Girls volleyball in the Greater Pittston area hasn’t exactly been impressive over the last decade. Wyoming Area has recently made a resurgence, but it was Pittston Area that seems to be left behind in recent years.
Things changed in 2015.
Pittston Area has reached one of its biggest milestones as a program. Following the regular season, the Patriots sit a 9-8 overall. This is the team’s first winning season in at least the last 10 years. In 2013, the Patriots finished 1-16. Last year, the team was 2-15.
This year’s record leaves Pittston Area as the third seed in the district playoffs for just the second time. The team will face Wyoming Valley West at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2. The game will be part of a double header with two other teams — top-seed Delaware Valley will face Hazleton. The winner will play for the District 2 championship.
For Wyoming Area, the road to districts was a much easier one. Depending on the outcome of games on Friday, Oct. 30, the 14-2 Warriors will play at Dunmore or Holy Redeemer on Monday. Those official brackets from District 2 were not available at press time.
This is Pittston Area head coach Dani McAndrew’s fourth year as coach. Most of her six seniors have been there for the entire ride.
“This is my project and they are all seniors now,” McAndrew said. “We don’t have one style that fits us. We adjust to everything to play the game we’re capable of playing.”
One of the brightest spots in the Wyoming Valley Conference the season has been the play of senior Marley O’Brien. O’Brien has notched more than 200 kills this season. O’Brien is one of two players in the WVC with 200 kills this season. In her career, she has more than 400 kills.
O’Brien, who also plays basketball, didn’t play volleyball her freshman season. With the encouragement of McAndrew, O’Brien came out her sophomore season and hasn’t looked back.
“She has worked harder than anyone I’ve ever met,” McAndrew said. “I’m going to be devastated when she leaves us. She’s a phenomenal server and a great spiker, as well.”
When McAndrew took over for the Patriots, her ultimate goal was to get the program back on the map and be recognized as a contending varsity sport. She said for many years, the team didn’t even keep statistics.
“A winning season certainly helps,” she said.
The Patriots and Spartans met two weeks ago on the volleyball court with the Patriots winning in a sweep. A win on Monday will mark the team’s first playoff win in program history.
North Pocono 3, Pittston Area 0
North Pocono racked up a total of 12 aces as the Trojans knocked off Pittston Area, 3-0, on a night where the Patriots honored their six seniors on Thursday.
Set scores were 25-11, 25-13 and 25-12. Marley O’Brien had seven kills and 10 digs. Kirsten Durling had 10 assists, while Anna McDermott finished with 17 digs.
Wyoming Area 3, Hanover Area 0
Rachael Solano finished with 25 assists, three aces and two kills, Jess Sorick had 13 kills and Nicole Wright tallied eight kills, five service points and two blocks as Wyoming Area swept Hanover Area on Thursday.
Game scores were 25-15, 25-19 and 25-13. The Hawkeyes were led by the play of Julie Fischer (18 digs) and Mia Zagami (14 digs).
Delaware Valley 3, Pittston Area 0
Delaware Valley defeated Pittston Area 25-13, 25-14 and 25-15 on Tuesday.
Top players for Pittston Area included Marley O’Brien (12 digs, 7 kills, 3 blocks) and Kirsten Durling (15 digs, 6 kills, 6 assists).
Wyoming Area 3, North Pocono 1
Jess Sorick had 17 kills and two blocks, Nicole Wright tallied nine kills and three blocks and Megan Wysocki added 14 service points and seven aces as Wyoming Area topped North Pocono on Tuesday.
Game scores were 13-25, 26-24, 26-24 and 25-12.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick