First Posted: 4/4/2012
The boys' volleyball season is underway and both Abington Heights and Lackawanna Trail high schools are poised to have successful seasons.
Abington Heights move from the Wyoming Valley Conference to the Lackawanna League in boys volleyball makes it by far the league's largest school.The Comets were 13-3 and tied for third in the 17-team league last season.
Mike Labagh is in his first season as coach of the Abington Heights boys, but he is able to share some experiences with his players.
"I definitely think they need to get used to playing different teams," Labagh said. "I think there is more competition in the WVC than in the (Lackawanna League)."
Labagh was also the coach last fall when the Abington Heights girls made the same transition. The Lady Comets went 9-7 in the WVC in 2010 then moved to face smaller schools in the Lackawanna League, only to have their record slip to 7-6.
"They might have been caught a little by surprise," he said of the girls' team. "They might have gotten caught being a little too comfortable.
"I don't think the boys will be taking the season as lightly as the girls did at first."
The Comets return many experienced players, including starters Mike Pacyna, James Connolly, Jake Roba, Mike Pettinato, and Kevin Schumacher. Pacyna, a senior, and Roba, a junior, are middle hitters. Connolly is an outside hitter. Pettinato will be a setter and Schumacher the libero although each has experience at the other's position. Other members of the Comets' team include seniors Brain Vietz, Charlie Ulmer, and John Loboda along with juniors Eric Washo and Sean Albright.
The Comets had a 2-0 record at time of publication.
The Lions finished 11-2 last season. They must replace libero David Boslough, right -side hitter Mike DelPrete and outside -hitter Jordan Rose. Trail returns three senior starters in setter Don-Michael Demarest, outside hitter Matt Lochen and middle blocker Lyle Sweppenheiser. Senior outside hitter Marvess Rosiak, senior right side hitter Nick Sujkowski, junior libero Richard Pollock and junior middle blocker Devin Walsh round out the Lions' starting lineup. Other members of the boys' varsity team include seniors Collin Chermak, Mike Jenkins, and Mark Jenkins.
Head Coach Deb Joyce is hopeful the team can build off last season's success.
"We would like to contend for the league title and advance further in playoffs than we did last season," Joyce said.
Joyce expects Abington Heights, Blue Ridge and Western Wayne to provide the toughest competition in the division.
The Lions had a 2-0 record at the time of publication.