H.S. VOLLEYBALL: Shamokin reaches District 4 final
TIOGA JUNCTION - It took just four games for Shamokin Area to make school history.
With scores of 25-22, 14-25, 33-31 and 25-11 over Towanda, the Indians became the school's first team to make it to the District 4 volleyball championship game. There the Indians will play Troy, the No. 1 seed, Thursday at Williamson High School.
"They wanted this," Shamokin head coach Wanda Cook said. "It's a senior group and they were just fired up and wanted to make history in our school district. They were determined and they were keeping each other pumped up. I'm just
proud of the whole performance and that every single one of them pitched in."
The whole team means just that, including the season premiere of John Thompson. All season Thompson practiced with the team and loomed large on the bench without ever seeing game action, but when he was called upon Thompson had 16 kills. Thompson saw time despite Towanda not having a boy on its roster.
"All season we didn't play John because there are no other boys in our league," Cook said. "We thought if we were going to move onto the finals, and Troy has a boy, we would have to give John experience.
"It was only fair. Year after year we've come up here and played Towanda when they've had boys. It was a tough decision. I don't agree with the rule and I don't think boys should play, but what's fair is fair."
The Indians came out and rallied from three points down in the first set and got an immediate boost when Thompson checked in for the first time. But it was Olivia Bonshock, who tallied 25 kills on the night, who sealed the deal with four kills in the Indians' last five points to close out the first set.
The edge the Indians worked so hard to get in the first game withered in the second.
Towanda came out and broke Shamokin's initial serve and never trailed on the way to a 25-14 win. The Black Knights were aided by a bevy of unforced errors by the Indians.
Shamokin rebounded, however, and the Indians and Black Knights needed 26 minutes to decide an impressive third game.
The Indians led 22-15 and had a win easily within their grasp when Towanda rallied and tied the game at 24. Every time the Black Knights took a one-point lead, Shamokin answered and an unforced error by Towanda, followed by an ace from Cheyenne Popewczak and a kill by Bonshock sealed the win.
The fourth game was nothing short of domination by the Indians. Ashley Huxta rattled off seven service points as Shamokin built its lead and Popewczak added three more service points to close out the Black Knights.
"In the first game we were just fired up," Cook said. "The second game we got kind of tight. We came back in the third game - and I'm so proud of them for staying in that and not giving up - and the fourth game we just ran away with it."
Huxta had a remarkable 48 assists combined for the four games, while Helena Supsic and Brie Bonshock combined for 45 digs and Popewczak added seven kills.
"They all played the floor well," Cook said. "They were backing each other up and their passes and sets were on. And they kept the momentum up."