WILKES-BARRE — This one meant just a little more to Nicole Slavoski.
Forget about it being a showcase match in the Wyoming Valley Conference – if not the biggest one of 2012.
"I played with some of the Delaware Valley girls on another team," she said. "I knew that I was going to have to step my game up. They have some amazing athletes."
This one meant a little more to Sarah Warnagiris, who dreamed of this match while working through the summer heat in August during preseason.
"We train all season for this game," Warnagiris said. "You know that the Delaware Valley match is going to be a big one. It's amazing that all the hard work paid off."
The two powerful hitters combined for more than 40 kills as Redeemer pushed its regular-season conference winning streak to 101 games with a 3-1 victory over Delaware Valley in a battle of undefeated squads.
Game scores were 25-17, 25-15, 16-25 and 25-17.
"It's more than I could have ever imagined, being on a team that has this many consecutive wins – and keeping it going," said Warnagiris, who finished with 24 kills, four digs, 17 service points and five aces. "Delaware Valley has a great team, and it's such a good time when we play them. It's great competition."
Slavoski wasted no time impacting the match.
Two swings of her arm behind the service line. Two aces.
In fact, Redeemer jumped out to a 4-0 lead before anyone had a chance to blink their eyes.
Make no mistake about it. The Royals won this match behind the 30-foot line.
The jump-serves of Warnagiris and Slavoski were too much for the Warriors. The accuracy of the other four Royals was precise, crisp and sharp.
"We are a high-risk, high-reward serve team," Redeemer coach John Kablick said. "We just don't lollipop them over because if you do, it will get blasted back. All six servers serve to spots, or at least try to serve to a spot. I thought we did a great job behind the 30-foot line."
Redeemer had 13 aces, and even if it wasn't an ace it neutralized Delaware Valley's offensive attack of Alyssa Kelly and Taylor Braunnagle, both athletes over 6-foot tall.
"We couldn't handle their serves the first two games," DelVal coach Bridget Crawford said. "Their serves were very good, and it caused us to be out of our system. We are usually more of an offensive team, and we showed that in the third game. We just struggled with our offense tonight."
The Warriors just never seemed comfortable.
Credit that to perfect passes from setter Biz Eaton and thunder-shaking spikes from Warnagiris and Slovoski.
Redeemer jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the first set, and dominated every facet of the second, leading by 12 points (19-7) at one point.
Redeemer (11-0) let Delaware Valley gain some momentum in the third set, thanks to four service errors and five attack errors. A block by Kelly and back-to-back mistakes by the Royals kept the Warriors alive, capturing a 25-16 third-set win.
Del Valley jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the fourth set, but all momentum slipped away by inches. A kill by Braunnagle missed the line by centimeters. On the very next point, one of Warnagiris' serves fell a few inches inside the stripe.
From that point, Redeemer went on a 12-6 run and grabbed a comfortable 16-10 lead.
"I think we will celebrate tonight, but it won't last too long because we have a good Crestwood team next," Kablick said. "I was concerned about the height, I'll be honest. You look at them, and they have girls that are 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-1. We just don't match up with them height-wise, but there are ways to nullify that height.
"You have to serve away from height, and I think we made their setter's night tough."
: Alyssa Kelly (7 kills, 6 blocks), Taylor Braunnagle (13 kills, 4 blocks, 2 aces), Cassidy Cohen (5 kills, 1 ace), Rachel Miller (17 assists)
: Nicole Slavoski (22 kills, 2 blocks, 7 service points, 2 aces), Biz Eaton (2 kills, 46 assists, 4 digs, 4 service points), Sarah Warnagiris (24 kills, 4 digs, 17 service points, 5 aces)
The host Trojans allowed just 24 points over three games in a sweep of the Mohawks.
Nanticoke's Kayley Schinski and Allie Matulewski each finished with eight kills.
: Summer Barrouk 14 digs, 2 kills, 2 service points; Brandi Lee Soto 12 digs, 2 kills, 1 service point.
NAN: Kayley Schinski 1 ace, 8 kills, 3 blocks, 2 digs; Alexandra Brassington 4 kills, 20 assists, 2 blocks; Nancy Adkins 3 service points, 2 aces, 4 kills, 1 dig; Allie Matulewski 2 aces, 8 kills.
Wyoming Valley West overcame a miscue in the second game to win the next two and defeat Berwick.
Trudi Casir had 24 digs and 12 service points for the Spartans.
|Wyoming Valley West||25||15||25||25|
: Gabby Gadomski 14 service points, 9 assists, 5 aces; Trudi Casir 24 digs, 12 service points; Gavyn Giza 5 blocks, 3 kills; Ashley Tanarantz 5 kills.
BER: Not Reported
Amanda Hall's 28 assists and 14 service points led North Pocono past Wyoming Area.
: Audrey Heidacavage 9 assists, 2 kills; Kate Kross 10 service points, 6 kills, 4 aces.
NP: Kelli Bray 15 kills; Kaitlyn Ivanoff 10 kills; Amanda Hall 28 assists, 14 service points.
Kayla Karchner and Kristen Purcell each had four aces and combined for 20 service points in MMI Prep's win over Pittston Area.
: Jacquelin Rabinder 15 digs, 2 service points, 3 aces, 2 kills, 2 assists; Irene Magdon 5 service points, 3 aces, 10 digs 1 assist; Alia Gestl 12 digs, 1 service point, 1 ace.
MMI: Kristen Purcell 9 service points, 4 aces, 6 assists, 1 kill; Kayla Karchner 11 service points, 4 aces, 3 digs, 1 kill; Kirsten Young 3 service points, 1 block, 1 ace, 3 assists, 4 kills; Maurina DiSabella 8 service points.