Last updated: September 24. 2013 11:45PM - 1949 Views
By TOM FOX For The Times Leader

Hunter Watson of Nanticoke goes up to block the ball during Tuesday's match against North Pocono.
Hunter Watson of Nanticoke goes up to block the ball during Tuesday's match against North Pocono.
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NANTICOKE – Debbie Gavin saw both sides of her Greater Nanticoke Area volleyball team.

She saw what at times looked like perfect volleyball. A nice dig from the back row up to the setter, who ran the right offensive play to an open hitter for an uncontested slam.

The veteran head coach also saw a group of growing underclassmen learning on the job in the tough Wyoming Valley Conference.

Nanticoke Area hung around with North Pocono, but couldn’t overcome critical mistakes in a 3-0 conference setback.

Game scores were 25-17, 25-20 and 25-21.

Pocono (6-1) remains one game back of undefeated Holy Redeemer, while Nanticoke drops to 5-3.

“We did enough to win,” NP head coach Chris Summa said. “Nanticoke played a great game. Hats off to their coaching staff because they did a great job defensively. I’m not sure our kids were ready to play. I know we can play better, and I expect us to play better.”

No doubt, every day is a learning experience for GNA. And that’s to be expected. Fresh off a 2012 season where Nanticoke (5-3) played Redeemer tough in the district 2A final, Gavin had to replace an entire team.

She has two seniors on the roster, and a group of underclassmen with less than a handful of varsity starts under their belt heading into 2013.

“Maybe they aren’t used to that varsity pressure in big matches yet,” Gavin said. “At practice, we are improving and working hard. You watch them, and you think to yourself, ‘wow.’ Then sometimes the next day, you wonder where they went. That’s part of having an inexperienced team, but we can’t use that as an excuse.”

That very theory was on display against North Pocono.

You saw flashes of brilliance, like an amazing-but-rare kick dig by setter Lauren Rinehimer. You saw good court vision by senior Hunter Watson, who had a team-high six kills, and glimpses of the future with scrappy play from junior Celeste Desclich, sophomore Abbey Zaykoski and freshman Jenna Lipowski.

Nanticoke made runs to get back into a first set after trailing 6-1, and fought back to a 20-all tie in the final stanza.

It was just critical mistakes at inopportune times, including a rough night behind the service line in which Gavin’s squad committed 14 errors. And that’s not counting the eight attack miscues in the second set; one where Nanticoke trailed 17-10.

“If we could have got some serves in, we could have had a really good ballgame with them,” Gavin said. “We shot ourselves in the foot with the serves, there is no doubt. We had spurts of good volleyball, and then, we made mistakes at critical times. The serves were the problem. We played two or three good points, then we would have an error on the serve. We were up at one point, and had another service error or missed a pass. It’s inconsistencies that we’ll go back and correct in practice.”

Tied at 20 in the final set, it was Pocono junior hitter Mallorie Deschaine who took over. She took three perfect sets from senior Amanda Hall to build a 23-20 lead, and took advantage of two GNA errors to close the match.

Pocono, coming off a three-set loss to Redeemer last Thursday, was led by Deschaine’s nine kills.

“Losses are going to happen,” Summa said. “You have to face the adversity and overcome it. Championship teams are built on how you bounce back from a loss. We did enough to win today. But if you want to be in a championship-caliber position, we have to play a lot better.”

North Pocono 3, Nanticoke Area 0

North Pocono`25`25`25

Nanticoke Area`17`20`21

NP: Mallorie Deschaine 9 kills; Emily Cook 7 kills, 1 ace; Amanda Hall 5 kills, 19 assists.

NAN: Hunter Watson 6 kills; Lauren Rinehimer 11 assists, 2 kills; Taylor Briggs 2 kills, 2 assists, 3 aces.

Tunkhannock 3, GAR 0

Michelle Goodwin recorded six kills, seven aces and 18 service points to lead Tunkhannock to a straight-set victory over GAR.

Cailyn VanHouten added 14 service points and seven aces for Tunkhannock, while Alison Wetherbee chipped in seven kills and eight service points.

Banessa Flores had five assists and three digs to lead GAR in the loss.

MMI Prep 3, Hanover Area 0

Paige Darrow logged 19 service points, three aces, two digs and two kills as MMI Prep defeated Hanover Area in straight sets.

Sandy Bluth added 12 service points, two aces and five digs in the win, while Amber Ferri recorded 12 service points, 18 assists and two digs for the Preppers.

Heather Grady led Hanover Area with seven digs, two kills and one assist in the loss.

Holy Redeemer 3, Berwick 0

Nicole and Lauren Slavaski combined for 14 kills and 28 service points to lead Holy Redeemer to a straight-set victory over Berwick.

Kaya Swanek added four kills and nine service points in the win.


Tunkhannock 3, GAR 0



GAR: Banessa Flores 5 assists, 3 digs; Brittany Stephenson 2 kills, 2 aces, 3 digs; Jocelyne Vasquez 1 kill, 1 block, 4 digs.

TUNK: Michelle Goodwin 6 kills, 18 service points, 7 aces; Cailyn VanHouten 14 service points, 7 aces; Alison Wetherbee 7 kills, 8 service points.

MMI Prep 3, Hanover Area 0

Hanover Area`8`8`18

MMI Prep`25`25`25

HAN: Heather Grady 7 digs, 2 kills, 1 assist.

MMI: Paige Darrow, 19 service points, 3 aces, 2 digs, 2 kills; Sandy Bluth 12 service points, 2 aces, 5 digs; Kristen Purcell 12 kills, 5 digs; Amber Ferri 12 service points, 18 assists, 2 digs.

Holy Redeemer 3, Berwick 0

Holy Redeemer`25`25`25


HR: Nicole Slavaski 8 kills, 15 service points; Lauren Slavaski 6 kills, 13 service; Kaya Swanek 4 kills, 9 service points

BER: Not reported

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