D2 VOLLEYBALL: Holy Redeemer, Blue Ridge favored in Class 2A; Delaware Valley defends in Class 3A

A little more than a week ago, Blue Ridge and Holy Redeemer had a match scheduled as an exhibition ahead of the District 2 Class 2A boys volleyball playoffs.

It turned into an exhausting clash of wills.

The five-set showdown had all the intensity of a championship final, but alas, it stands as only a nonleague result on the ledger of each team’s final record.

Now, the importance of the games magnifies. Holy Redeemer earned the win in that showdown. Blue Ridge remained the team with the No. 1 seed for the postseason tournament. It sets the stage for a much-anticipated rematch. However, anything can happen as play starts in the Class 2A postseason.

Fifth-seeded Berwick (8-5) plays at No. 4 Dallas (12-5) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a quarterfinal match. The rest of the games are Thursday in Class 2A.

On Wednesday, No. 5 Scranton (3-8) is at No. 4 Abington Heights (9-6), and No. 6 Wyoming Valley West (2-9) is at No. 3 Hazleton Area (8-4) in quarterfinal games at 6 p.m.

Holy Redeemer turned in an inspired effort when it met Blue Ridge on May 6. Joshua Rocha had 22 kills, nine digs, and seven points, while George Sabatini added 15 kills in the 3-2 (25-12, 17-25, 14-25, 25-23, 15-6) victory. Jack Wasiakowski added 44 assists and 10 points, and teammate Mike Dubaskas finished with eight kills, and that match avenged a loss to the Raiders in last season’s final.

It also handed Blue Ridge its only loss this season and its second in the last 40 games.

The Royals (14-2) start the postseason at home on Thursday at 6 p.m. against upstart West Scranton, the No. 7 seed. The Invaders are in their first official season as a sponsored varsity sport in District 2 and the Lackawanna League. They have had an outstanding debut and have a 7-5 overall record.

Quenton McMillan, Emanuel Benitz, and Bryan Barbosa lead West Scranton.

Blue Ridge (16-1) won its first 15 matches of the season by sweep before its loss to Holy Redeemer. The Raiders bounced back with another hard-fought 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre Area, which is the No. 2 seed for the District 2 Class 3A playoffs.

Connor Cranage leads the Raiders, who host No. 8 Forest City on Thursday at 6 p.m. He is winding down an accomplished career that earned him his jersey being retired by the school district this spring.

This season, he has 265 kills, 119 service points, 41 aces, and 94 digs. His four-year all-state stay with the Raiders is impressive, with 1,053 kills, 461 service points with 139 aces, and 488 digs.

Carson Gallagher, the setter, has 2,004 assists in his career and has 466 this season.

Mountain View (13-5) is the No. 3 seed and hosts No. 6 Crestwood (9-6) on Thursday in a quarterfinal match.

The semifinal doubleheader is May 21 at the highest remaining seed, and the final is May 23 at Scranton High School as the second game of a championship doubleheader.

Both the champion and the runner-up advance to the PIAA playoffs.

Class 3A

Delaware Valley (12-3) won its second straight Wyoming Valley Conference championship and earned the No. 1 seed.

The Warriors host the Class 3A semifinal doubleheader on May 20 and await the winner of the Scranton-Abington Heights match.

Chris U’Glay, a Class 3A all-state player, leads the Warriors with 261 kills, 15 blocks, 88 digs, and 119 service points. His late-season power plays lifted Delaware Valley to a win over Holy Redeemer and then a nonleague victory over District 11 power Parkland, which is the defending PIAA Class 3A champion.

Aidan Papula has 361 assists, Tommy Parker has 156 service points and 84 kills, and Giono Gualandi has 85 kills for the Warriors.

Wilkes-Barre Area (15-3), which lost 3-1 to Delaware Valley in the regular season, is the No. 2 seed. The Wolfpack plays the winner of the Wyoming Valley West-Hazleton Area game in the 5 p.m. semifinal at Delaware Valley on May 20.

The Class 3A final is a 5 p.m. start at Scranton on May 23, and the champion advances to the PIAA playoffs.



Wednesday’s quarterfinal

5-Berwick (8-5) at 4-Dallas (12-5), 6 p.m.

Thursday’s quarterfinals

8-Forest City (5-5) at 1-Blue Ridge (16-1), 6 p.m.

6-Crestwood (9-6) at 3-Mountain View (13-5), 6 p.m.

7-West Scranton (7-5) at 2-Holy Redeemer (14-2), 6 p.m.

Semifinals, May 21

Quarterfinal winners at site of highest remaining seed, 5 p.m.

Final, May 23

Semifinal winners at Scranton High School


Wednesday’s quarterfinals

6-Wyoming Valley West (2-9) at 3-Hazleton Area (8-4), 6 p.m.

5-Scranton (3-8) at 4-Abington Heights (9-6), 6 p.m.

Semifinals, May 20

Quarterfinal winners at site of highest remaining seed, 5 p.m.

Final, May 23

Semifinal winners at Scranton High School, 5 p.m.