Holy Redeemer moves on to PIAA vol­ley­ball semi­fi­nals.

The Citizens' Voice - - SPORTS - BY TONY MALUSO SPORTS ED­I­TOR Con­tact the writer: amaluso@cit­i­zensvoice.com

QUAKERTOWN — The set hung in the bal­ance. The fate of the­match—the­sea­son— rested on how the next few points un­folded.

When ev­ery­thing’s on the line and your back’s against the wall, big-time play­ers take matches into their own hands.

Holy Redeemer and New Hope-sole­bury each had a set win dur­ing Satur­day’s PIAA Class 2A quar­ter­fi­nal at Quakertown High School. The piv­otal third set stood 20-18 in New Hope’s fa­vor.

At their most try­ing time, the Roy­als got a kill from Sky­lar Osenkarski.

And an­other one.

And an­other one.

And an­other one. Four Osenkarski kills swung con­trol to Holy Redeemer’s fa­vor be­fore Sarah Liskow­icz slammed set-point down.

Win­ning the third set didn’t tech­ni­cally award the­match to Holy Redeemer, but it likely de­ter­mined the course the rest of the af­ter­noon took. The fourth set was a 25-12r oyal romp to close the match, 3-1, and put Holy Redeemer into the state semi­fi­nals.

Osenkarski to­taled 31 kills on the day, but the big­gest came when her team needed it the most.

“She’s not a two-time all­stater for noth­ing,” Holy Redeemer coach John Kablick said. “I think (set­ter Kor­ren Hicks) knows where she is when they game’s su­per tight. We have five hit­ters on this team and any­body can hit from any­where, but Sky­lar came up big. She’s been big for the last four years.”

Osenkarski said the key was sim­ply for the Roy­als to fix their is­sues.

“We got our­selves into a lot of ruts and we had to elim­i­nate that quick be­cause get­ting your­self in a rut then coming back is the hard­est thing,” she said. “Once we fig­ured out how to elim­i­nate them, then we con­trolled the game.”

Hicks set up the of­fense with 57 as­sists in the match.

While the kill num­bers were big — Livia Moore added 15, Ju­lia An­drejko eight and Liskow­icz seven — Holy Redeemer’s de­fen­sive play at the net played a cru­cial roll in the team ad­vanc­ing.

“We watched a lit­tle bit of film on them coming into the game so we were a lit­tle pre­pared,” Moore said. “We knew (Gwen Vo­gel­sang and Katie Costello), they’re tremen­dous hit­ters, but we knew if we got up there and were solid in our block­ing then it would just go down. We got a lot of points off that.”

While Vo­gel­sang (15 kills) and Costello (11 kills) did their fair share of dam­age, the Royal block­ers stood tall get­ting many points di­rectly off the block.

Osenkarski had nine blocks, Moore had six and Liskow­icz and An­drejko each had a pair.

“We prac­ticed re­ally hard and knew coming in their two main hit­ters were out­side,” Osenkarski said. “So, we prac­ticed block­ing out­side and al­ways knew where their main hit­ters were.”

“We work very, very hard on block­ing,” Klab­ick said. “We put so much time into block­ing and back row de­fense, dig­ging, and it pays off.”

The day’s open­ing set was one of runs. An ini­tial 8-2 Royal lead turned into a 13-9 Lion ad­van­tage.

The fi­nal tide turned in Holy Redeemer’s fa­vor as it took the set 25-18.

The sec­ond set was more even, tied at eight spots be­fore New Hope surged at the end for a 25-23 win.

With the match even, the play echoed the score­board. Lit­tle sepa­ra­tion was had ei­ther way in the third set. A kill and an ace from Costello put New Hope up 20-18. Then Osenkarski took over. Af­ter the Roy­als got ahead in the match, they didn’t let up.

They opened the fourth set up 9-3. Al­though New Hope got back within two, a 15-4 Holy Redeemer’s run, in­clud­ing Moore serv­ing the fi­nal eight points, closed out the day.

“One thing we don’t do that other teams do is, when they’re down they start to de­te­ri­o­rate and lose their en­ergy,” Moore said. “A phrase we fo­cus on is, ‘Fo­cus on the next point.’ We were tak­ing it a point at a time and I think that got their men­tal­ity down.”

Holy Redeemer im­proves to 23-1, while New Hope closes its sea­son at 21-2.

“I thought it was go­ing to be a tough one,” Klab­ick said. This team I be­lieve only lost one match the en­tire sea­son. We knew they had the two big out­side hit­ters who are re­ally good, good set­ters, back row was solid. We just kept grind­ing. And, we were hit­ting from ev­ery­where. We knew they were go­ing to come out­side 80 per­cent of the time, but we were at­tack­ing from ev­ery­where and that makes a dif­fer­ence.”

Holy Redeemer plays Dis­trict 3 cham­pion Delone Catholic in Tues­day’s semi­fi­nal at a site to be an­nounced.

“We made it this far, we prac­ticed our butts off,” Osenkarski said. “We did ev­ery­thing to make it this far. I’m re­ally ex­cited for this.”

HOLY REDEEMER 25232525—3 NEW HOPE-SOLESBURY 18 25 22 12 — 1

OSENKARSKI

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