Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mike Prociak and Royals prevail in first round of PIAA state volleyball tournament

May 29. 2014 12:45AM
Tom Fox For the Times Leader

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DALLAS – This was supposed to be the happiest day of Mike Prociak’s life.

It was set up to be spectacular. A big victory in the opening round of the PIAA Class 2A state volleyball playoffs in the afternoon, and a jaunt across the stage at Holy Redeemer with diploma in hand at night.
Ninty minutes into the match, other thoughts entered the senior’s mind.
“I was worried at one point that I would be frowning throughout my graduation,” Prociak said. “This is the craziest game I ever played. You know that this could be the last game that you ever play. We knew we could get through it. It’s going to be a great night.”
Never fret, young man. Everything works out in the end.
Prociak had a match-high 29 kills, and Holy Redeemer fought off a six-point deficit in the fourth set and a three-point setback in the deciding stanza en route to an epic, 3-2 win over York Suburban at Dallas High School.
Match scores were 25-22, 24-26, 25-27, 28-26 and 17-15.
Redeemer, ranked No. 4 in the state, advances to play District 3 runner-up Garden Spot, a 3-0 victor over Nanticoke.
Jack Kablick knew it wasn’t going to be easy. As soon as he saw the state bracket, the Redeemer coach understood the tussle at hand.
The Royals and York Suburban met up in an early-season tournament, a one-set event won by the Royals, 31-29. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the margin of all five sets Wednesday was a mere 11 points.
York Suburban might have been the fourth seed from District 3, but the Trojans had to contend with hard-hitting senior Jacob Kauffman, an all-state player and probably the best hitter Redeemer has seen all season.
“This match was like a roller coaster, it really was,” Kablick said. “That North Pocono final in districts was a tough one, and it prepared us for this. We had so many two-point victories this year, and when we lost the second and third sets by two points, I thought it was catching up to us. These guys just grind out matches and keep their cool. If they were flustered, they never showed it.”
The Royals might have used all of their nine lives.
Already down 2-1 in the match, the Trojans jumped out to a 15-9 lead in the fourth set. Just when it appeared over, Ken Rexer used a big run behind the service line, and inch by inch, Redeemer crawled back to knot it at 24 before pulling out the 28-26 victory.
“You have to focus on what you are doing because you only play one point at a time,” Rexer said. “You have one job, and you have to get it done. You just try to stay calm. You have to rely on your teammates because they can give you a lot of relief.”
It looked eerily similar in the final set. Kauffman kept swinging away, trying to land the knockout blow. And to the faithful in attendance, you couldn’t help but notice a little concern as the Royals were down 9-6 in a race to 15.
Enter Prociak and breakout sophomore John Carr, who combined for nine kills in the fifth.
The key play, though, was pure determination. With Redeemer down one, 17-16, junior setter Mike Conlon went up to the net and won a possession battle with Trojan Ryan Bury, slapping the ball back to the York Suburban side of the court.
Conlon’s scream could be heard around the gym, and it fired up his teammates. Redeemer scored the next two points to secure a memorable, 3-2 victory.
“I wasn’t going to lose that point,” Conlon said. “Every single player worked so hard in the gym for this moment. We gave up a lot of our Saturdays, getting up early and everything. That play was indicative of our team. We are a strong-willed team. We aren’t going down without a fight.”
The Trojans were their own worst enemy – racking up 21 service errors and 19 attack miscues.
“That’s been the story of our season, and it doesn’t matter what match we are in,” Suburban head coach Jamie Evans said. “When you give away a free point or miss an opportunity, it hurts you. If you have half of those back, you might win. We were there. There were so many momentum shifts. We just got caught at the end.”
Garden Spot 3, Nanticoke 0
Matt Winters had seven kills and four blocks as the Trojans fell to Garden Spot in three straight sets. Ed Lukowski also had 17 assists.
Northeastern 3, Coughlin 0
The Crusaders ended their season by being swept in three straight sets to Northeastern.

Holy Redeemer 3, York Suburban 2

York Suburban`22`26`27`26`15
Holy Redeemer`25`24`25`28`17
YS — Jacob Kauffman 23 kills, 17 digs; Ryan Bury 14 kills; Lars Dalemar 28 assists, 10 digs; Josh Teague 21 digs.
HR Mike Prociak 29 kills, 9 blocks; John Carr 19 kills, 5 blocks; Ken Rexer 15 service points; Mike Conlon 48 assists.

Garden Spot 3, Nanticoke 0


Garden Spot`25`25`25

NAN — Matt Winters 7 kills, 4 blocks; Ed Lukowski 17 assists, six blocks, Robert Burke 5 kills.

GS — (not reported).

Northeastern 3, Coughlin 0



COU — (not reported)

NE — (not reported)

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