Karchner, Marian sweep Minersville
Marian’s Tatianna Zeleniak bends down to dig the ball during Tuesday’s District 11 quarterfinal round match against Minersville. For a photo gallery, go to www.tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Volleyball is arguably the ultimate team game. But Tuesday night, Marian’s Alivia Karchner was a one-person wrecking crew.
Behind Karchner’s play, the Fillies swept Minersville, 25-14, 25-12, 25-13 in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Class 1A volleyball tournament.
With eight serving aces and 13 kills, the Marian junior was a force on the back line and at the net.
As dominant as Karchner was individually, she also knew the importance of making sure everyone else on the team was on the top of their game
“I try to keep everyone hyped up and not let one mistake get anyone down,” she said.
Yet her skill in getting the kill is what stood out most as the Miners had no answer for her in any of the three games.
“When I see the pass coming and then the set, I know it’s my time,” Karchner said.
In the first game, Minersville (13-8) hung tough at 7-7, but Marian scored the next four points and never looked back.
Rebecca Dzuranin and Rhiannon Brady combined for six service points that gave Marian control. Macie Mazalusky also contributed at the service line, while Karchner was big at the net, slamming hard volleys to the floor and hitting them off the defenders’ hands as the Fillies closed the opening game on an 18-7 run.
In the second game, Marian jumped to an early lead, but Jazmyn Hollywood’s serves helped Minersville battle back for an 8-6 advantage.
The lead was short-lived. Karchner began her service run with an ace and by the time she was finished, the Fillies had galloped away on a 14-0 run. After a pair of Miners’ points, Marian finished out the 25-12 victory.
“When we play our game, we put ourselves in position to win,” said Marian coach John Fallabel. “Everything starts with strong defense, and then we attack the ball and we block shots at the net.”
The Miners mounted no real threat in the third game as Marian’s offensive attack kept them on their heels.
Confidence and communication was evident for the Fillies. On one volley, Karchner called for the ball in midair and was nicely set up for the kill. The Fillies’ attackers continued to find the open floor with their kills, as the majority of back and forth volleys resulted in Marian points thanks to its overall strength at the net.
The closest Minersville came was when Bella Kuhn served a point at 17-10, but her team was plagued with several double hit penalties as they tried to return Marian’s power game. The Fillies scored eight of the game’s last 11 points to complete the three-game sweep.
NUMBERS ... In addition to Karchner’s eight aces, Marian (10-7) also got three from Dzuranin and two from Mazalusky. Five kills came from Dzuranin and three from Lacey Blasko. Ashlyn Klitsch contributed 22 assists to her team’s victory.
A SENIOR MOMENT ... Due to a water main break earlier this season, Marian’s home Senior Night program had to be moved to Pottsville Nativity. Because of that, Fallabel called timeout late in the match to recognize seniors Mazalusky and Blasko, who were playing their final match on the Marian court.
NEXT ... Fourth-seeded Marian (10-7) now moves on to the District 11 semifinals where it will face powerful Nativity on Thursday at Blue Mountain in the nightcap of a doubleheader with a start time about 6:45.