NANTICOKE — If people aren’t calling North Pocono a dynasty yet, they better start now. Just don’t say it to head coach Chris Summa.
The Trojans looked unbeatable on Thursday at Greater Nanticoke Area High School, defeating Holy Redeemer 3-0 to win their second straight District 2 Class 2A championship, their third title in four years and fourth overall.
The scores were 25-21, 25-17, 25-19 as North Pocono won the rubber match of the not-so-frequent three-game series. In the previous two contests, both were pushed to five games.
“That’s a big word,” Summa said when referring to a dynasty. “Lake-Lehman won nine in a row and we’re too far away from that. So I wouldn’t go throwing that around yet. It’s been a nice four years though, and these kids deserve it.”
Both teams advance to the opening round of the PIAA Championships on Tuesday. The Trojans (19-1) will host a contest against the No. 4 seed from District 3, while the Royals (17-3) will face that district’s No. 2 seed. Wyomissing, Eastern York, Garden Spot and Northern York are the four teams from D3 that will advance to states. They will decide the seeds today when they play the semifinals, finals and third-place match beginning at 6 p.m. at Dallastown High School.
Coughlin (17-3), which beat Mountain View (12-3) 3-1 in the third-place match on Thursday, will face the top seed from District 1 on Tuesday. The Eagles will go up against the No. 1 seed from D3.
In the first game of Thursday’s championship, the Royals forced four ties, but the Trojans never gave up the lead.
Redeemer came out strong in the second game but again, once the Trojans took a 2-1 lead, they didn’t give it up.
“They were just a better team tonight, and sometimes you just have to admit that,” said Holy Redeemer coach Jack Kablick. “North Pocono came here tonight and they outplayed us. I think they owned the net and our guys know it.”
The third game was the closest Redeemer came to a win, as it held three 1-point leads and was in it all the way to the end.
The student sections from both schools were on their feet the entire third game, from Jeff Janiczek’s kill to open the set for Redeemer to the three straight points scored by North Pocono’s Nick Deschaine to clinch the crown.
Deschaine, who only had two blocks the entire match, got them at the best time. Two times in a row, Royals hitters were at the net looking for a kill and Deschaine was right there alongside Joe Bonacci for the stop. Those blocks followed a kill by Deschaine.
“I just knew the score was 22-19 and I knew we had to push three big points to finish it off and finish them off,” Deschaine said. “So I saw the balls up there and just went for them.
“I didn’t think we would sweep them. I thought we would go to five games again because they are a very good team.”
Deschaine also had six kills, while teammate Ryan Willie had a team-high 13 kills with three blocks.
Willie was another huge presence on the court for Pocono, as every time the Royals would get close, the junior would answer back with a booming kill that electrified most of the Trojan fans.
“Coming out, all season we were saying that if we play our game, we’re unstoppable and that’s what we did,” Willie said.
P.J. Clifford also had a nice game for North Pocono with nine kills and four digs.
The teams met three times this season and could be setting that up in the future as well. The Royals only have six seniors on their 16-player squad, while the Trojans will graduate just two from their 11-player championship team.
Brian May and Zach Redding are the two key cogs for the Royals.
“Brian May, he’s a competitor. I also think Zach Redding was the best-kept secret in the league this year,” Kablick said. “But he’s not going to be anymore.”
The Crusaders dropped the first game of the match 25-16 then won the next three 25-20, 25-15, 25-18 to advance to the state tournament.
After losing the first game, Coughlin didn’t trail the rest of the match, except for a 1-0 deficit in the fourth game.
Coughlin advances to the PIAA Championships for the first time in school history and doesn’t want the season to end before heading to State College for next weekend’s pool play event.
“We want to go to Penn State,” said Coughlin senior Wally Savage, who had 25 kills and five service points. “We are going to treat (Tuesday’s match) as that is the state championship game.”
John Benkoski added 13 kills and 10 points for Coughlin.
*2008: North Pocono
*2007: North Pocono
2006: Bishop Hoban
2005: North Pocono
2001: North Pocono
2008: Wyoming Valley West
2007: Wyoming Valley West
* -- Denotes Class 2A
Note: The class 3A classification began in 2007.
“I just knew the score was 22-19 and I knew we had to push three big points to finish it off and finish them off. So I saw the balls up there and just went for them.”