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Last updated: September 27. 2013 12:22AM - 748 Views
TOM FOX For The Times Leader



Jocelyne Vazquez finished with eight aces for the Grenadiers in their sweep of Pittston Area Thursday.
Jocelyne Vazquez finished with eight aces for the Grenadiers in their sweep of Pittston Area Thursday.
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WILKES-BARRE – Jocelyne Vazquez set the tone from the opening serve, and her teammates were happy to follow her lead.


Vazquez ripped off six straight points to open up the match as GAR proved too tough behind the service line en route to a 3-0 victory over Pittston Area in Wyoming Valley Conference play.


Game scores were 25-14, 25-18 and 25-11.


The win snaps a six-match losing streak for GAR (3-6), while the Patriots are still searching for their first win in 2013.


“We are realizing how important the concept of a team is,” GAR first-year head coach Hattie Caruso said. “You have to work together to achieve positives and progress forward.”


No doubt, it was a team effort behind the service line. And Vazquez was a huge part of it.


The senior outside hitter had three aces in the first six points of the first set, and was more impressive to start the final stanza – ripping off nine straight points on her serve, five of them consecutive aces.


It wasn’t just Vazquez. Junior Brittany Stephenson added six, while GAR combined for 20 team aces.


If you are looking for a way to stop a six-match losing streak, that’s a pretty good way to start.


“We have been working hard in the gym every day, perfecting our serves,” Caruso said. “We work on focusing on service placement, and understanding what serves will be in. We want to be in control of our serves, and understanding where the right spot is. Serving is such a big part of this game. We have to stay focused and keep control there.”


Having Banessa Flores on your side of the court doesn’t hurt, either.


The sophomore setter was in the right spots. She had 22 assists, and wasn’t called for a setting violation the entire match. She utilized a strong jump-serve, and showed incredible hustle – digging several balls off the net to keep the point alive.


She spread her assists to five different attackers, and added three kills of her own.


“She is a young lady who has been working hard since seventh grade to succeed in this position,” Caruso said. “She is doing wonderful. We are blessed that she is on our team.”


Pittston Area (0-9) struggled to find any type of offensive rhythm in front of a loud, boisterous GAR student section.


The Patriots found themselves down 18-4 in the opening set, and 10-1 in the third stanza. Danielle McAndrew’s group battled in the second, thanks to three kills from senior Kaitlyn Simyan. GAR used a 17-7 run to break open a 5-5 score and pull away to a 25-18 victory.


“It wasn’t necessarily handling the serve, we couldn’t get to the second ball,” the Pittston Area head coach said. “We didn’t have the communication. We couldn’t hear each other think or talk. Their serves were in, and I was impressed with our serves because we usually struggle there. The difference is they did a nice job of handling our serves.”


Stephenson had a match-high 11 kills, while Jackie Rocha added nine. Jacqueline Rabender had five kills to pace the Patriots.


Nanticoke 3, Berwick 0


Celeste Desilich came through with a match-high eight kills as the Trojans cruised to a 25-10, 25-10, 25-9 sweep.


Taylor Briggs had nine aces in the win.


North Pocono 3, Tunkhnanock 0


Emily Cook had 10 kills for the Trojans to go with 15 service points from Leah Jacobs in a 25-21, 25-12, 25-19 victory.


Tunkhannock’s Brooke Yeager finished with five kills.


Holy Redeemer 3, MMI Prep 0


Redeemer’s Nicole Slavoski turned in a strong effort with 14 kills in a 25-8, 25-7, 25-13 sweep.


Paige Darrow had a balanced day to lead the Preppers.


GAR 3, Pittston Area 0

Pittston Area`14`18`11


GAR`25`25`25


PA: Jacqueline Rabender 5 kills, 1 ace; Kaitlyn Simyan 3 kills, 1 ace. GAR: Brittany Stephenson 11 kills, 6 aces; Jocelyne Vazquez 9 aces, 2 kills; Banessa Flores 22 assists, 2 kills, 2 aces; Jackie Rocha 9 kills.


Nanticoke 3, Berwick 0

Berwick`10`10`9


Nanticoke`25`25`25


BER: Not reported. NAN: Taylor Briggs 9 aces, 4 kills, 5 digs; Lauren Rinehimer 1 service point, 4 aces, 2 kills, 19 assists, 1 dig; Celeste Deslich 5 aces, 8 kills, 1 block, 1 dig


North Pocono 3, Tunkhannock 0

North Pocono`25`25`25


Tunkhannock`21`12`19


NP: Emily Cook 10 kills; Leah Jacobs 15 service points, 13 kills. TUN: Michelle Goodwin 10 kills; Erin Smith 16 assists, 6 digs; Brooke Yeager 5 kills, 8 digs


Holy Redeemer 3, MMI Prep 0

MMI Prep`8`7`13

Holy Redeemer`25`25`25

MMI: Paige Darrow 5 service points, 1 ace, 3 digs, 1 block, 1 kill; Amber Ferry 2 service points, 2 digs, 3 assists; Emily Bogarski 3 service points, 1 ace, 2 digs, 1 kill


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