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Errors hurt Nanticoke in first-round loss
Trojans’ season ends against hard-fighting Bethlehem Catholic. Nanticoke finishes with 20-2 mark.

Records sure can be deceiving.
Bethlehem Catholic, a team that lost eight times during the regular season against tougher competition, posted an impressive 3-1 victory over Greater Nanticoke Area on Tuesday in a PIAA Class 2A first-round game at Liberty High School.
The District 11 champion Golden Hawks (13-8) advanced to Friday’s Sweet 16 at Central York High School. District 2 champion Nanticoke ended its season with a 20-2 record.
“We had a great season, but this is a tough way for it to end,” said Nanticoke senior Aly Byorick.
Bethlehem Catholic got a magnificent performance from senior superstar Lauren Albright. The 5-foot-9 senior middle hitter had 21 kills and four aces to lead the Golden Hawks to a 25-15, 20-25, 26-24, 25-19 victory.
“She’s very difficult to stop,” said Bethlehem Catholic coach Mike Metzger. “They double-blocked and sometimes triple blocked her. But she was still able to hit the ball where no one was within 10 feet.”
Albright’s play also left Nanticoke’s players impressed.
“Albright played a great game,” said Nanticoke senior Ashley Makarczyk. “She knew where to put the ball. And she did a great job of finding our weak spots.”
The teams played on even terms in the first two games, but Nanticoke struggled with its service play, normally a strong point. But Tuesday, the Trojans made 13 service errors while Bethlehem Catholic had only six.
Nanticoke got enormous efforts from middle hitters Sarah Acker and Byorick. Acker had 13 kills and five blocks, while Byorick added 10 kills and two blocks. Their superb defensive play kept Nanticoke from being blown out.
“They continually kept the ball in play,” Albright said of Nanticoke. “And their defense seemed to keep the ball off the floor.”
The Trojans led throughout most of Game 3, but let the lead slip away. Nanticoke surged ahead 20-16 on an Acker kill, but Bethlehem Catholic drew even at 21 on three consecutive unforced errors from Nanticoke.
It seemed appropriate that the Golden Hawks scored the winning point, 26-24, on another Nanticoke miscue.
“We got flustered in Game 3,” Nanticoke setter Amanda Gavin said. “We let it get us down and we never really recovered.”
Nanticoke seemed to lose interest in Game 4. The Trojans fell behind 11-8 after a wicked kill by Albright and were never able to get closer than two points the rest of the way.
“Mentally we just weren’t ready to play,” Makarczyk said. “I don’t know why, but we weren’t up for this game like we were for Crestwood (in the D2 2A title match last week).”
Byorick, who spent 10 minutes with her head buried in her hands after the match, concurred. The senior said it was more of the Trojans beating themselves than Bethlehem Catholic’s play.
“Albright is no better than (Crestwood’s) Layne Kehl,” Byorick said, “and their team isn’t any better than Crestwood. We just didn’t show up.”

District 2 girls volleyball
Trojans win 2A crown impressively
Nanticoke avenged its only loss of the season and now has won 60 games in a row.

It’s been said that payback is hell. But for the Greater Nanticoke Area girls volleyball team Thursday night, it was merely a matter of taking care of business.
The powerful Trojans unleashed all of the weapons in their impressive arsenal to post a 3-0 victory over previously unbeaten Crestwood to capture the District 2 Class 2A championship at Wyoming Valley West High School.
Nanticoke (20-1) will face the No. 1 seed from District 11 in opening round action of the state playoffs at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bethlehem Liberty High School.
“This is what we’ve been shooting for ever since Crestwood beat us,” said senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Malshefski, referring to the Trojans’ 3-2 loss to the Comets in the season opener in September. “We’ve focused on nothing else. I don’t know if anyone realizes it, but we haven’t lost a single game since then.”
Nanticoke has now won 20 straight matches and 60 consecutive games. To add to the drama, the Trojans saved their best effort for their rematch with Crestwood.
Truth is, Nanticoke played so well it would have taken a near-perfect performance by Crestwood to curb the tide.
Malshefski and Ashley Makarczyk consistently hit rocket shots that kept the Comets’ defense on its heels. Both wound up with nine kills, and Makarczyk also posted five blocks.
The Trojans got an eye-popping defensive effort from 6-foot-3 middle hitter Sarah Acker, who had six blocks, including three stuffs against Crestwood star Layne Kehl. Acker also notched seven kills, all on wicked spikes from high above the net.
Acker’s running mate — 5-11 middle hitter Aly Byorick -- once again displayed her great athleticism. Byorick is best known for basketball, but Thursday she played volleyball like it was her only sport. She had five kills and four blocks, and spent much of the night on the floor diving for digs.
Byorick set the tone for Nanticoke’s hustle when she dove head first trying to dig up a wicked blast by Kehl in game two. She got floor burns by sliding about 5 feet on her knees in a vain effort to get to the ball. At first she appeared injured, but got up smiling.
Makarczyk had an excellent serving game and was a terror on offense. She was the Trojans’ most aggressive hitter in the early going, when Nanticoke had trouble getting its offense untracked.
“Ashley did an awesome job,” Malshefski said. “She attacked the ball.”
Crestwood started fast, but it turned out to be an aberration. The Comets took a 16-12 lead in game one on a Jade Dudley slam, but Malshefski caught fire and Nanticoke stormed back. The Trojans surged ahead 24-19 on two straight kills and a block by Malshefski.
Game two was the Sarah Acker Show. Nanticoke forged an 8-4 lead when Acker stuffed Kehl twice in a row. The Trojans drew out to a 19-10 lead on two kills and another block by Acker. Byorick added two kills and a block as the Trojans cruised to a 25-16 win.
Acker downplayed her dominating performance.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” she said, referring to her blocks.
The Comets hung tough in game three. They took a 12-11 lead on a Kehl slam. But Malshefeski went on a hitting tear to seal the deal for the Trojans. It seemed only appropriate that Nanticoke closed out the match on a Malshefski ace.
“All I remember is that everyone (on the team) started jumping on top of me,” Malshefski said. “I was really psyched for the match because we wanted it so bad.”
Kehl paced Crestwood with 15 kills, and Dudley had nine kills. Senior setter Nicole Boone dished out 28 assists.
“Their blocking was the big difference,” Boone said. “They double blocked us a lot of time and our hitters had a tough time.”
Byorick said winning the district volleyball championship exceeded all of her basketball accomplishments.
“I have four silver medals hanging in my room and now I have a gold one. I’ll treasure it forever — even if we win the state tournament in basketball — because it’s the first one.”

Trojanettes claim District 2 volleyball title
By: Jill Snowdon , Staff Writer

On the eve of their district title showdown with undefeated Crestwood, the Nanticoke Area Trojanettes were given a reading assignment.
It was a newspaper article Coach Deb Krupinski saved from the last time Nanticoke's volleyball team won a District 2 championship. Coincidentally, it was also against an undefeated Comet squad.
The Trojanettes did their homework and claimed their first district title since 1997 with a three-game sweep over Crestwood, Thursday night at Wyoming Valley West High School.
"It was the same situation as it was in 1997 and I told them to take that article home and read it," Krupinski said. "I told them 'this is going to happen again' and I hope it was an inspiration. And today they left school psyched, they came here psyched and they took (Crestwood) down in three."
Nanticoke improves to 20-1 and advances to the state tournament where it will meet the District 11 champion at a site and time to be announced. Crestwood ends the year at 20-1.
Thanks to a tremendous team effort, which was led by Kaitlyn Malshefski's hitting and Sarah Acker's defense, the Trojanettes posted scores of 25-19, 25-16, 25-20.
Crestwood took a 16-12 lead on a kill from Jade Dudley before the Trojanettes rallied behind a block and a kill from Aly Byorick and two straight kills and a block from Malshefski.
"We lost momentum in the first game," Crestwood coach Bruce Muchler said. "It seemed to carry into the other two games. We got on a bad run there with our passing and our serve receiving."
Nanticoke's defense highlighted game two, with Acker posting two blocks and a kill for a 9-4 margin. Crestwood was unable to recover and didn't take a lead in the second game.
"I think we played 100 percent in everything," Nanticoke senior outside hitter Ashley Makarczyk said. "But I think our defense is what won it for us. I was really confident about this game. Usually I don't think about games, I just go out and play, but I had such a good feeling about this one."
Nanticoke started pulling away in game three after Malshefski registered a kill and Gavin followed with an ace for a 21-18 lead. Byorick added an ace, Acker connected for a kill and Malshefski iced the win with an ace before being mobbed by her teammates and Nanticoke students.
"I don't think it hit me until everyone started jumping on me," Malshefski said. "This is the best feeling and it makes it that much sweeter because we lost last year."
Malshefski is referring to Nanticoke's loss to Bishop Hoban in last season's district final.
While the win masks that loss, it also eases the Trojanettes minds after they suffered their only setback of the season to Crestwood (3-2) on Sept. 2.
"After we lost to Crestwood, we beat every team since then in three games and we didn't want to break that," Makarczyk said. "Last time we played Crestwood we were scared, but everyo\ne came in confident today."
Makarczyk finished with nine kills, nine digs, four blocks and an ace. Malshefski posted nine kills, four digs and two service point. Byorick had five kills, four blocks and four digs, while Acker had seven kills and six blocks. Amanda Gavin led the team with 26 assists and Brittany Pietryzk and Brittany Dougherty combined for 12 digs.
For Crestwood, Nicole Boone had 28 assists. Jade Dudley tallied nine kills and Layne Kehl had 15 kills.
"I can empathize with Crestwood," Krupinski said. "I know exactly what (losing the district title) feels like and so do my girls. But it's nice to be on this side of the fence this year."


Nanticoke rolls past Tigers

Nanticoke's "big three" hitters, 6-foot-3 Sarah Acker, 6-foot Aly Byorick and 6-foot Kaitlyn Malshefski dominated the Lady Tigers, who finished 13-7. The Trojanettes coasted behind Acker in the opening game.

Tunkhannock put on a respectable showing in the second game. Nanticoke senior outside hitter Ashley Makarczyk recorded the final kill in game three for the sweep.

"We were underdogs," said Lady Tiger senior outside hitter Deena Frei, who had five points, five kills and 12 digs. "Nanticoke has tall girls who can block."

Malshefski had two aces, six kills and six digs. Acker had eight kills, three blocks and a dig. Byorick had three aces, six kills, three blocks and six digs. Makarczyk had four points, four aces, four kills and six digs. Brittany Pietrzyk had four kilsl and six digs. Brittany Dougherty had five digs. Amanda Gavin had 25 assists.

"Tunkhannock played well," said Nanticoke coach Debbie Krupinski. "They did a nice job on defense. Our girls are working hard. We're looking forward to Crestwood."

Junior Danielle Gilroy added eight points and 12 digs for Tunkhannock. Senior back row specialist Julie Howell had four points and five digs. Sophomore setter Aimee Wilder had 14 points, eight assists and nine digs.

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