Potential might be the key word when describing Liberty’s volleyball team this season.
The Hurricanes return six starters from last season, but lost their most important offensive piece in all-star Samwel Omwega to graduation following last year’s 12-6 campaign.
But the Hurricanes have always been consistent under head coach Neiad Ammary and should be considered in the top tier of teams heading into this season, as Ammary is confident this year’s group can put results together to keep them in the conversation.
Freedom always finds a way to compete with the best in the EPC, so how will the Patriots fare in 2018?
Head coach Nick D’Amico knows he needs to replace some offensive production in the lineup, but is also confident the group coming back this spring will be one that should be able to compete for a District 11 playoff berth following last year’s 16-6 campaign.
Liberty’s 2017 spring was one for the record books. Now it’s time for their encore.
Coming off a 25-4 district championship campaign and a run to the state semifinals, Liberty comes back looking for more in 2018 with another highly talented, but young group under head coach Andy Pitsilos.
Last year’s win total was the best in school history, which came to a close in the PIAA 6A semifinals with a 12-0 loss to Pennsbury.
Now, Pitsilos enters this season with a young core returning, looking to defend their district title.
Mike Grasso will be celebrating a milestone of coaching his 900th baseball game this season, but he hopes his Bethlehem Catholic squad can celebrate a postseason berth in his 31st year at the helm of the program.
The Golden Hawks finished 6-15 last year, but should be in position to improve on that mark with a more experienced group.
They’ll need every win they can get in the EPC’S tough Steel Division, as the Hawks look to get back into the postseason.
Grasso is confident in this year’s group, as they look to bounce back from a down year.
John Yanek can’t get enough of coaching volleyball and this year’s Freedom team might be one everyone can get excited about.
Yanek enters his 28th season at the helm of the program and is coming off an 11-10 campaign from a year ago, but has high hopes for this year’s team coming into the spring.
“Almost all the boys played off season for Velocity,” said Yanek. “In our two scrimmages, we looked good. We have high hopes to finish in the top six in the district.”
Back for the Pates are Mike Marakovits (Jr), Brad Turocy (Jr), David Barnes (So) and Jared Franges (Jr).
Experience matters in sports and Bethlehem Catholic’s volleyball team will have that heading into this spring.
The boost from getting varsity minutes back on the floor should lead to an improved product for the Hawks after last year’s 8-8 season, which saw them reach the District 11 2A final before falling in five games to Christopher Dock.
With a core of returners back this season, head coach Jeff Koch is hoping a breakout season is on the cusp.
Bethlehem Catholic went through a roller-coaster ride in Monday’s PIAA 4A semifinal against Imhotep Charter, but when the final buzzer sounded it was time for the Hawks to get off the ride on their 2017-18 season.
Donta Scott scored a game-high 27 points to help lead Imhotep to a 65-60 victory at Reading’s Geigle Complex. The Panthers (30-2) carry a 21-game winning streak into Thursday’s state championship against District 7’s Sharon, but you can say that Monday’s matchup might have been the real state championship contest.
Tal-Reese Flemming was hoping he’d have a rematch with Bethlehem Catholic’s Matt Mayer following a loss in the District 11 semifinals. His shot at redemption finally came in Hershey.
Flemming (106) battled back from a quarterfinal loss at the PIAA 3A wrestling championships all the way through the consolation bracket to top Mayer 5-4 to grab a bronze medal Saturday night at the Giant Center.
He was one of two Liberty wrestlers to come home with hardware, as Matt Maloney finished fifth at 113.
Ryan Anderson was sitting in the Giant Center floor seats designated for competitors at last week’s PIAA wrestling championships and calmly undressed from his singlet and put on a dry warmup and gathered his wrestling bag. He joked with fellow wrestlers and went about his routine just like he has for every other match this season.
The only difference this time was that Anderson had just become a state champion.
“I just realized I’m a state champ,” Anderson said to a small crew on the floor. “I’m a state champ.”
Matt Maloney got a second chance at redemption at the Northeast Regional 3A tournament Saturday night and this time he wasn’t going to be denied.
After losing to Pottsville’s Nick Onea in the 113-pound district title, Maloney came back to top Onea 10-6 to win his first regional crown.
Maloney was joined by teammate Damen Moyer (182) as the two champions for Liberty, as the Hurricanes again took third place in the standings for a consecutive week behind Bethlehem Catholic and Nazareth.