WILKES-BARRE — Jack Kablick called it a breakout performance.
For Lauren Slavoski, maybe it’s a way to keep up with big sister, Nicole – an all-state candidate and Division I recruit — for one night.
The sophomore hitter showed how far she has come this season, picking up 11 kills as Holy Redeemer swept past Crestwood, 3-0, in the District 2 Class 2A semifinals.
Match scores were 25-7, 25-14 and 25-15.
Redeemer faces off with No. 2 seed North Pocono in Friday’s district final at Nanticoke.
“For Lauren, it was a coming-out party,” said Kablick, the Holy Redeemer head coach. “For some, they may not know too much about her. She will get as many attempts as Nicole will during a match. And if you forget about Alyssa Platko, she can cause you some problems. I think we are a well-rounded offensive team. We kind of focused on the middle more tonight because I thought we had a major advantage there.”
Watch Lauren Slavoski, and it’s hard to believe she’s only a sophomore.
She soared high above the net, and dropped several spikes toward the middle of the court.
Many times, she jumped higher than the block itself.
“I didn’t even realize it,” she admitted. “This was probably the best game that I played all season, at least hitting-wise. The sets they gave me were great. I think it was the adrenaline. I was just so excited to play. It was like Del Val all over again.”
The sophomore controlled the opening set, recording six of her kills. Between those big spikes and a huge, 7-0 run on Nicole Slavoski’s serve, Redeemer was off and running.
“You have to give credit to their coaches because they do a great job. They are the juggernaut of the league,” Crestwood head coach Mike Williams said. “To come across them in the semifinal hurt.”
Yes, the Comets kept it close in the final two sets.
But it’s becoming clearly obvious.
The key to beating Redeemer may not be on the court, but in reality, the mindset throughout the match.
How good have the Royals been in 2013? The team, ranked in the top 10 of the state, hasn’t dropped a set to any Wyoming Valley Conference opponent.
Forget about losing a match. District 2 competition can’t find a way to win a set.
“With Redeemer, it’s a huge mental game because they play with so much confidence,” Williams said. “They almost know they are going to win. Honestly, I think the hardest part is winning the mental game. If someone is going to beat them, you have to break that mental hurdle. Again, I feel bad for anyone going against them soon because they are playing so well right now. Even their younger girls are playing at a high level now.”
Behind eight straight service points from Kaya Swanek, Redeemer jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the second set before finishing it off, 25-14.
The Comets kept it close in the third.
The difference was a 10-5 run in mid-set to turn a 9-8 game into a 19-13 Royal edge.
Nicole Slavoski was her normal self. She finished with a match-high 18 kills and 14 service points, along with three digs, three assists and two blocks. Chelsea Skrepnack had six digs, while Lexie Evans finished with a 26 assists.
Bryanna Hurn had three kills and three aces to pace Crestwood.
“Crestwood is like our natural rivalry over the years,” Kablick said. “We’ve played them in the semifinals or the finals almost every year. I think that intensity showed tonight. We know North Pocono is going to be tough. They like to use their two primary hitters in Emily Cook and Mallorie Deschaine. I don’t expect them to do anything different in the district final.”
Holy Redeemer 3, Crestwood 0
Holy Redeemer `25`25`25
CRE: Bryanna Hurn, 3 kills, 3 aces; Nicole Jankowski 3 kills.
HR: Nicole Slavoski 18 kills, 14 service points, 3 blocks, 3 digs; Lauren Slavoski 11 kills, 4 service points, 3 digs, 2 blocks; Kaya Swanek 4 digs, 12 service points; Lexie Evans, 26 assists, 10 service points.