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Greater Pittston trio has Royals streaking

Phillips, Knaub, Eaton part of 86 straight victories

Greater Pittston residents Biz Eaton, Nicole Phillips and Liz Knaub are part of the Holy Redeemer girls’ volleyball team which has won 86 straight WVC matches.

photo by josh horton

The goal in sports is to finish your season with more wins than losses.

The Holy Redeemer girls’ volleyball team never seems to have a problem accomplishing that goal.

The Royals won their 86th consecutive Wyoming Valley Conference match in a win over Pittston Area on Thursday, and ironically enough, they were aided in that victory – and in many past victories – by a three players who hail from the Greater Pittston community.

Seniors Nicole Phillips and Liz Knaub, and junior Biz Eaton all reside in Greater Pittston. And according to their coach, Holy Redeemer’s recent success wouldn’t have been possible without them.

“They are all different,” Holy Redeemer Head Coach John Kablick said of the three Royals with local ties. “Liz is a strict defensive specialist, so her passing is very good, Biz is our setters, so her hands are very good, her court sense is very good and her forearms are very good. Nicole Phillips is a middle hitter and our best blocker.”

Phillips resides in Yatesville and has played a major role for the Royals volleyball program for the past three seasons. Coach Kablick calls Phillips his best blocker and a solid middle hitter. At 5’10, Phillips has six blocks so far this season.

She is just one shy of her career high of seven blocks in her junior year. She is more than just a blocker. She is also an important hitter. She has 18 kills so far this season and had 39 as a junior. In addition to her blocks and kills, she also has two digs this season.

“I like hitting and blocking the best,” Phillips said. “My favorite memory is when we had game point against Crestwood last year and I won the game with a kill. It was so exciting.”

Phillips wouldn’t have 18 kills this season if it were not for her junior setter Biz Eaton of West Wyoming. This year marks the second year as a member of the Royals for Eaton. Prior to attending Holy Redeemer, she was a student at Wyoming Area. Since coming to Holy Redeemer, Eaton has made a huge impact as setter. Last season she had 16 assists and seven digs. However, one year can make a huge difference and it did for Eaton.

“Setting is a lot of work,” Eaton said. “It’s especially a lot of running. It really just has to do with your hands and you’re positioning of setting.”

So far in 2011, Eaton has a whopping 220 assists as the team’s primary setter and 29 digs. Perhaps all of the assists are due to the chemistry she has developed with her teammates.

“I love it when Biz sets me,” Phillips said. “She is such an awesome setter and we have great chemistry on the court.”

All the action starts with Liz Knaub of West Wyoming. She is the team’s defensive specialist, meaning she is responsible for making a good first pass.

“It’s always rewarding when you get a really good pass, because everything starts with a pass,” Knaub said. “If you don’t have a good pass, you can’t run any plays.”

The closest the Royals came to dropping a match came against Delaware Valley. It was the only match this season which went more than the minimum of three games.

“We had a very close match with Delaware Valley that went four games,” Kablick said. “That was the only game we lost all season. In games played, we are 46-1 this year.”

Having three players with such great chemistry is a real strength for the Royals and as long as the three are on the same page, Holy Redeemer will be a tough team to beat.

“There have been many times when Liz would give a great first pass to Biz and then Biz will set Phillips and she will get the kill,” Kablick said. “I think three hours a day in the gym really helps them to develop some great chemistry.”

PA 0, Holy Redeemer 3

Pittston Area played the next victim to WVC powerhouse Holy Redeemer on Thursday afternoon, falling 3-0, as the Royals won their 86 straight WVC match at the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium in Yatesville.

Liz Knaub had nine service points to lead HR in the 25-9, 25-9, 25-5 win.

PA 0, North Pocono 3

Pittston Area lost its matchup with WVC Volleyball power North Pocono, 3-0, on Tuesday afternoon in Moscow.

The Patriots lost 25-6, 25-15, 25-12.

WA 1, Lake-Lehman 3

Wyoming Area gave its best effort of the season, but it was still not enough against once-beaten Lake-Lehman as the Lady Warriors dropped a 3-1 decision to the Lady Knights in a WVC Division 3 Volleyball match on Monday afternoon in the Back Mountain.

The young Wyoming Area squad gave Lehman all it could handle, winning the second game 25-21 to knot the match up at 1-1. But the Lady Warriors couldn’t get past the Lady Knights in the third game, losing a tight one, 25-23. Lehman then walked away in the fourth game with a 25-13 victory.

Kate Kross led the Lady Warriors with eight kills and six service points to go with three digs.

Gabby Bohan added seven kills for WA, and Audrey Hiedacavage registered 22 assists and 10 service points.

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