-row play, she also took a turn as setter ‚?? lifting two beautiful passes to hard-hitting Sarah Warnagiris for easy putaways.
‚??I like to think of myself as a versatile player,‚?Ě said Slavoski, who finished with 16 kills, four digs and four aces. ‚??I think everyone on this team is versatile. I think it takes some teams by surprise. It helps a lot that we are deep and have a good level of talent.‚?Ě
Redeemer did an excellent job of revolving the offense around the entire team.
In addition to Slavoski‚??s 16 kills, Warnagiris added 16, while four other players combined for 12 kills.
‚??It‚??s a great one-two punch with Sarah and Nicole, but we are starting to get our three, four and five hitters more involved with the offense,‚?Ě Kablick said. ‚??It‚??s tough on a defense. You expect Sarah and Nicole, then all of a sudden, you get Alyssa Platko. It‚??s tough.‚?Ě
Wellsboro was overwhelmed right from the start, and really, never found an answer for Redeemer.
The Hornets trailed by seven (12-5) in the first set, and Redeemer used an 11-3 run in the middle of the third to bust the game wide open.
Behind senior standout Hannah Zuchowski, who accounted for 15 of the team‚??s 18 kills, Wellsboro was able to hang around in the middle stanza, down only 9-8 at one point. But strong serving from Kaya Swanek and a short, 9-3 run put some distance between the two squads.
‚??It‚??s hard because you can‚??t find holes on the floor,‚?Ě Wellsboro head coach Sharon Zuchowski said. ‚??No matter where you put the ball, they had the hustle and got to everything. They really wanted it. With their attack, they were able to come out of anywhere. You can‚??t let them get too far away because you are constantly digging back. Then, you start to overthink yourself. They were a real strong team. It‚??s what I expected. Hannah was kind of our spark. She kept us in the game. And every time we got a good roll going, boom, they would answer us with a big play. It‚??s disappointing.‚?Ě
Biz Eaton added 32 assists for Redeemer, while Sydney Kotch had seven digs.
‚??We are expecting the highest level of competition since there are only eight teams left in the state,‚?Ě Warnagiris said of the next round. ‚??We really have to step it up, and see what we can do.‚?Ě
: Hannah Kuchowski, 15 kills, 4 aces; Mackenzie Marple, 3 kills, 1 ace, 10 assists.
Holy Redeemer: Sarah Warnagiris, 16 kills; Nicole Slavoski, 16 kills, 4 digs, 4 aces; Biz Eaton, 32 assists, 1 kill, 1 ace.