Blue Ridge's Hayleigh Fekette helped lead team to Lackawanna League title. Photo by Jake Danna Stevens

Blue Ridge’s Hayleigh Fekette helped lead team to Lackawanna League title.
Photo by Jake Danna Stevens

 

Good morning, or afternoon, or evening, whichever it is when you all read this.

One question, surprisingly, I have been asked a lot recently is “When do I sleep?” It’s a good question, but one with an answer. … “When I can.”

I caught a few hours last night apparently. My daughter, Meghan, tuned into her favorite show, which I refuse to divulge, at around 10 p.m. just a few minutes after I wrapped up my work for the day. I laid on the couch, iPhone on my chest, in case of emergency, and within what seemed like seconds my heavy eyelids shut tightly and an echoing, and from what I am told, frightening snore resonated from my limp body.

Not long after that, Meghan shook a pulse back into me, and sent me to bed. I actually do sleep, but it is only incrementally. A few hours here, a few hours there. By the time my alarm sounds at 6 a.m., I already have the television charged up for Matlock on Hallmark Mysteries and Movies, coffee brewing and have started thinking about what my jumbled mind will think of for the approaching day. Between football, my weekly pilgrimage on a nerve-fraying trip south through the endless construction on Interstate 81 to Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre for District 2 tennis, and the end of the season in Lackawanna Volleyball, sleep is at a premium.

Thank goodness for the strength of coffee, which I somehow drink at a feverish pace, often burning the roof of my mouth.

These are busy times. Today, I clicked on my computer at 6:30 a.m. and began what will be a day where I try to cram 20 hours of work into an 8-hour day (WINK!). And I begin with my wildly popular Volleyball Blog post. I truly have to thank everyone for the support here. This has become one of the most viewed blogs consistently throughout the season.

On Tuesday, I reversed my tour. Well, not really reversed it, just went in the opposite direction on I-81, which I am becoming all too familiar with these days. I headed north for the regular-season kiario1finale between Abington Heights and Blue Ridge. During these end-of-season days, I have the unique opportunity to be on campus for Senior Days or Nights. Last week, when Blue Ridge visited Dunmore, the school celebrated its Senior Night and Erika Bistran had one of the best matches of her season. These are wonderful opportunities for me, to first and foremost, share in a families joy while they reflect on an athletic career that may be spanning more than a decade. Being a parent myself, I am sure each one has flashbacks to when their sons and daughters played with their first volleyball, or looked so “cute” in their first uniform for whatever sport they chose. There is a quick scene they all recall, a big moment, or a triumphant achievement no matter the size or significance. Tears are shed. It’s inevitable. And it’s nice to be able to be there for these precious times.

At Blue Ridge, the school recognized a senior group, that has quite frankly, rejuvenated the sport in New Milford. Callie Wyatt, Bailey Shaw, Hayleigh Fekette, Kandace Smith and Megan Houlihan have already been part of two District 2 Class 1A championship teams and before this season had a record of 28-8 in the regular season. With so much experience returning, the Lady Raiders were expected to challenge Dunmore, which has dominated the Lackawanna League and won eight straight league titles.

Blue Ridge reeled off 15 straight wins, including one over Dunmore, and looked every bit the part of a worthy champion. But titles worth having aren’t always captured without some adversity. After a heartbreaking five-game loss to Dunmore in the rematch, the Lady Raiders refocused their efforts and became more determined. Holding a one-match lead over the Lady Bucks in the standings, their final league destiny fell in their own hands at home on Senior Night against Abington Heights, a team much improved from its first meeting with the Lady Raiders.

Houlihan

Houlihan

Before any action took place on the court, Blue Ridge celebrated its senior class and their parents. Megan Houlihan, the final player introduced, and a Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association all-state player as a junior, got the surprise of a lifetime when her jersey No. 2 was retired in front of a near capacity crowd. Then, the tears really flowed.

Blue Ridge carried that momentum and raw emotion into the match and swept away the Lady Comets, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-21). It clinched the program its first Lackawanna League title since 2007 and set off a wild celebration.

Here are some highlights:

 

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coffeUltimately, it’s being able to cover and capture these times in words that keeps me up at night, during the day, for all hours. When you can see how much these occasions mean to young people, and you hear the joy in their words, or sometimes loss for words, it makes it all worth it for an aging sportswriter.

Coffee, anyone?

 

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PLAYOFF BREAKDOWN

Ok, Blue Ridge earned the No. 1 seed for the District 2 Class 1A tournament in the worst kept secret in the state.

Blue Ridge senior Megan Houlihan

Blue Ridge senior Megan Houlihan

No offense, but the Lady Raiders are heavy favorites to win this title, but again, this is high school and anything can happen.

  • Semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 (These Saturday matches are not sportswriter-friendly)
  • The final is set as a single match on Wednesday, Nov. 2 likely at North Pocono High School. (I sure hope Chris Summa can link me up with the hacker-proof security of the NP WiFi).

In Class 2A, it is looking like Holy Redeemer, the most dominant program in the district, will be the No. 1 seed. I would call it a lock, but then something kooky might happen and I would look like the back end of a donkey. So, because there will be no league champion in this classification, the team with the best record will be the No. 1 seed. Dunmore, it appears, will be the No. 2 seed. Now, the Wyoming Valley Conference is not done with its regular season, so where each of the remaining teams are seeded is undetermined at this point.

  • Six teams qualify
  • First-round matches are set for Monday, Oct. 31
  • Semifinals will be a doubleheader at the site of the highest remaining seeded team on Tuesday, Nov. 1
  • Final will be part of a Class 2A and Class 3A doubleheader at a neutral site on Thursday, Nov. 3.
Dunmore senior Erika Bistran. Photo by Butch Comegys

Dunmore senior Erika Bistran.
Photo by Butch Comegys

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In Class 3A, Crestwood and Nanticoke are holding the top two seeds with Abington Heights in third. Remember, the WVC season is not completed yet so it would be premature for me to lock the Lady Comets into the No. 3 spot. Also, this is a subregional tournament with District 4, and Shamokin is getting in based upon its 8-7 record.

  • Six teams qualify
  • First-round matches are set for Monday, Oct. 31
  • Semifinals will be a doubleheader at the site of the highest remaining seeded team on Tuesday, Nov. 1
  • Final will be part of a Class 2A and Class 3A doubleheader at a neutral site on Thursday, Nov. 3

Here are the standings according to piaad2.org: 

d2volley

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Delaware Valley senior Tara Sayles.

Delaware Valley senior Tara Sayles.

In Class 4A, this too is a subregional format. District 2 will combine and play with teams from the talented pool in District 11. Delaware Valley is in already, and it looks like Wyoming Valley West will take a spot as well. Hazleton Area will not qualify. Now, the District 11 teams involved include unbeaten Liberty (No. 1) and unbeaten Parkland (No. 3), which are ranked among the top 10 in the state by the PVCA.

  • Ten teams qualify (8 from District 11 will be in; 2 from District 2)
  • First round is Saturday, Oct. 29. According to information distributed to qualifying teams by District 11#8 will play #9 at the #1 seed — #1 seed will play the winner

    #7 will play #10 at the #2 seed — #2 seed will play the winner

  • Semifinals are Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Allentown Allen High School.
  • Final, Thursday, Nov. 3 at either Whithall or Allen

Here are the standings as of today, Oct. 20, courtesy of www.districtxi.com:

1 Parkland 16- 0- 0  0.813537  1.000000  0.545213  16(0)
2 Delaware Valley 14- 0- 0  0.805789  1.000000  0.526316  17(3)
3 Liberty 16- 0- 0  0.788380  1.000000  0.483854  16(0)
4 Emmaus 13- 5- 0  0.725295  0.769841  0.661192  18(0)
5 Pleasant Valley 12- 4- 0  0.673149  0.790698  0.503993  16(0)
6 Wyoming Valley West 11- 3- 0  0.668859  0.794964  0.487390  17(3)
7 Freedom 11- 7- 0  0.625772  0.665775  0.568207  18(0)
8 Whitehall 10- 10- 0  0.603538  0.555000  0.673384  20(0)
9 Pocono Mountain East 11- 7- 0  0.592808  0.671196  0.480006  18(0)
10 Nazareth 8- 9- 0  0.584351  0.533724  0.657203  17(0)

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TOP 5

DVlogo11. Delaware Valley (14-0). Needs three wins to finish unbeaten and win first WVC championship. Next: Monday at MMI Prep.

2. Blue Ridge (17-1). Won Lackawanna League championship.

3. Dunmore (16-2). Will be no worse than the No. 2 seed for the District 2 Class 2A playoffs.

4. Abington Heights (14-4). Has qualified for the District 2 Class 3A playoffs.

5. North Pocono (8-7). Beat GAR, 3-0. Next:  Today vs. Dallas.

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STANDINGS

LACKAWANNA LEAGUE

W

L

x-Blue Ridge

17

1

Dunmore

16

2

Abington Heights

14

4

Western Wayne

11

6

Forest City

9

9

Montrose

6

12

Elk Lake

5

13

Susquehanna

4

14

Lackawanna Trail

4

14

Mountain View

3

14

WYOMING VALLEY CONFERENCE

W

L

Delaware Valley

14

0

Holy Redeemer

14

1

Crestwood

11

2

Nanticoke

11

3

Wyoming Valley West

11

3

Berwick

10

5

Pittston Area

9

6

North Pocono

8

7

Hanover Area

6

8

MMI Prep

6

8

Lake-Lehman

5

8

Hazleton Area

5

9

Meyers

5

9

Dallas

5

10

Tunkhannock

5

10

Wyoming Area

3

11

GAR

1

14

Coughlin

0

15

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HONOR ROLL

Hartman

Hartman

Abby Hartman

Blue Ridge

Had nine kills and nine service points in the championship clinching win over Abington Heights.

 

 

 

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Myers

Myers

Kalynne Myers

Blue Ridge

Had 10 kills and 10 assists in win over Abington Heights.

 

 

 

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Crowley

Crowley

Emily Crowley

Abington Heights

Had six kills and 11 assists in a loss to Blue Ridge.

 

 

 

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Dovin

Dovin

Katelyn Dovin

Forest City

Had 20 points and 27 digs in a win over Montrose.

 

 

 

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Kelley

Kelley

Elizabeth Kelly

Montrose

Had 32 digs in loss to Forest City.

 

 

 

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Peoples

Peoples

Madisyn Peoples

 

Lackawanna Trail

Had eight kills, seven points and five aces in a win over Mountain View.

 

 

 

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Schmidt

Schmidt

Lauren Schmidt

Mountain View

Had 10 points, 14 kills and five digs in loss to Lackawanna Trail.

 

 

 

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Berger

Berger

Jess Berger

Western Wayne

Had nine points and nine kills in a win over Susquehanna.

 

 

 

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Burlingame

Burlingame

Brittany Burlingame

Susquehanna

Had six aces, five kills and eight points in a loss to Western Wayne.

 

 

 

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Sayles

Sayles

Tara Sayles

Delaware Valley

Had 12 kills and six points to lead the unbeaten Lady Warriors past Berwick.

 

 

 

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That’s all for today!

Will be off from blog posting until after the district playoffs, so until I post again, have a great time and good luck to those who have clinched playoff berths. Many thanks to those whose seasons have ended and continued success for the remainder of the school year, and in your futures.

As always. … ENJOY!