Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

District volleyball underway this week

Thursday, May 17, 2018 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

This is the time of year that Freedom’s volleyball team has been waiting for. The Pates have an opportunity to make some noise when they open the District 11 3A tournament Thursday at 6 p.m. against Nazareth.

The Pates (15-5) are the fourth seed and will host the fifth seeded Blue Eagles (14-5), a team that they lost to this season in their only encounter.

Nazareth beat out Freedom for the fourth and final spot in Monday’s EPC semifinals. The Blue Eagles lost to Whitehall in that round, as Whitehall will face Emmaus in Wednesday’s finals.

Having some extra time off might help Freedom prep for Thursday’s rematch, as head coach John Yanek expects a battle.

“Nazareth’s passing and defense is solid,” he said. “We need to avoid their Libero. They run quick middles and opposite, so we need to be aware of that. Last time we played the match went four and all the sets were close. We need to pass well to completely run our type of offense. We have a strategy to block their middles, but we need to be able to carry it out consistently. We need to serve aggressively and get them out of system. The biggest thing is staying positive even when we are losing at times. Our blocking on the outsides will also be key.”

Liberty (10-8) qualified as the seventh seed and open against tenth seeded Easton (9-9) at Whitehall Thursday night.

The match gets going at 5 p.m. with the hopes of a doubleheader for the Hurricanes, as the winner advances to play second seeded Whitehall (16-2) in the 6:30pm nightcap. In the two meetings against the Zephyrs this season, Liberty has only been able to snag a game.

Bethlehem Catholic (7-9) will take part in the 2A bracket and face Southern Lehigh in a two-three matchup next Tuesday.

The three-team 2A tournament features Dock Mennonite as the top-seed with the championship set in Bensalem on May 24.

Dock Mennonite won last year’s title over the Hawks in five games.