Last updated: April 29. 2014 11:32PM - 2441 Views
By Tom Fox For The Times Leader

Mike Prociak tips the ball over the net for Holy Redeemer during Tuesday's match against Nanticoke.
Mike Prociak tips the ball over the net for Holy Redeemer during Tuesday's match against Nanticoke.
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WILKES-BARRE – It’s like he picked his target and just kept firing.

Yes, Alex Kotch would occasionally mix in a different spot on the court, just to keep the Greater Nanticoke Area defense honest.

No doubt, the Holy Redeemer libero’s hot spot was the deep left side of the court. Why switch when the result brings a great wealth of success with it?

Kotch served Redeemer to a 10-0 lead in the first set, and bettered the total with 12 straight points to start the third as the Royals swept Nanticoke, 3-0, in a battle of top teams in the Wyoming Valley Conference.

Match scores were 25-7, 25-17 and 25-10.

Redeemer (10-0), ranked No. 4 in the latest Double-A state polls and coming off a championship in the Elizabethtown Tournament last weekend, is now two games in front of the Trojans (8-2) in the league standings.

“We hit our targets pretty good with the serve,” Redeemer head coach Jack Kablick said. “That’s all you can ask for. You want to get the other team out of their rhythm. Our thing is that we don’t try to lollipop any serves. We try to make the other team earn the point. Sometimes, it backfires on us, but tonight, we were on.”

So much for the worries about the service game.

After a sluggish performance behind the service line in a straight-set win over Coughlin Friday, a match where Redeemer had 16 errors, there was no such issues against the Trojans.

The Royals had 10 aces, and only seven errors.

“We work a lot on our serves, and I think that it does surprise our opponents sometimes,” Kotch said. “I think our success with the serves comes because of how hard we work on it. Our coach is telling us to just focus back there. We knew Nanticoke was a good team, and we had to be ready for them.”

Credit Kotch for setting the tone.

While his match-high six aces were impressive, it was the comfortable cushion he provided his squad.

His 10 straight points in the opening set kind of shell-shocked the Trojans. Debbie Gavin’s group could never shake off the cobwebs, down 19-3 at one point and losing 25-7.

He finished the match with 25 points.

“Alex has a nice float serve that moves and dances a little bit,” Kablick said. “It’s not the easiest thing to pass. It looks like it is soft, but it’s not.”

The third set wasn’t much better.

Again, Kotch was firing darts toward the popular corner. He had four of his six aces in the period where he rolled off 12 straight points.

And it’s pretty hard to spot the fourth-ranked team in the state a 12-point lead and come back.

“The speed of the game was great for them,” Gavin said. “In every position, I’m sure they are three talented players deep. It’s only our second loss and we’re having a good season. I think we settled down in the second set and got in a groove. Our passing just wasn’t there today. If we could have passed a little better, maybe we could have given them a battle.”

While 6-foot-8 Division I recruit Mike Prociak was his normal self with a match-leading 15 kills and two blocks, Kablick saw his younger kids take another step toward varsity maturity.

Mike Gatusky had five kills, junior setter Mike Conlon had 30 assists and first-year sophomore varsity player John Carr probably had his best game with nine kills – six of those in a tight second set where Redeemer led 17-14 before ripping off an 8-3 run to close the stanza.

“John is just another matchup nightmare down the middle. He’s a 6-foot-7 guy. Everyone talks about Mike Prociak, but John Carr is coming right behind him,” Kablick said.

Matt Winters had five kills to pace Nanticoke, while sophomore Eddie Lukowski had 10 assists.

Coughlin 3, Wyoming Valley West 0

Danny Sales totaled 13 kills as the Crusaders toppled the Spartans.

Wyoming Valley West was led by 16 assists from Nick Klimshok.

North Pocono 3, Dallas 0

The Mountaineers’ effort was led by 12 assists from Steve Darling and nine kills from Bryce Mattston in the loss to the Trojans.

Stats for North Pocono were not reported.


Holy Redeemer 3, Nanticoke 0


Holy Redeemer`25`25`25

NAN — Matt Winters 5 kills; Eddie Lukowski 10 assists; Brent Piontkowski 3 kills.

HR — Alex Kotch 25 points, 4 digs; Mike Prociak 15 kills, 2 blocks; John Carr, 9 kills, 3 blocks; Mike Conlon 30 assists, 2 kills.

North Pocono 3, Dallas 0

North Pocono`25`25`25


NP — Not Reported

DAL — Bryce Mattson 9 kills, 3 blocks; Steve Darling 4 kills, 12 assists.

Coughlin 3, Wyoming Valley West 0

Wyoming Valley West`18`16`20


WVW — Mark Burridge 13 kills, 8 digs; Nick Klimshok 16 assists.

COU — Danny Sales 11 kills, 10 assists, 2 aces, 8 points, 9 digs; Tyler Davis 9 kills, 2 blocks; Eric Williams 3 kills, 1 ace, 1 dig, 1 block.

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