Just two days after playing a five-game thriller in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game, Stroudsburg and Pleasant Valley met up again in the quarterfinals of the District 11 playoffs.
This time however, the win came a little easier for the Bears.
Pleasant Valley topped Stroudsburg for the fourth time this year, winning 25-13, 22-25, 25-15, 25-21 in the District 11 AAA volleyball playoffs. Although his team won two games rather easily, and built up a sizeable lead in the third, Pleasant Valley head coach John Gesiskie wasn't entirely pleased afterward.
"I thought game one was good," said Gesiskie. "We were in complete control. After game one I guess we figured (Stroudsburg) was just going to give up and go away. We can't do that. We have got to play the game from the first point to the last point.
"That's why I had to call a timeout. I had to let them know that they had to stop doing that. They had to stop taking points off and putting it on cruise control."
Pleasant Valley took game one in dominating fashion. The Bears scored nine straight points behind some good serving by Mackenzie Dorney (23 digs, six kills) and some timely kills by Beanna Joseph (17 kills, nine digs) and Courtney Miller (eight kills, six digs). They would retain the lead throughout and went on to win by 12.
Stroudsburg rebounded in game two and opened up a 5-1 lead before Gesiskie called timeout. Pleasant Valley came out of the timeout ready to go and quickly tied the game up at seven. Play went back and forth and saw the score tied at 22 late. That was when the Mounties scored three straight points to even the match.
The third game was much like the first, as the Bears staked to an early 8-2 lead. Stroudsburg fought back to get within five (7-12), but couldn't do much when Pleasant Valley jumped out to a ten-point lead and ended up winning by that margin.
Pleasant Valley kept the pedal to the medal in the fourth game by going up 12-2. The Bears kept their distance and pushed their lead to 23-11. Stroudsburg, with its season on the line, mounted one last final charge and forced Gesiskie into another timeout with the score 23-16. It would get to 24-21 before Joseph ended the match with a kill.
With the way the Bears began their Saturday match it seemed as if the championship contest from Thursday was still fresh in their memory. However, Gesiskie said the final wasn't even talked about.
"Actually we didn't talk about it at all," said Gesiskie. "When we play as a team I think we are the best team in the MVC. The only thing we talked about was if everyone was doing what they could to help the team. If everyone does their job correctly then it makes us a very difficult team to beat.
"People think we have outstanding players. I think we have an outstanding team. One person doesn't stand out.Everyone that goes out on that court contributes."
No. 2 Pleasant Valley will now take on No. 3 Southern Lehigh in the semifinals on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Liberty. The Bears haven't been the semi-finals since they made it to the semis of the winner's bracket in 2004.
"We haven't seen Southern Lehigh but they are a pretty dominant force," Gesiskie said. "But again, when the ball is on their side of the net they can do what they want to do. When it is on our side of the net we've got to do what we do. You never know what will happen in volleyball. We will have to see which teams show up."