Panther Valley's 2011 volleyball season was one of its best in recent history. It got a little better Monday night without the Panthers even having to take the court.
Despite compiling a solid 9-4 Schuylkill League Division 2 record, it appeared the Panthers were going to finish one game behind Lourdes Regional in what had been a tight four-team battle between the Panthers, Lourdes, Halifax and Pine Grove all season long.
Lourdes looked like it had secured the title with a victory over Panther Valley last Tuesday and then a subsequent win over Schuylkill Haven on Thursday.
But during a District 4 playoff seeding meeting on Monday, it was discovered that Lourdes played two more matches than allowed by the PIAA. Because of that, it had to forfeit its final two matches against Panther Valley and Haven. Those forfeits dropped the Red Raiders' record from 10-3 in the league to 8-5. It also improved Panther Valley's league record to 10-3 and in the process gave the Panthers the Division 2 title.
Lourdes' problem came about because it played 20 regular season matches and competed in two tournaments. The PIAA counts tournament appearances as the equilvilent of two matches, thus giving Lourdes 24 'offical' matches for the season, which is two more than the maximum of 22 allowed by the PIAA.
Panther Valley (10-3, 13-3) will now play Division 4 champ Marian (12-1, 13-1) in one semifinal on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Martz Hall in Pottsville. The other semifinal will match Division 1 champ Pottsville (12-1, 14-1) against Division 3 champ Tri-Valley (12-1, 16-2). The two winners will play at 7:30 p.m. for the league championship.
In addition to Marian and Panther Valley playing in the Schuylkill League playoffs, the TIMES NEWS area will also be represented by Pleasant Valley in the Mountan Valley Conference volleyball playoffs.
The Bears (12-0) were the top seed for the playoffs and will host a semifinal doubleheader tonight.
Pocono Mountain East will play East Stroudsburg North in the 6 p.m. opening game. Pleasant Valley will meet Stroudsburg in the 7:30 p.m. nightcap.
The two winners will play for the league championship on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.