Nanticoke wakes up, stops feisty Lehman
The Black Knights nearly win game two, but the 12-1 Trojans answer the challenge.
By vrose@leader.net

The Lake-Lehman girls volleyball team may have done the rest of the Wyoming Valley Conference a disservice Monday in its showdown with Greater Nanticoke Area.

The Black Knights awakened a sleeping giant.

Lake-Lehman threw a scare into the Trojans by taking a four-point lead late in game two, before Sarah Acker came to the rescue as Nanticoke went on to a 3-0 victory by scores of 25-18, 26-24, 25-9.

“They caught us by surprise,” said Acker, a 6-foot-3 senior middle hitter. “We definitely took them too lightly. We didn’t expect them to give us so much trouble.”

Nanticoke (12-1) has not lost a game since falling to Crestwood in its season opener. The Trojans streak now stands at 36 games, but it came dangerously close to being snapped by Lake-Lehman.

The Black Knights (11-2) opened up a 22-18 lead in game two and appeared to have Nanticoke on the ropes. However, Acker had four kills down the stretch and a spectacular block against Lake-Lehman star Hannah Sorber as the Trojans prevailed, 26-24.

“We not only got fired up after game two -- we got mad,” Nanticoke’s Aly Byorick said. “We almost beat ourselves by committing some unforced errors, but it definitely served as a wake-up call.”

The Trojans came out with fire in their eyes and made quick work of the Black Knights in game three. They took a 14-3 lead on a Byorick kill, and widened the margin to 16-3 on a wicked shot by Kaitlyn Malshefski. The ball struck Sorber in the face and knocked her backwards.

“We made all the right moves in game three,” said Malshefski, who led Nanticoke with nine kills and six digs.

The match had significant playoff implications. Both Nanticoke and Lake-Lehman appear bound for the District 2 playoffs. However, Monday’s win enabled the Trojans to keep pace with Bishop Hoban (11-1) in the battle for the No. 2 seed. Crestwood (11-0) has the inside track on the No. 1 seed.

The loss may wind up dropping Lehman to the No. 4 seed. The Black Knights still have to play Crestwood and Bishop Hoban.

Lehman put up a tough battle in game one. The Black Knights took a 7-4 lead on a kill by Sorber, but were unable to withstand Nanticoke’s sweeping attack. The Trojans went ahead 15-10 on two kills by Acker, and opened a 23-14 lead on a Malshefski blast.

“We fought hard in the first two games, but we rolled over and died in game three,” Lehman coach Noah Pickett said. “Our passing was shaky and we didn’t hit down line. No. 44 (Acker) was hitting over our blocks.”

Sorber had another superb match. The 5-11 senior setter paced Lehman with eight kills, 16 assists and two blocks. Junior hitter Marissa Harrison pitched in with seven kills, and Sheree Horvath added four kills and one ace.

“Nanticoke has a great team,” Sorber said. “They’re very versatile. They have two awesome hitters (Malshefski and Acker), and they have really good passing.”

Nanticoke Area sweeps Lake-Lehman
By: Matt Engel , Staff Writer CV

A much taller Nanticoke Area girls volleyball team dominated visiting Lake-Lehman, 3-0 Monday afternoon in a key Wyoming Valley Conference match.
Nanticoke, 12-1, won 25-18, 26-24 and 25-9. Trojanette hitters Sarah Acker, 6-3 junior; Aly Byorick, 6-foot junior, and Kaitlyn Malshefski, 6-foot senior, combined for 26 kills.

Lehman, 11-2, hung with the Trojanettes early. Alaisha Sherwood's kill late in the first game brought the Knights within 19-14. Junior outside hitter Marissa Harrison added two consecutive kills to make it 24-18 before Malshefski ended the game with a kill.

Acker made her presence felt in the second game. Her five kills gave Nanticoke a 7-3 advantage. Lehman took a 17-15 lead on Hannah Sorber's kill. Sorber also vaulted the Knights to a 24-23 advantage late in the contest. But Acker's athleticism prevailed and her kill put her team up by two games.

Byorick led Nanticoke to a 15-3 lead in the third game. Acker and senior outside hitter Ashley Makarczyk finished it off with two late kills.

"We played well and with heart," said Sorber. "Nanticoke was tough on the attack, very versatile. They have two awesome hitters in Malshefski and Acker. We seemed to bury ourselves in game three."

Sorber finished with 16 assists, eight kills and two blocks. Harrison had seven kills, an ace and three digs. Senior outside hitter Sheree Horvath had four kills, seven digs and an ace. Junior Megan Devine added two kills and a block.

"We rolled over and died in that third game," explained Lehman coach Noah Pickett. "We fought hard in those first two games. Our passing was shaky. We didn't finish well in the second game. We showed a lot of heart. Nanticoke's a great team with a relentless offense. We hope to see them
again in the playoffs."

Malshefski had nine kills, six digs and a block. Acker had nine kills, five blocks and two assists. Byorick had eight kills, two blocks, two assists and five digs. Makarczyk had three service points, two aces, six kills, a block and 10 digs.

Senior outside hitter Brittany Pietrzyk had two points, a pair of aces, a kill and 10 digs. Senior defender Brittany Dougherty added five points, two aces and 11 digs. Senior setter Amanda Gavin had an ace, a kill and 28 assists.

"We were motivated," said Acker, who is also a basketball teammate of Byorick, Makarczyk and Malshefski. "We managed to contain Hannah. We play well because we're close friends both on and off the court."

NOTES: District 7 power Pine Richland is ranked first in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Allentown Central Catholic is second, followed by Hempfield, State College and Hopewell, also of District 7.

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