The showdown that has been brewing for weeks for first place in Wyoming Valley Conference girls volleyball remains intact.
Delaware Valley’s rally after losing the first two games to Dallas Wednesday night, however, spoiled a late-season battle of unbeatens.
Defending champion Holy Redeemer, the conference’s last unbeaten, will head to Dallas for a Friday 5:30 p.m. match that will decide first place.
Going into tonight, Holy Redeemer is 12-0, Dallas is 12-1 and Nanticoke remains in contention at 11-1. Nanticoke gets to host Holy Redeemer Tuesday night.
Holy Redeemer has maintained its position as the team to beat every year in the conference. Dallas has continued its rise, going from 3-14 in 2015 to 5-12 in 2016 to 12-5 and now 12-1 in two seasons under coach Mike Shmakov.
“I’m not saying it to be cocky,” Shmakov said. “I knew what these girls were worth at the start of this season. I knew what they were capable of.
“I knew we had enough offense, enough defense, enough serving to be able to take over any match on any given day.”
Going into Wednesday night, not only were both the Royals and Mountaineers perfect through a dozen matches, neither had lost a single game in the WVC, sweeping each of those matches in three games.
Delaware Valley, the defending District 2 Class 3A champion, changed that by winning the final three games.
Dallas is led by four-year starter Gianna Musto, the WVC leader in kills and junior setter Emma Berger, who leads the conference in assists while ranking second in aces. She has options when setting, including Samantha Michael, who joins Musto in the WVC’s top four among kills.
Returning Times Leader Player of the Year Skyla Osenkarski from Holy Redeemer is second to Musto in kills while Korren Hicks is second to Berger in assists. Liv Moore is fourth in service points.
Osenkarski, Sarah Kuderka and Julia Andrejko are all returning all-stars.
In addition to the unbeaten conference record, Holy Redeemer won the 16th annual Red Rover Tournament at Easton Sept. 29, winning five of their six matches against teams that have season winning percentages of .667 or higher.
Osenkarski led that effort with 52 kills, 12 blocks and 18 service points.
Sarah Liskowicz had 39 kills and 15 blocks. Liv Moore had 33 kills, 18 digs and four blocks. Samantha Carr had 16 kills and 22 points.
Hicks had 106 assists and 19 points while Maddie Lewis led with 45 points.
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