WILKES-BARRE — Nick Klimchok lined up on the outside and fired a bullet that barely clipped the back corner.
Wait? That can’t be right, could it? After spending most of the season as Wyoming Valley West’s setter, even the Spartan got his chance to take a few powerful swings.
In a senior game, anything is possible.
Klimchok finished with four kills and 15 assists, while Redeemer’s John Carr and Rob Zbierski combined for 25 kills as the West squad swept past the East, 3-0, in the annual Wyoming Valley Conference senior game Saturday at Holy Redeemer.
Set scores were 25-20, 25-22 and 25-14.
The West squad, coached by Redeemer’s Jack Kablick, included his Royals along with players from Wyoming Valley West. The East squad, headed up by Lake-Lehman’s Jim Hummer, included players from Lehman, Coughlin, Dallas, Greater Nanticoke Area, Hanover Area and North Pocono.
“It was fun, especially to have a chance to play with some of the Redeemer guys,” Klimchok said. “Switching roles is always different. Plus, it also gave Nick (James) a chance to hit as well. It felt pretty good when I was able to put one down. I took a few swings in the regular season, but I never really got a chance to fill that attacker role. It was fun.”
That’s the beauty of the senior game.
Switch spots. Take your shots. End your scholastic career with that elusive kill.
Klimchok and Redeemer’s James split the setting duties, but each had their moments to shine with big spikes.
One constant remained. Redeemer’s big three – Zbierski, Carr and Chris Mennig – haven’t skipped a beat since the Royals’ season ended in the PIAA Class 2A state quarterfinals last weekend.
Zbierski had a match-high 14 kills and added seven blocks. Carr, recently named the WVC’s Player of the Year, had 11 kills and eight service points while big lefty Mennig fired darts at the East defense.
Each finished off sets with thunderous swings.
Carr’s cross-court kill ended the first. Zbierski’s powerful shot closed out the second. And Mennig’s spike off an East player sealed the victory.
“It was fun to play with the Valley West guys because we battled with them in the regular season,” Carr said. “I think we were able to come together pretty well. We made some good plays. It was a good way to end our senior season.”
The East didn’t go down without a fight.
A service error and five straight points on Lehman’s JK Karlowicz’s serve gave the East a 6-0 lead to start the first. But a long run on James’ serve gave the West its first advantage at 16-14 – one it wouldn’t relinquish.
Coughlin’s Sal Purpura, who was a setter in the regular season, had four kills in the second set as the East rallied back from a 15-9 deficit to knot it at 15-15. The West quickly regroup with four straight points on kills from Mennig, Zbierski and Klimchok and held on for the 25-22 victory.
The West scored 12 of the first 17 points in the third set, and eight of the final 10, rolling to a 25-14 win in the closing stanza.
“We were here to have fun,” Hummer said. “The chemistry is always challenging, but it’s always good for the kids. It’s an all-star game, and there is nothing serious on the line. For me, personally, it was special to have a chance to coach the all-star team and have one of my kids here with me.”
Purpura had a nice game for the East with a team-high nine kills. Nanticoke’s Brent Piontkowski and Eddie Lukowski – both conference first-team selections – also closed out their seasons on a strong note. Piontkowski had seven kills, while Lukowski, who mostly handled the setting duties, had 19 assists.
West 3, East 0
East `20`22`14 – 0
West `25`25`25 – 3
East leaders: Sal Purpura 9 kills; Brent Piontkowski 7 kills; Eddie Lukowski 1 kill, 19 assists.
West leaders: Rob Zbierski 14 kills, 7 blocks, 5 points; John Carr 11 kills, 3 blocks, 8 points; Nick Klimchok 4 kills, 15 assists; Chris Mennig 8 kills.