WILKES-BARRE — Ben Rachilla led an overpowering Holy Redeemer effort in the first two games of Tuesday night’s District 2 Class 2A boys volleyball semifinal.
When a feisty Blue Ridge team found a way to make matters a bit more difficult on the Royals in the third game, Rachilla was there again to lock up another trip to the district title match for the seven-time defending champions.
Rachilla had 23 kills, seven service points and two blocks when Holy Redeemer posted a 25-12, 25-12, 25-19, home-court victory, clinching a return to the state tournament in the process. The Royals will play Berwick for the district crown on Thursday at Dallas.
“I thought we had overall better matches as far as playing a complete match,” Holy Redeemer coach John Kablick said. “We played a good two-thirds of this match.
“The last third – I don’t think anybody was going to panic or anything like that, but we went on cruise control a little bit. You try not to let that happen.”
Blue Ridge’s only leads of the night came early in Game Three when it was up 2-0 and 3-1.
The Raiders rallied within a point three times later in the game only to be turned away by Rachilla, the reigning Wyoming Valley Conference Player of the Year.
Blue Ridge got within 11-10 before Rachilla’s spike whistled down the middle untouched. At 12-11, he got his kill through against a block attempt by the Raiders. After it was 13-12, a streak of five straight points included four points on Rachilla serves with the help of a pair of aces.
Rachilla dominated at the net with help from the Piontkowski brothers, who each had eight kills. Jared also had five blocks while Matt had 12 points and four digs.
George Beck ran the Holy Redeemer offense with 30 assists and three digs. Joey Judge added four kills, three blocks and two assists while Nate Roppelt had 12 points and two digs.
Garrett Mansfield led Blue Ridge with eight kills and 11 digs. Cameron Franks had 13 digs. Ben Bleck, who had six digs, and Charlie Randall each had five assists.
Two Roppelt aces and two Rachilla kills helped Holy Redeemer score the first five points of the match on the way to a 10-1 lead.
Rachilla had four kills during a 14-2 run to a 24-8 lead in the second game for the top-seeded Royals, who were unbeaten WVC champions.
“He’s an amazing hitter,” Blue Ridge coach Lori Zick said.
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