School: Holy Redeemer
Sport: Boys Volleyball
Position: Middle Hitter
All in the Family: Mike is the son of Michael and Patricia Prociak of Jenkins Township. His sister Rebecca was a junior starting forward on Redeemer’s state semifinalist girls basketball team this season. He has two brothers named Nicholas (a seventh grader) and Matthew (in fourth grade), who attend Wyoming Area Catholic School and both play baseball and basketball.
Statistically Speaking: Prociak pounded home 43 kills and blocked 12 shots in two state playoff games, while leading Holy Redeemer into this week’s state semifinal round. He opened with 29 kills and nine blocks in a tight victory over York Suburban in a state opener, then added 14 kills with three blocks in a state quarterfinal sweep of Garden Spot.
Killer Instinct: It’s not simply the overwhelming number of kills Prociak puts up, it’s when he gets them that makes him so valuable to Holy Redeemer. The Royals needed every one of his 29 kills as they struggled to a tight five-set victory and won the deciding set by just two points over York Suburban on Prociak’s graduation night. He was relatively quiet while Redeemer coasted through the first two sets against Garden Spot. But when the Royals were in danger of losing the third set, Prociak stepped up and scored four of the match’s final five points — including two straight to tie the set at 22-22 and two straight to end it on a dink he refers to as a “lunch ball.”
Coach’s Corner: “It’s not a surprise, because he did the same thing last year,” Holy Redeemer coach Jack Kablick said of Prociak’s state playoff success. “He had 24 kills in our first state playoff game (in 2013) and 22 against Manheim. When we need a kill, need a point, if Mike Prociak’s on the court, he’s getting the set. Every team knows he’s our go-to (guy). He’s a three-year starter. He’s a lot more athletic than people give him credit for. We have Mike running every set a middle hitter can run right now. Especially now that he’s a senior, he doesn’t want to finish up yet, he doesn’t want to end (his career) yet. He wants to go to (the state championship match) June 7. That’s his mentality right now.”
Did you know? While Prociak has shown the ability to mix sizzling spikes with deft dinks, his instinctive touch is really noticeable when he plays the piano. “I took lessons for six years,” Prociak said. “After they ended, I sort of stayed with it and taught myself.” Just like when he’s at the volleyball net, versatility is his key. “It doesn’t really matter what type of music. I like alternative music, rock, some rap, too. I like to play regular songs.”
From his angle: “In the playoffs, I just sort of find an extra weight on my shoulder that my team expects even more from me, to perform,” Prociak said. “If there’s a series of bad plays, I sort of get a little flustered. (Setter) Mike Conlan and some of the other guys will say, ‘We really need you right here.’ When it’s crunch time and your team needs you to perform, I feel I just elevate my play when it really needs to be elevated.”
Week in Review: While Prociak was pounding home state points for Holy Redeemer’s boys volleyball team, his Royals teammate John Carr was right with him in the production department. Carr dominated the day with a match-high 19 kill and five blocks in the quarterfinals against Garden Spot, capping off his week of a combined 36 kills and nine blocks in two state games. Setter Mike Conlan made 48 assists for Redeemer in a state opener against York Suburban, then came back with 33 assists against Garden Spot. The Royals received 24 service points from Ken Rexer over two state games. And Nanticoke Area’s Ed Lukowski had 17 assists and six blocks in a state opener against Garden Spot. …
The Hazleton Area baseball team keeps throwing BBs - as in the Biasi brothers. Sophomore Dante Biasi struck out six batters in six shutout innings while limiting Delaware Valley to four hits in the Cougars’ 3-0 District 2 Class 4A championship game. His Penn State-bound senior brother Sal Biasi polished it off by picking up the save with two strikeouts in the final inning, and he also singled home Hazleton Area’s first run. Charlie Karchner led MMI Prep to the Class A district title by going 3-for-3, including a double, with two runs scored and an RBI against Blue Ridge. He also pitched five innings and struck out five in a game that was decided after he departed the mound. And Hanover Area’s Hick Deno was impressive on the mound during a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Lakeland in the District 2 Class 2A title game, with 11 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. …
Hazleton Area’s Samantha Varela struck like lighting in the District 2-4 Class 4A softball title game. Her home run leading off the bottom of the final inning tied the game, and allowed the Cougars to come back for a gold medal-winning 4-3 victory. Berwick rode Moriah Lynn right to the District 2 Class 3A title. She shut out hot-hitting Tunkhannock on five hits and scored one run and drove another in during the 5-0 title victory. Tunkhannock’s Erin Smith also pitched a five-hitter and allowed three earned runs while striking out five in six innings during that defeat. …
Wyoming Seminary’s girls lacrosse team suffered an anguishing one-goal defeat in a state playoff opener, but not without a strong effort from Kate Romanowski, who finished with three goals. Her teammates Rebecca Schulman and Brittany Williams each had two goals and an assist in that 11-10 loss to Danville.