WILKES-BARRE — Jack Kablick knew Skylar Osenkarski was primed for a breakout season.
The Holy Redeemer girls’ volleyball coach saw the potential during Osenkarski’s sophomore campaign. Although, he admits that he didn’t say much to her that season. Instead, he observed as Amanda Curcio – the 2016 Times Leader Player of the Year – kind of took Osenkarski under her wing.
“Amanda really did all the talking,” Kablick laughed. “I think that Amanda took a personal interest in Skylar because she saw that potential. It was like Amanda was her coach, and she made sure that Skylar was right next to her at all times.”
Now, the two will continue to be linked together as Osenkarski joins the list of Redeemer greats selected as Times Leader Player of the Year.
“I was kind of nervous at the beginning,” she said. “But I also knew that my teammates would always be there to back me up if I made any mistakes. I knew that I was going to have to step up more because the three seniors on the team last year, they were great leaders.”
You can’t blame her for that nervousness.
Leaders like Curcio, Ashley Andrejko and Brynn Kukosky were graduated. The 2017 edition of Holy Redeemer volleyball was going to be junior-laden and inexperienced in most rotations. Now add to the fact that someone was going to have to step into that leadership role.
And it was going to fall on the shoulders of Osenkarski to take over that prominent role in the Royals’ offense as the feature attacker.
“You can see that she was kind of searching as to what role she would need to fit in to,” Kablick said. “But she just kind of took the reins, and ran with it. She’s a quiet leader. Her play does most of her talking. And she was almost unstoppable – no matter the competition.”
She finished league play with 226 kills and 36 blocks, while earning first-team all-WVC honors. She added 133 service points, and 20 aces in her first season of playing in the back row as Holy Redeemer won another district 2A title, and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
“You had that experience, and you understand more about the game of volleyball. You know the schemes, and you better understand the techniques,” Osenkarski said of her breakout junior campaign. “You know what you need to work on. But you always realize that you only have one year left, and the goal is to always win a state championship.”
And she quickly learned what it felt like to take everyone’s best shot early in the season as Valley West pushed Redeemer inside the Royals’ gymnasium. While the girls in red came away with the victory, it served as kind of a wake-up call.
“That match, we knew that we could play so much better. I don’t want to say that we slacked off because Valley West had a good team, but I knew what we were capable of. We needed to get ourselves together because the road was going to get more difficult,” Osenkarski said.
What’s next for the junior? Well, she’ll start her travel-ball season with AVA in the Lehigh Valley. There will be the start of the college-selection process where she’s hoping to major in Criminology.
And she’ll continue to fine-tune her game before starting her senior season in 2018.
“I need to work on passing. I did some passing in conference play, but once we got to states, I only played in the front row. I know that I need to get that part of my game down, and get my passing on point,” Osenkarski said. “It’s going to be busy with colleges and senior-year functions. For me, it’s about finding a college that’s the perfect fit for me. I’m not in any kind of rush. I just want to make the best decision.”
Yet, she’ll quickly defer any personal goals for team accomplishments.
“I really want to make it to the championship. I do believe that we have the potential to be there. I know that this team can go all the way,” she said.