Marian rolls to sweep of Tamaqua
Elle McLaughlin of Tamaqua hits the ball toward Marian’s Rebecca Dzuranin (25), Lizzie Snerr (15) and Macie Mazalusky (16). RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
How close is the Marian volleyball team to returning to normalcy?
A proud program that had produced championship after championship for nearly two decades, Marian stumbled some in 2018.
But things are starting to rise a little, not quite to where longtime head coach and program mastermind Dr. John Fallabel wants it, but to where he sees the tide starting to pick up and the youthfulness starting to believe.
Tuesday evening on its home floor, Marian swamped an overmatched Tamaqua side in three sets, 25-9, 25-10 and 25-16 to garner its first win in Division I of Schuylkill League girls’ volleyball, and its second on the season.
“We’re starting to intimidate people, because we are starting to get our confidence level up a lot,” said the philosophical Fallabel. “We’re not at a championship level just yet. We had a lot of shifting going on to put our players in the right spots, and it’s starting to show.”
A lot of credit goes to junior Alivia Karchner, who has had her share of varsity playing time the last three seasons. She came up big in the win with nine kills — two more than fellow junior Jamison Wheeler. It also helped that Macie Mazalusky and Ashlyn Kitsch were vital players in the win. Toss in the steady play of Kelly Sullivan and Rebecca Dzurain, and things seem to be falling in place at the right time.
“We’re basically using only eight players,” said Fallabel. “I kept sophomore Lizzie Snerr in there to keep her feet wet.”
But the “big banger” in the words of the coach is Karchner. The middle hitters are the key said Fallabel. “Sixteen attacks for all three middle hitters,” he pointed out in counting up the numbers, of which Karchner had 14.
Marian was on its game all night, especially to start the match, reeling off a commanding 18-3 lead in the opening set on its way to posting a 25-9 win.
The Fillies second-set performance was just as impressive, as they jumped ahead 19-7 and 22-9 before closing it out.
If Tamaqua had a silver lining, it was in the third set when it jumped ahead 5-0 with Brynn Gigli at the throttle.
“We can get better,” said Tamaqua’s first-year coach Jennifer Kromer. “We need to be more consistent. Our kids work very hard. But we’re young, and we’re teaching them different skills.”
For now, Tamaqua needs to try and find its footing. Meanwhile, for Marian, the dye is already cast. Now the Fillies have to figure out a way to carry the momentum over to Thursday evening at highly-regarded Pottsville.
“We’ll have our hands full,” said Fallabel, relishing the thought of the challenge.
BANGING AWAY… Marian’s Rhiannon Brady and Mazalusky led the team in aces with five apiece. In all, the Fillies had 19 aces.
ROTATIONS… Marian needed only five servers in the first set, nine in the second, and eight in the final set.
UNFORCED ERRORS ... Tamaqua had 34 errors in three sets, while Marian had 24, including 12 in the final set.