WILKES-BARRE—Tunkhannock’s Ashley Zalewski had extra incentive going into Monday night’s District 2 Class 2A playoff match against Lake-Lehman. She wanted to make up for lost time.
“I missed last year’s playoffs because of a knee injury,” Zalewski said. “I wanted to show what I could do at this level. I put my heart and soul into this match.”
The 5-foot-11 junior middle hitter had 13 kills, four blocks and eight service points to lead the Tigers to an impressive 3-0 victory over Lehman in opening round at Holy Redeemer High School. The scores were 25-18, 25-16, 25-12.
No. 4 seed Tunkhannock (15-4) will face No. 1 seed Holy Redeemer (19-0) at 7 p.m. today at Redeemer in second round action. The Royals advanced by defeating No.8 seed Dallas in the second match of Monday’s doubleheader.
Zalewski played above the net all night, thanks her jumping ability and perfect timing.
“Our passing was good and I received some excellent sets,” Zalewski added. “I hit was fired up and I hit the ball pretty well.”
Zalewski’s hitting was a key factor throughout the match, but she seemed to be on fire in game three. She had a slam that gave Tunkhannock a 17-10 lead, and later notched three more kills and a block as the Tigers coasted to a 25-12 win.
“She was very smooth,” said Tunkhannock coach Mick Goodwin. “She adjusted to the blocking and hit ball really well.”
The Tigers led throughout most of the match. They also got outstanding efforts from junior middle hitter Sara Petokas and senior Jessica Wright. Petokas had eight kills and six aces, while Wright eight aces, 14 service points and two kills.
“We executed well on offense,” said Petokas. “Our hitting was stronger and we played with a lot of energy. I tried to take things into my own hands.”
Wright’s service play was superb as she consistently kept the Black Knights off balance with a host of line drive serves.
Wright notched three straight service points that gave Tunkhannock an insurmountable 24-16 advantage in game two, and a wicked serve in game three that almost knocked a defender off her feet.
“The three straight (serves) in game two definitely brought my confidence up,” Wright said. “I felt like I was in a zone.”
She said the Tigers are a different team than the one that lost to the Royals during regular-season play.
“We came into the season with a new team, but now we have an experienced team. We have developed great chemistry.”
Loren Appolonia added six kills for the Tigers, while Emily Appolonia had two kills and five assists.
Ellen Matza paced the Black Knights with eight kills. Caitlyn Gashi added seven kills, and Tiffany Oplinger had four slams.
Gashi said Lehman was hampered by the flu bug.
“We had some players who were fighting the flu the past few days. We came out and played hard, but their service play killed us.”
Kristin Bell notched 14 kills, two blocks and three assists to lead the Royals to victory over Dallas by scores of 25-4, 25-12, 25-7.
Monica Wignot posted 14 kills, three aces and 11 service points, while Mary Loughran had 26 assists, eight service points and five digs. Maura McCormick added seven kills, seven service points and three assists.
Meghan Murtagh led Dallas with two kills and three assists, while Colleen Pike had one kills and two digs. Amanda O’Brien had four digs and Monica Esopi added three digs.
Jordan Pickering had 10 kills, four service points and three digs to lead Crestwood to victory over Western Wayne in opening round play of the District 2 Class 2A playoffs at Dunmore High School. The scores were 25-23, 25-5, 25-10.
The No. 4 seed Comets will face No. 2 seed Dunmore at 5 p.m. today at Holy Redeemer High School.
Carina Mazzoni had 19 assists, eight service points and two aces, while Chrissy Banos notched 17 service points, four blocks and nine assists. Kayla Jeckell added nine kills, four service points and 10 digs.