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Redeemer Advances To Final

By Tom Fox, CorrespondentMay 22, 2019

WILKES-BARRE — One miss.

Will Wasiakowski said that’s the rule at Holy Redeemer practice when it comes to serving. The athlete gets one miss, and he needs to get the rest between the lines.

Wasiakowski’s first miss Tuesday was on his very first serve. He didn’t miss any more.

A 7-0 run on the sophomore’s serve helped break a 7-7 tie in the second set, and Holy Redeemer rode the hot hand of Jared Piontkowski’s 21 kills en route to a 3-0 victory over Tunkhannock in the District 1-2-11 subregional semifinals Tuesday evening. Set scores were 25-17, 25-18 and 25-23.

Redeemer will go for its ninth straight district title Thursday at Dallas against District 11 representative Bethlehem Catholic, which swept Abington Heights in the other semifinal.

“It is scary when you first get back there,” Wasiakowski said. “You get the first few in, and that’s where the energy starts to build up. It all starts with the first contact. I missed that first serve, but that was my one miss. After that, the confidence just built up. That was my one error for the game.”

Jack Kablick knows what the situation is.

Piontkowski is going to get his kills. He’s a Division 1 prospect and one of the premier players in the state.

But if Redeemer is going to make a run when the state playoffs start next week, the Royals are going to need members of their sophomore class to step up.

Tuesday, it was a breakout for them.

Wasiakowski was lethal behind the service line. Matt Spiccioli, Matt Williams and Matt Albrecht all took healthy swings when set up by George Beck.

Albrecht was the real catalyst in the first set as he finished with four kills in the stanza. And the Royals fed of his energy as he let out a huge scream after his first spike of the match gave Redeemer a 14-10 lead.

“All of the sophomores really stepped up in this one,” Albrecht said. “That’s what we needed to do. We have a great hitter with Jared and a great setter in George. We knew that we had to step up and contribute in any way possible. Even though we are sophomores, we know that we are going to have to play a huge role in the state playoffs.”

Tunkhannock, which lost 3-1 to Redeemer in the last week of the regular season, kept it close in each set.

The Tigers were down just two (18-16) in the first and found themselves tied at 22-22 late in the third.

It was about finding out a way to get that 25th point.

Redeemer closed out the first by scoring the last four points – punctuated by a big Piontkowski spike.

The Royals, who scored six of the last nine to end the second, scored three of the final four to seal the match, thanks to kills from Piontkowski and Williams, in addition to Tunkhannock’s 10th service error of the match.

“Those sophomores came up big. It takes so much pressure off of Jared. Sometimes, they don’t get enough credit,” Kablick said. “These guys are stepping up, and we need that. Our serves were on. We hit our spots like 80 to 90 percent of the time. It made it tough for them to stay in rhythm. Tunkhannock is an experienced team with three nice hitters. We had a defensive and blocking game plan. It work more than it didn’t tonight.”

Albrecht finished with six kills, while George Beck ended with 31 assists and seven points. Spiccioli, Williams and Nick Prociak combined for 12 kills.

Avery Billings had a team-high 10 spikes for Tunkhannock, and teammates Paul Binner and Trejon Turner combined for 14 kills.

TUNKHANNOCK 17 18 23 — 0 HOLY REDEEMER 25 25 25 — 3

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