Nanticoke puts hurt on O’Reilly
By vrose@leader.net

The Bishop O’Reilly girls volleyball team came into Tuesday’s match against Greater Nanticoke Area sporting a 6-1 record and high expectations.

However, after falling victim to an overwhelming performance by the Trojans, the Queenswomen left the court in disbelief.

And for good reason.

Led by the sensational hitting of Aly Byorick and Kaitlyn Malshefski, Nanticoke took charge at the outset and romped to a 3-0 victory. The scores were 25-9, 25-4, 25-14. The Trojans not only beat Bishop O’Reilly in every phase of the game, they kept the Queenswomen running for cover throughout the match.

The Trojans played a near flawless match and also seemed to break Bishop O’Reilly’s spirit. The match reached a point where the Queenswomen were so timid, they were burying shots in the net.

Defensively, O’Reilly had no answer for Nanticoke’s relentless attack. Byorick, Malshefski, Ashley Makarczyk and Sarah Acker had their way at the net.

“Nanticoke is like a four-headed monster,” O’Reilly coach Justin Udzilla said. “They have four great hitters and there’s not much you can do to slow them down.”

Certainly, the Trojans played championship caliber volleyball Tuesday. Besides their overpowering hitting, they played smothering defense. Nanticoke (7-1) did a great job of containing O’Reilly star Ashley Rome, who averages 20 kills per match.

The 6-foot-3 middle hitter had just one kill and was never really a factor in the match.

“Rome is a good player, but our goal was to hold her to three kills,” Byorick said.

Byorick is best known for her basketball skills, but the 5-11 junior middle hitter has blossomed into an outstanding volleyball player. She’s a tremendous leaper who is deadly at the net. She’s also a great blocker and outstanding server.

Byorick’s hitting enabled the Trojans to take charge early in game one. In game two, she was unstoppable. She had three straight kills that gave Nanticoke a 17-0 lead, and two consecutive slams that forged a 19-4 lead.

Malshefski was equally as impressive. Time after time she blasted wicked shots that kept the Queenswomen on their heels. The 6-3 Acker saw only limited playing time, but posted six kills. Makarczyk added eight kills and didn’t miss a serve.

“We’re just playing really well,” Malshefski said. “We’ve been practicing hard, and we’re very close off the court. We hang out together.”

Nanticoke has played like a team on a mission since losing to Crestwood in its season opener. The Trojans haven’t lost a single game since.

“After we lost to Crestwood, we got a little down,” Byorick said. “But after a couple of practices, we pulled ourselves up. Now we’re very focused.”

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