Last updated: April 26. 2014 12:26AM - 1846 Views
By Tom Fox For The Times Leader

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WILKES-BARRE – Coughlin found a sliver of hope.

Trailing 2-0, but up 22-20 in the third set, the Crusaders were just hoping to steal momentum and force a fourth set.

Mike Gatusky squashed those plans rather quickly.

The Holy Redeemer outside hitter scored three of the last four points in the set, and the Royals survived a strong charge from Coughlin, 3-0, in a battle of unblemished teams in Wyoming Valley Conference boys’ volleyball.

Match scores were 25-15, 25-22 and 25-23.

Redeemer, the reigning District 2 Class 2A champ, improves to 9-0 in the league, while Coughlin falls to 8-1.

“It’s easy to win the 25-12 games. It’s winning the close ones like this, away from home,” Redeemer head coach Jack Kablick said. “Winning the tough ones on the road, that’s big. We did it with Coughlin, and the same with North Pocono. We are happy with that.”

Kablick called it a learning moment for his inexperienced Royals, who lost several key components from that district championship squad.

When Coughlin got a two-point lead in the second set, the veteran Redeemer coach stood up from his chair and gave his team a little glare. It led to a 7-0 run.

It was a quick time out in the final stanza with the Royals trailing 22-20 that sparked a 5-1 run to end the match.

While it was sloppy at times, including 16 service errors and several mental miscues, a win looks the same in the standings.

“In the last game, we gave up 17 points. When an opponent only has to score eight points, it’s tough on the offense,” Kablick said. “We worked through it. It might be good for our team. We have five kids in the rotation that have no varsity experience. We are still maturing, and these tight games will help us down the line.”

Then again, when you have a dominating spiker like Mike Prociak, it’s a little easier to overcome mistakes.

The 6-foot-8 middle dropped several kills that drew reaction from the crowd, and couldn’t be slowed down despite Coughlin’s triple-block setup. He finished with a game-high 20 kills, eight of those in the final set where the Royals trailed for the majority.

“The errors have to go away, obviously, but to pull away in three sets shows what we can do as a team,” Prociak said. “If we can cut down on the errors, we will be fine. It was a good learning tool because it shows that we have to fix the mistakes. We are going to run into some pretty strong times when the playoffs begin.”

The Crusaders rallied after getting handled in the opening set.

Danny Sales got going offensively, and so did his teammates. The problem was just staying away from the Redeemer run.

The Royals’ 7-0 spurt in the middle of the second set turned a two-point deficit into a five-point edge.

But the real heartbreaker was the 5-1 run to end the match.

“I was happy with the way we played,” Coughlin head coach Shayne McGrady said. “We have to work on serve-receive because that was our issue tonight. When they served the ball in, they ran through us. We were fortunate that they missed a few serves. I was disappointed with that because we jump-served at them for the last week. But we will fight through it. They are a good team. Mike Prociak is a good player, and it’s intimidating when you see him reaching out for the ball.”

Gatusky added 13 kills for the Royals, while Mike Conlon assisted on 32 points. Sales finished with 10 kills, four assists and four digs in a losing effort, while sophomore Sal Purpura had 14 assists.

North Pocono 3, Berwick 0

The Trojans were led by 13 service points from Justin Butler in the win over the Bulldogs.

Reese Musselman scored five points for Berwick.

Hanover Area 3, Nanticoke 0

Eddie Lukowski led the Trojans’ effort with 23 assists in the loss to the Hawkeyes.

Hanover Area player stats were not available.

Dallas 3, Wyoming Valley West 2

Bryce Mattson totaled 20 kills while Steve Darling added 31 assists in the Mountaineers win over the Spartans.

Wyoming Valey West was led by 13 digs from Mark Burridge and 10 service points from John Butchko.


Holy Redeemer 3, Coughlin 0

HR `25`25`25

COU `15`22`23

HR — Mike Prociak, 20 kills, 3 blocks; Mike Gatusky, 13 kills; Mike Conlon, 9 points, 32 assists; Nick James, 11 points.

COU — Danny Sales, 10 kills, 4 assists, 4 digs; Kenny Werkheiser, 6 points, 4 digs; Sal Purpura, 14 assists.

North Pocono 3, Berwick 0


North Pocono`25`25`25

BER — Dayton Broyer 3 kills, 3 blocks, 2 assists; Reese Musselman 2 kills, 1 dig, 5 points, 1 block.

NP — Justin Butler 13 service points, 3 aces, 2 digs, 4 assists; Cory Ronaldi 2 service points, 9 kills, 2 digs; Eric Kramer 9 service points, 3 aces, 6 kills, 10 digs, 1 block, 1 assist.

Hanover Area 3, Nanticoke 0

Hanover Area`25`25`25


HAN — Not available.

NAN — Eddie Lukowski 5 aces, 2 kills, 2 blocks, 23 assists; Brent Piontkowski 2 aces, 8 kills, 1 block, 2 digs.

Dallas 3, Wyoming Valley West 2


Wyoming Valley West`16`23`25`25`12

DAL — Bryce Mattson 5 service points, 3 aces, 20 kills, 6 blocks, 10 digs; Steve Darling 4 kills, 31 assists; Patrick Madaya 13 kills, 6 blocks, 6 digs;

WVW — Mark Burridge 7 service points, 2 aces, 16 kills, 2 blocks, 13 digs; John Butchko 10 service points, 6 kills, 16 digs.

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