Bears sweep Lehighton
bob ford/times news Pleasant Valley's Courtney Miller (23) follows through after spiking the ball. Taylor Yurasits is the Indian player at the net.
Communication, teamwork and trust are essential in any sport, especially volleyball where all the players on the floor need to be working in harmony to achieve success.
Pleasant Valley had all facets of its game working together against Lehighton, posting a 25-22, 25-14, 25-20 Mountain Valley Conference win on Tuesday.
"A lot of what we've been working on has been communication," Pleasant Valley coach John Gesiskie said. "We communicate well sometimes and sometimes we don't.
"We've worked a lot on that in practice and we've also done a lot of off the court work on it as well so they know how they can trust each other more. There was definitely a lot more talking tonight and guidance on the floor."
Pleasant Valley (13-2, 9-1) relied on the senior leadership of Mackanzie Dorney (six kills, 14 digs, two aces), Courtney Miller (six kills, 10 blocks) and Ashley Rivera (12 kills, nine digs) while also leaning on key contributions from underclassmen.
"My libero (Katie Lenart, a junior) is out right now with a concussion and Sofia Janak, who's a freshman, filled in for her," Gesiskie said. "It was her first time in that role and the girls knew they had to step it up and talk to help her through things.
"Everyone's going to make mistakes; that's part of the game. The idea is to let your teammates know that you still believe in them and that they can do it. They were very positive and encouraging even when there were mistakes."
Lehighton (10-5, 7-4) made runs in each set and put pressure on Pleasant Valley, but the Lady Bears were able to respond each time they were put on the spot.
"I thought we did pretty well on offense in certain rotations. But I think the fact that they were able to build leads, sustain leads and make comebacks like that shows just how efficient their offense is," said Lehighton coach TJ O'Connor. "They have two or three really solid hitters, regardless of what rotation they're in.
"We're in a situation with our top three rotations where we're able to hang with teams early because we have our top attacker in the front row. But when our top gun goes to the back row, we can't sustain our offense during those next three rotations."
Individually, the Lady Indians were led by Jackie Jordan (15 kills, two aces and 12 digs), Taylor Yurasits (24 assists, 14 digs and three kills) and Tiff Thompson (seven kills and three blocks).
But the overall depth of the Pleasant Valley squad was just too much for Lehighton to overcome.
"They have such a vast pool of athletes in their program that they're able to build their girls up and use more than one offensive option," O'Connor said. "Right now, we don't' really have that at all times.
"Their consistency on offense allows them to make long runs and sustain leads once they get them."
Being able to rely on a number of players in key spots late in the season is something Gesiskie knows will benefit his team greatly.
"I think it's going to play a big role (in our success)," the coach said. "I think we have a lot of talent here and this is probably the most depth I've had in a number of years.
"We have a wide variety of talent and I think it's going to play a big role in how far we go in the postseason."