Deer Lakes ready for volleyball semifinals
The Deer Lakes boys volleyball team obliterated quarterfinal opponent South Park, 3-0, last Thursday, winning the first two sets by a combined 50-11 score.
Lancers coach Rick Tatrn figures his top-seeded team simply performed up to its expectations.
"Was it too easy• I don't think so. That's basically the advantage of getting a top seed, you can move on quickly and easily and so forth," Tatrn said. "I've not been blessed with that type of play from my guys, where they come out and show intensity and focus, they've basically come out as slow starters much of the time and go through the motions."
Deer Lakes (11-0) stands two victories away from its first WPIAL Class AA championship in 28 years. Blocking the path is No. 5 seed Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (8-4), who faces the Lancers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at North Hills.
The victor will advance to meet either No. 2 seed Montour (11-0) or No. 6 seed and defending champion Ambridge (8-5) for the title Friday at Chartiers Valley.
Ambridge who defeated Deer Lakes for the WPIAL title in 2009 upset No. 3 seed and state-ranked Derry, 3-1, on Thursday.
"It did surprise me," Tatrn said, of hearing Section 2-AA rival Derry had fallen. "Our superintendent was at the match because he his son plays for Ambridge, and he was more than happy to come tell us they knocked off Derry. Of course, he did not provide any further details."
OLSH defeated Steel Valley, 3-0, in the first round before whitewashing No. 4 seed Moon on Thursday by the same score. The senior-laden Chargers are led by 6-foot-2 setter Sean Feeley and 6-1 middle/outside hitter Jon Lach. Their tallest player is 6-3 junior Greg Ott, a middle hitter.
Deer Lakes eliminated OLSH in last year's quarterfinals, 3-0.
"I know very little about them and haven't seen them all year. I just know about some of their returning personnel from last year," Tatrn said. "Their coach (Mike McDonald) has been at OLSH for quite a few years, so him and I go back a long way. I'm friends with most of these coaches. I've been around so darn long. It's just competition. There's nothing personal."
And Tatrn hopes his boys once again make it another easy victory they way No. 1 seeds are supposed to do.
"I think it depends on their maturity level," Tatrn said. "If they can get weed through the history and the headaches that were involved in those (past playoff losses), move on and take care of business the way they've been trained, they'll set the tone for the 'W'. But Ambridge did knock off Derry, so anything is possible."