School: Holy Redeemer
Sport: Boys volleyball
Position: Middle blocker
All in the Family: Mike, 17, is the son of Steve and Antoinette Morrison of Dallas. He has an older brother, Nicholas and his younger sister Monica plans to play volleyball when she enrolls at Holy Redeemer in the fall.
Stats: At the biggest time of Redeemer’s season, nobody came up bigger than Morrison. Sometimes known as “the other” 6-foot-7 player on Redeemer’s front line, Morrison registered 22 kills and seven blocks in two PIAA playoff games while leading the Royals into today’s state semifinal round. Before picking up his diploma at Redeemer’s graduation ceremonies Wednesday, Morrison blocked five points in an opening-round state victory Wednesday over Schuylkill Valley. Then he powered a state quarterfinal sweep of Manheim Central with a team-leading 13 kills Saturday.
Above the net: Morrison made sure it was more than just numbers that added up to a couple of dominating state victories for Redeemer. His imposing presence in the middle neutralized two of the state’s top hitters and catipulted the Royals’ offense during two impressive games. Morrison shut down Schuylkill Valley’s killing machine Mitch Strobel in the state opener, then held Manheim Central’s all-everything league MVP Josiah Hershberger to single digits in kills during the quarterfinals. That opened the floor for fellow 6-7 big man Mike Prociak to pound home 27 kills in two games.
Coach’s corner: “Mike Morrison might be the best blocker in the state,” Holy Redeemer coach Jack Kablick said. “There’s really nobody that blocks like him. He came so far from last year - this is night and day. Now he’s dominant. He knows it, too.”
Did you know? Morrison is a bass player in the local band 25 Centsmoke - “I like to think of myself as an avid musician,” he said - and the group spent Sunday evening entertaining at an area graduation party.
From his angle: “It all starts with the passer,” Morrison said of his uncanny blocking ability. “I try to read where the pass is going, where the setter’s going, then I read the hitters. It’s a big process. I know that’s my job to do for the team and I don’t worry about whether my name’s in the paper or not. As long as we’re coming out with the W, that’s what matters. I just tried to play to the best of my ability and it turned out well. I’m just loving every minute of it.”
Week in review: Talk about changing fate with one swing. Wyoming Valley West freshman pinch hitter Ryan Hogan provided the most dramatic hit of the baseball season by driving a two-out double to the right-center field gap at PNC Field, bringing home the winning run from first base to give the Spartans a 2-1 victory over Scranton and the District 2 Class 3A championship. Nobody was happier to see that district-winning hit than Spartans starter Chris Nixon, who earned the victory by pitching a two-hit gem in that game last Monday. And Valley West’s Jeremy Sabecky had two of the team’s six hits and scored the game’s first run of the district title game. … Want more drama? Hazleton Area pitcher Becky Demko not only shut out Williamsport, she delivered the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Williamsport 1-0 for the District 2-4 title last Tuesday. That on the same day Berwick’s Margaret Bridge fired a four-hitter during a tough 2-0 District 2 title loss to Valley View. And on Friday, Holy Redeemer’s Sydney Kotch had two hits and scored for the second time on a squeez bunt to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over Holy Cross in a District 2 title game. … In girls lacrosse, Wyoming Seminary’s Kristen Mericle scored three goals and had two assists in a state victory over Lewisburg, then scored two goals in a second-round state loss. Her teammate, goalie Kelsey Gavin, made 15 saves over the two state games, including a few key ones that kept the Blue Knights in the second-round game for awhile. … It wasn’t just Morrison coming up big for Redeemer’s boys volleyball team. Fellow 6-7 giant Mike Prociak made 15 kills in a first-round state game, then came back with 12 more against Manheim Central. Brendan Leahigh made 20 kills and served 13 points over those two state games, while Jeremy Myslowski made 42 assists, had 20 service points, made nine kills and had six digs.