Tide boost con­fi­dence at Mad­ness

Pottsville 2nd at tour­na­ment

The Republican Herald - - SPORTS - By CHUCK CUR­LEY STAFF Writer

POTTSVILLE — You might think that play­ing in a day- long tour­na­ment just two days be­fore the Schuylkill League play­offs be­gin would be a bad idea.

But a smile crossed Pottsville head coach Maria Sher­akas’ face any­way.

She re­al­ized the Crim­son Tide’s run­ner- up fin­ish in the 14- team Lady Tide Martz Mad­ness tour­na­ment Satur­day will serve as a con­fi­dence boost.

“They can play their game and they can play with any­body and do what they need to do,” Sher­akas said af­ter the Tide fell 14- 25, 25- 19, 15- 12 to Gar­den Spot in the cham­pi­onship match.

The tour­na­ment, which be­gan at 9 a.m ., ended at 6:51 p.m. when the Tide were called for a net vi­o­la­tion on match point in the fi­nals.

“It’s an en­durance day, and I’m proud of the girls for the way they hung in there,” Sher­akas said. “They fought ev­ery point and took care of the things they needed to take care of and got to the end.”

The Tide also nearly shook up the Penn­syl­va­nia Vol­ley­ball Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion Class AAA poll. Gar­den Spot en­tered the day ranked sev­enth in the state.

In the fi­nals, Pottsville dom­i­nated the first of two 21- point sets — each of which be­gan with a 4- 4 tie. The Tide

led 15- 14 when a Gar­den Spot serve into the net gave a point to the Tide and the serve to Pottsville’s Amelia Painter.

With the ju­nior be­hind the ser­vice line, the Tide scored the set’s fi­nal nine points, in­clud­ing two aces by Painter and a set- clinch­ing kill by Jules Plachko, for the 25- 14 win.

Gar­den Spot an­swered in the sec­ond set. The Spar­tans pulled away from a 7- 7 tie en route to the 25- 19 vic­tory.

“They took con­trol of the sec­ond game, but the third game was any­body’s game,” Sher­akas said. “And we bat­tled. We didn’t just quit.”

In the third set, the teams were knot­ted at 11- 11, when a Pottsville kill at­tempt into the net gave Gar­den Spot the

lead to stay.

Jil­lian Pel­lish and Pay­ton Kleck­ner, who had seven blocks, each had four kills in the fi­nal match. Bella Varano had 10 as­sists while Painter fin­ished with 17 digs.

Pottsville posted a 7- 1 record in one of the tour­na­ment’s three pools.

The Crim­son Tide then played sin­gle sets against Schuylkill League play­off qual­i­fiers in the quar­ter­fi­nals and semi­fi­nals.

Plachko had four kills and Varano had nine as­sists as the Tide out­lasted Mahanoy Area Pine Grove’s Maura Lehman, left, and Gabrielle Brown reach for a shot from Gar­den Spot’s Lo­gan Martin dur­ing the Lady Tide Martz Mad­ness tour­na­ment Satur­day at Martz Hall.

25- 19 in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

The loss ended an event­ful day for the league play­off­bound Golden Bears. They needed a 26- 24, 25- 21 sweep of Schuylkill League Di­vi­sion I run­ner- up Blue Moun­tain in the fi­nal pool match to tie the Ea­gles for sec­ond place in their pool.

Mahanoy Area then came right back with an 18- 16 win over the Ea­gles to break a pool- record tie of 5- 3 and end Blue Moun­tain’s day.

In the other quar­ter­fi­nal, Wil­son de­feated Mar­ian 25- 10 af­ter the Fil­lies went 6- 3 to place sec­ond to Pan­ther Val­ley’s 9- 0 in their pool at Pottsville Area High School.

Alivia Karch­ner paced Mar­ian in the tour­na­ment with 21 kills, while Jami­son Wheeler had 11. Ta­tianna Ze­le­niak had 48 as­sists.

The Pan­thers’ per­fect record gave them a bye into the semi­fi­nals. Gar­den Spot, which went 8- 1 in its pool, also got a bye.

Pan­ther Val­ley then led Pottsville 12- 9 in one semifi-

nal be­fore the Tide scored six straight points to take com­mand in an even­tual 25- 17 vic­tory.

Gar­den Spot beat Wil­son 25- 20 in Satur­day’s other semi­fi­nal.

Two other Schuylkill League teams par­tic­i­pated in Satur­day’s event. Na­tiv­ity swept its first two op­po­nents in its pool, Dieruff and Po­cono Moun­tain East, but fell in two sets each to Pottsville and Wil­son to fin­ish 4- 4.

Pine Grove went 0- 8 in its pool.

The Car­di­nals have a long lay­off be­fore the Dis­trict 11 Class AA play­offs, but that won’t be the case for Pottsville, which op­poses Mahanoy Area again in Mon­day’s quar­ter­fi­nal at Min­ersville.

“We’ll do a walk- through to­mor­row, and they’re just beat. Rightly so,” Sher­akas said of her team. “They’ll be re­freshed and fine on Mon­day.”

Andy Matsko / STAFF Pho­tog­ra­pher

Pottsville’s Jill Pel­lish reaches to block a shot against Wil­son dur­ing pool- play ac­tion at the Martz Mad­ness vol­ley­ball tour­na­ment Satur­day at Martz Hall. The Tide fin­ished sec­ond in the 14- team tour­ney, los­ing to Gar­den Spot in the fi­nals.

ANDY MATSKO / STAFF Pho­tog­ra­pher

Pottsville’s Pay­ton Kleck­ner hits the ball to Wil­son’s Carly Cam­pion, left, and Shana Hunter dur­ing the Lady Tide Martz Mad­ness tour­na­ment Satur­day at Martz Hall.

ANDY MATSKO / STAFF Pho­tog­ra­pher

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