By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
WILKES-BARRE – Sometimes a team just can’t help looking ahead.
Winning Tuesday night’s District 1-2-11 Class 2A Subregional boys volleyball semifinal meant many things to Holy Redeemer, but perhaps the biggest is what is next.
By defeating visiting Blue Ridge, 25-13, 25-17, 25-18, Holy Redeemer earned a home-court rematch with the only team it has lost to this season, Christopher Dock.
And, with that match coming up Thursday at 5 p.m., Royals coach John Kablick found it necessary to already begin preparation for the next round.
“We were trying to prep for this team and Thursday at the same time to tell the truth, because we only have one day in between,” Kablick said following the victory, which clinched a trip to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament and a 10th straight district title for the Royals.
Kablick acknowledged that the approach may have led to moments where concentration was not at its peak Tuesday.
“I don’t think as a team they gave them enough respect,” Kablick said of his players. “Blue Ridge was a scrappy team and they kept the ball alive, but they didn’t possess the power that some other teams have.”
Kablick said errors by the Royals, including in serving, contributed to 37 of the 48 points by the Raiders.
Holy Redeemer is the last subregional title contender left from District 2, making it the district champion as it tries to take down District 1 member Dock Mennonite from suburban Philadelphia in the final.
“We’re going to have to play a real good game to beat this team, but so are they to beat us,” Kablick said.
Dock Mennonite beat Holy Redeemer in four sets in a non-league, mid-season meeting when both went in undefeated. Holy Redeemer played that match without one of its strongest presences at the net, Matt Prociak, and two of its set losses came by 26-24 scores.
The rematch was set when Dock Mennonite defeated visiting Tunkhannock, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23, in Tuesday’s other subregional semifinal.
Tunkhannock will host Blue Ridge Thursday in a match to determine the subregional’s third qualifier for the state tournament.
Matt Albrecht had 12 kills, 4 blocks and 2 assists to lead Holy Redeemer against Blue Ridge.
Matt Williams had 10 kills and 4 service points while Prociak and Matt Spiccioli had 9 kills each. Prociak also had six blocks.
Will Wasiakowski had 26 assists, 16 points and 6 aces.
Calvin Scheideler had 10 kills for Blue Ridge. Connor Cranage added four and Gerald Welsted had two.
Garrett Conklin had six digs for the Raiders.
The District 2 Class 3A championship match is also set for Thursday when Lackawanna League champion Abington Heights will visit top-seeded Delaware Valley.
Delaware Valley pounded Wyoming Valley West, 25-11, 25-3, 25-11. Abington Heights was nearly as dominant, handling Hazleton Area, 25-12, 25-3, 25-14.