WILKES-BARRE – For Sarah Liskowicz, this was her redemption.
The junior Holy Redeemer attacker missed some action in 2017 due to injury and illness. Thursday, she made up for lost time in the District 2 Class 2A championship.
Liskowicz finished with eight kills, and the Royals needed just 56 minutes to defend its title with a 3-0 victory over Dunmore at Wilkes University’s Marts Center. Set scores were 25-16, 25-12 and 25-8. The victory marks the 11th straight district title for Holy Redeemer.
In the District 2 Class 3A championship, Kasey Radginski and Jilann Baron dominated in the front row as Nanticoke defended its title with a 3-1 win over Abington Heights. Set scores were 17-25, 25-16, 25-18 and 25-16.
Both teams begin state play Tuesday. Redeemer is anticipated to play at Athens High School, and it was announced Nanticoke will travel to Pittston Area for a 7 p.m. matchup against the runner-up from District 3.
“Honestly, this feels as good as the first one,” Redeemer head coach Jack Kablick said. “And it was great to see Sarah have a great match. She is just starting to get her timing back. We run 11 different sets, so it takes some time. But I am so happy for her.”
No doubt, Liskowicz was going to make the most of her time on the court
And she wasn’t afraid to take her swings. The moment wasn’t too big. The score didn’t matter much. It was just about having fun and making up for part of the season that escaped her.
“This feels really good. It was just two weeks ago that I was out of action,” Liskowicz said. “I am starting to feel better, and I really wanted to play well for myself and my teammates.”
Redeemer didn’t waste much time en route to its 11th straight district title.
Dunmore grabbed an early, 6-5 lead, but that’s when the Royals sprung to life. With Korren Hicks firing darts toward the back row, Redeemer got kills from Samantha Carr and Liskowicz to win the next 11 points for a 16-6 lead before capturing the set, 25-16.
It didn’t get better for the Bucks in the second.
This time, Hicks and libero Sarah Kuderka were both hot from the service line, stringing a 10-2 run together as the Royals grew a 12-3 edge to a comfortable, 23-9 advantage.
“This is one step of our goal, which is to reach the state championship,” Kuderka said. “We wanted to play just like we practice. Serving is so important to us, and you saw that. If you serve and get an ace, it just brings the team closer together. Plus, it brings so much momentum. Our serves were great today.”
The runs continued in the third as Redeemer scored the first seven points, and led 16-4 at one point.
Julia Andrejko led all attackers with 10 kills, while Liskowicz and Skylar Osenkarski combined with 16 spikes. Setters Hicks and Maddie Guido had a total of 30 assists, and Hicks added 16 service points.
Nanticoke 3, Abington Heights 1
The emotion on Radginski’s face said it all. This one meant just a little more to her.
Maybe because of it being her senior year. Maybe it was a chance to etch her name in Nanticoke Area history as a member of the first girls’ volleyball team to win back-to-back titles.
Clutching the gold medal in one hand, her voice was overcome by emotion.
“I honestly don’t have words for it,” Radginski said. “It’s incredible, and this was so important to me. We worked so hard all season for this moment. For me, this is an honor. I am just so grateful.”
It wasn’t easy.
Taking advantage of 15 Trojans miscues in the opening set, Abington jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the match.
“We had a lot of momentum, and our energy was up,” Abington head coach Kendra Hooper said. “I thought it was going to roll over to the second game, but we made some mistakes and they started to rally. I just think we lost our energy, and when we got down a few points, it got to us mentally.”
Back roared the defending district champs.
And it was a total team effort.
Radginski and Jilann Baron combined for 10 kills in the second set to pull the Trojans away. Alyssa Lewis had four momentum-changing spikes in the third set; one where Nanticoke broke it open on an 8-0 run on Baron’s serve.
It was everyone in the fourth set. Steady setting by Reilly Miller. Strategic swings by Codi Hornlein. And the hot hands of Radginski and Baron. Nanticoke jumped out to a 13-8 lead on Lewis’ serve, and scored the final seven points of the game to seal the victory.
“Our passing was off in the first set,” Nanticoke head coach Debbie Gavin said. “All season, we’ve come from behind to win. They can bounce back. They are a bunch of resilient kids.”
Coming off a 21-kill performance in the semifinals, Baron finished with a match-high 18 kills for the Trojans, while Radginski added 15 kills and seven blocks.
Holy Redeemer 3, Dunmore 0
D `16`12`8 – 0
HR `25`25`25 – 3
Dunmore Leaders:Samantha Domzalski 5 assists, 2 kills; Lydia Meade 2 kills; Maria Borgia 2 kills.
Holy Redeemer Leaders: Julia Andrejko 10 kills, 9 points, 2 digs; Skylar Osenkarski 8 kills, 10 points, 3 blocks; Sarah Liskowicz 8 kills, 2 blocks; Korren Hicks 17 assists, 16 points; Maddie Guido 13 assists, 3 digs.
Nanticoke Area 3, Abington Heights 1
NA `17`25`25`25 – 3
AH `25`16`18`16 – 1
NA Leaders: Kasey Radginski 15 kills, 7 blocks; Jilann Baron 18 kills, 4 blocks, 11 points; Alyssa Lewis 9 kills, 10 points; Reilly Miller 34 assists, 1 kill.
AH Leaders: Emma Baker 6 kills, 3 blocks, 2 aces; Cassandra Ksiazek 4 kills, 1 ace; Jasmine McDuffie 10 assists, 4 kills.