CLARKS SUMMIT — Berwick’s passing improved and Tunkhannock’s serving hit a dry spell.
Before long, a close match had morphed into a comfortable Bulldogs lead.
Even a late surge by the Tigers could do nothing to stop a sweep that carried Berwick into the District 2 Class 2A boys volleyball semifinals.
Joe Norce led the way during Wednesday’s match at Abington Heights, providing 15 kills, 10 service points, nine digs, three blocks and two aces in the 25-21, 26-24, 25-17 victory.
Berwick came out of a timeout late in Game Two, trailing 23-19.
“The game is won serving and passing,” Berwick coach Sarah Warner said. “We were losing those battles at that point.
“But, we needed to gain momentum back whether it was for that set or the following set.”
Berwick got more than the momentum shift. It salvaged a game that appeared to be getting away.
The Bulldogs scored 20 of the next 25 points to carry the rally from a second-game win into control of the third game.
“It was just our passing,” Norce said of the match’s turnaround. “They had put some nice serves in the court.
“Once we adjusted our passing and fixed everything. We were able to run our offense from there.”
The Tigers could not find an answer.
“We were able to hit all corners,” Norce said. “We were working like a well-oiled machine.”
After the Bulldogs started the rally, Tunkhannock still had the serve at 24-23 with a chance to even the match at a game apiece.
The Tigers sent that serve into the net, starting a streak of seven straight serves in which they were unable to score. They failed to even put the ball in play on three of the serves.
The inability to score on its serves kept Tunkhannock from putting two points in a row together. After seven straight Tigers serves that failed to produce points, the Bulldogs led the third game, 13-4.
Santiago Segura led the improved passing game by Berwick. He finished with 32 assists, 10 points, five digs and two aces.
“Once we started going in the third game, we were feeling all the energy on our side,” Norce said.
Tunkhannock managed one point on its first 10 serves of the third game while the Berwick lead grew to 21-9.
The Tigers cut into the deficit but could not get closer than seven points before the Bulldogs put the match away.
Zach Evans added 12 kills, nine points, six digs and two assists for Berwick. Shawn Powell helped at the net, matching Norce’s team-high three blocks and adding two kills.
Third-seeded Berwick advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals to face second-seeded Abington Heights, which swept three games from North Pocono in the nightcap of the doubleheader.
A season in which Tunkhannock improved from 3-9 to 8-4 in the Wyoming Valley Conference came to an end while Berwick (10-3) gets to play at least twice more. Three of the district’s remaining four teams will advance to state play.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction and that’s something we talked about, potential,” Warner said. “If we haven’t reached our peak yet, that’s probably good news for us.”
Holy Redeemer 3, Crestwood 0
Ben Rachilla made 25 kills and George Beck finished with 27 assists at Holy Redeemer rolled past Crestwood, 25-21, 25-12, 25-11 in a District 2 Class 2A boys quarterfinal.
Holy Redeemer will face Blue Ridge in the district semifinals Tuesday at Holy Redeemer High School at approximately 7:30 p.m. — 30 minutes after the conclusion of the other semifinal between Berwick and Abington Heights, which begins at 5 p.m.
Rachilla added 14 service points and two blocks in the victory, while Beck also finished with two blocks and served seven points.
Jared Piontkowski made 10 kills and seven blocks for the Royals and Matt Piontkowski finished with seven kills, four blocks and served five points.
Michael Williams led Crestwood with six kills and two digs. Adam Williams added seven assists and two kills for the Comets and Dylan Kronick served four points and finished with two digs.