Tide boost confidence at Madness
Pottsville 2nd at tournament
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.”
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.
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.