WILKES-BARRE — It was a different opportunity for each.
For Pittston Area’s Marley O’Brien, it was her chance to abolish a bad taste of a playoff loss out of her mouth.
For the four Holy Redeemer girls, the nine-time District 2 Class 2A champs, it was a moment to step on the home court one last time.
And for GAR’s Marie Skrepenak, it was just total fun.
“I couldn’t stop laughing. I had a great time,” she grinned.
Of course, it helps to go out with a victory.
Redeemer’s Lauren Slavoski had a match-high 14 kills, and Pittston’s O’Brien and DelVal’s Megan Kiederer combined for 14 spikes as the West squad rolled to a 3-0 victory over the East Sunday afternoon at Holy Redeemer in the annual senior Wyoming Valley Conference volleyball match.
Set scores were 25-19, 25-15 and 25-12.
The West squad, coached by Redeemer’s Jack Kablick, included his Royals, Delaware Valley, Pittston Area and GAR. The East, headed by Wyoming Area’s Nick Diaco, were comprised of the Warriors in addition to Coughlin, Berwick, Tunkhannock, Wyoming Valley West, Nanticoke Area, North Pocono and Crestwood.
“Like I told someone, I do no coaching. I just make the lineup to send out there. These girls are talented players,” Kablick said. “Just watching them, you can tell that they had such a good time. This match is important because the girls have one final showcase and get that one final chance to show off their skills.”
Yes, there were serious moments.
There were Slavoski’s six kills in the opening set, several thuds that echoed throughout the gymnasium.
There was Skrepenak’s 6-0 run behind the service line that broke open a 16-14 second set.
And finally, the West put it away with a 20-8 run to open the third.
“Yes, you want to win but it’s about having fun. You want to enjoy yourself. If you don’t play in college, this could be the last time you play a match,” O’Brien said. “If you don’t win states, you end with a loss. And our loss to Wyoming Valley West was a tough one. It was just nice to play one more time.”
Yet, you could sense the relaxation.
Times of grit and determination were replaced by smiles and pats on the back of their “new” teammates.
And no one had a bigger grin than Skrepenak, whose Grenadiers missed out on the 2A postseason chase.
Now, her teammates for one night included players from the district’s 2A and 3A champs.
“For me, it was a chance to celebrate,” she said. “This was an amazing experience for me. It was so much fun to play in different rotations. Personally, this was a great way to end my volleyball season. We had a great time, and laughed the entire match. The girls on this team, they are all amazing.”
Then, you had O’Brien.
The Pittston senior, which battled against Delaware Valley in 3A, was taking sets from DV’s Karley May; the two looking like they’ve played together for years. May lofting the ball to the perfect spot for O’Brien to fire a cross-court bullet to an open corner.
“This is probably the most fun I’ve had,” O’Brien said. “It was exciting to play with the girls from Redeemer, Delaware Valley and GAR. You play against them in the regular season, and they are all amazing. Now, for one night, they are your teammates.”
Wyoming Area’s Jess Sorick, Crestwood’s Karissa Levenoskie and Nanticoke’s Abbey Zaykoski combined for 10 kills on the East Squad, while Valley West’s Kiesten Wiedwald added 10 assists.
West 3, East 0
East `19`15`12 – 0
West `25`25`25 – 3
East Leaders: Katlyn Ivanoff 5 kills; Jess Sorick 3 kills; Kiersten Wiedwald 10 assists; Abbey Zaykoski 3 kills.
West Leaders: Lauren Slavoski 14 kills; Marley O’Brien 8 kills; Karlee May 14 assists, 2 kills, 4 aces; Courtney Kijek 13 assists, 3 aces.
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