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Volleyball teams set for D-11 playoffs

Bethlehem Catholic didn’t have a remarkable regular season, but the Hawks still have a chance to play some meaningful postseason volleyball this week.

The District 11 tournament opens on Wednesday and Bethlehem Catholic (4-14) hopes they can top Pocono Mountain East (11-8) in the 2A semifinals.

Becahi hasn’t played since May 4, giving them three weeks since playing a match, but head coach Tim Sledz has tried to keep his players sharp in the meantime.

“Our biggest challenge is staying focused with the long layoff between the regular season and the start of districts,” he said. “Some alumni were nice enough to come in and play against the guys which helped. Everyone is 0-0 in the playoffs and we look forward to seeing what we can do to make a run.”

The Hawks lost both encounters with the Cardinals this season, losing the first one in four games before pushing them to five games the second time around.

Sledz hopes the third time might be the charm in a matchup that would send them to the finals next Tuesday at Catasauqua against perceived favorite and top-seeded Southern Lehigh (15-3).

“Pocono has gotten better each year and they are very good this year,” Sledz said. “We had two good matches against them and came up short so the guys are looking forward to a rematch and making the most of the opportunity given to them.”

Liberty and Freedom also open up districts on Wednesday, as the Hurricanes (11-6) host Whitehall at 6 p.m. in four-five showdown. Liberty topped Whitehall in five games early this season, but know the Zephyrs are always a resilient force in the postseason. A win over Whitehall would setup a semifinal clash against top-seeded Parkland next Tuesday at Catasauqua.

Freedom (10-8) enters as the sixth-seed and travel to third-seeded Nazareth (17-3) in Wednesday’s opening round. The Pates were swept by the Blue Eagles both times this season and head coach John Yanek knows his group will have there work cut out.

“Everything is on us,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what they do, but what we do. Serve receive needs to be on point. We need to run our entire offense. We need to serve strong and fast. We also have to get quality touches on our blocks. We need to stay motivated and aggressive no matter what the score is.”

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Nate Yoder sets the ball as Matteo Mowrey (4) and Ethan Wiles (7) get set to make a play.