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Lourdes Regional of Shamokin brought an end to Blue Ridges championship girls volleyball season in the first round of the state tournament November 4 when it defeated the Lady Raiders in three games.
Blue Ridge put up its best fight in the second game, but fell, 27-25. Lourdes, the runner-up from District 4, won the first game, 25-16, and the third game, 25-13.
The only previous Blue Ridge losses came in tournament play. The Lady Raiders were unbeaten champions of the Lackawanna League and District 2 Class A.
Blue Ridge received the individual awards that go with a championship season when the Lackawanna League coaches chose their all-star teams.
Middle hitter Brooke Hinkley repeated as the leagues Most Valuable Player.
Hinkley was part of the 10-player first team, along with setter/hitter Annette Conigliaro and outside hitter Chrissy Cosmello.
Three other players from county playoff teams were named first-team, all-stars.
Setter Jamie Himka and setter/middle Leah Simko were honored from Mountain View.
Bridgette Stone was selected for her play as a middle and outside hitter while leading the most successful of Susquehannas fall sports teams.
The remainder of the first team was Western Waynes Erin Waters and Amanda Vogel, Delaware Valleys Naomi Sweeney and Lackawanna Trails Stacey Borgia.
Mountain Views Kerri Cali and Amanda Breese, Forest Citys June Saul and Blue Ridges Desiree Gardner were the county players on the second team.
Elk Lakes Michelle Grosvenor, Forest Citys Stephanie Thiem and Blue Ridges Mindy Stanton and Missy Reed received honorable mention.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The strength of small school teams in the Lackawanna Football Conference was on display in the first round of the District 2 playoffs.
Both the Class AA and Class A finals will be determined in matchups between LFC teams.
The three LFC small schools that played opponents from outside the conference won their games by a total of 149-25.
Wilkes-Barre Meyers came in unbeaten and leading the state in points scored, but was pounded by Dunmore, 56-19, in the most shocking result in first-round playoff action in the eastern half of the state.
Meyers had been averaging 53.8 points per game.
Dunmore suffered its only losses against Scranton and Lakeland, two teams that went 10-0 in the regular season. The Bucks will get another shot at Lakeland in a meeting of the top two teams from Division 2 of the LFC for the Class AA title.
The Bucks showed that their strong schedule had them prepared to control a team that had won every game by at least 22 points. Meyers scored at least 38 points in every game but never played a winning team until the final game of the regular season.
Now it is Dunmore that is producing the incredible numbers.
The Bucks have scored at least 41 points in every game during a six-game winning streak in which they have averaged 45 points per game against teams with a combined 36-22 record.
Meyers started the playoffs like any other game, scoring on both first-quarter possessions while taking a 13-7 lead.
It was Dunmore, however, that racked up more than 470 yards total offense and scored at will the rest of the way.
The Bucks ran off four straight touchdowns including three on passes by Rick Mancuso during the second quarter for a 35-13 lead and added the first score of the second half.
Corey Meade, Jody Meade and Mike Gardier split up almost 300 rushing yards.
Mancuso, who was 5-for-9 passing, also ran for a touchdown.
Corey Meade ran for two touchdowns while Gardier scored on both a run and a pass.
Lakeland is the only District 2 team to reach 11-0.
The Chiefs blistered Wilkes-Barre GAR, 53-6, after opening a 47-0 halftime lead.
T.J. Turpack, who ran for three touchdowns, and Joe Tuzze, who ran for two, each ran for more than 100 yards for Lakeland.
The Chiefs are averaging 40 points per game for the season and have outscored opponents, 280-41, in the last six weeks.
Lackawanna Trail and Riverside will meet for the Class A title. They finished 1-2 in Division 3 of the LFC.
Trail beat Old Forge, 33-7, in an LFC rematch. Devin Myers threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the win.
Riverside (7-4) continued its recovery from going 2-8 a year ago when it went to Northwest and rolled to a 40-0 victory.
Nathan Trolio made an impact on offense, defense and the special teams for the Vikings.
On offense, Trolio ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries, caught six passes for 48 yards and completed his only pass for 20 yards. On defense, he intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble, made a tackle for a loss and broke up a pass. He also kicked two extra points, punted 36 yards on his only attempt and had 82 return yards.
Mike Stalbird carried 23 times for 154 yards as the Vikings outrushed the Rangers, 449-85.
The large schools did not fare as well.
Scranton lost, 27-13, in a battle of unbeatens with Interboro in the District 1-2-4 Class AAAA Subregional. Valley View was shut out by Pittston Area, 32-0, in the District 2 Class AAA semifinals.
Honesdale defeated Daniel Boone, 37-8, and West Scranton lost to Dallas, 13-7, in Eastern Conference Class AAA games.
In professional hockey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos was named American Hockey League Player of the Week November 3.
Kostopoulos had four goals, including an overtime game-winner, and two assists in four games. He was also plus-6 for the week and continued to lead the league in that category at plus-11 going into Sunday.
Kostopoulos led the way as the Penguins went 3-0-1-0 in a week that included three road games in three days.
Kostopoulos is the Penguins all-time leading scorer and the only player to play for the team in all five of its seasons.
The Binghamton Senators lead the East and the Penguins are third in the seven-team division.
Denis Hamel and Josh Langfeld of the Senators shared the league scoring lead with Springfields Jeff Taffe heading into Sundays action.
Rachel Hall and Ashley Tierney of Blue Ridge are two of the top runners on the Mansfield University womens cross country team.
Hall, a freshman, and teammate Charity Learn became the first two runners in school history to achieve all-regional status during Saturdays NCAA Division II East Regional.
Hall finished eighth in 22:30, seven seconds and one place behind her teammate.
All-Regional status goes to any runner who finishes in the top 15.
A week earlier, Hall led her team and was eighth overall in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference meet.
Tierney, a sophomore, was in the lineup for every race of the season, finishing as high as third-best on the team.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Winter sports teams are conducting their first week of practice.
Both small school district football finals are scheduled for Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Dunmore and Lakeland play Friday night at 7. Riverside and Lackawanna Trail play Saturday at 1.
Our football predictions were 7-1 last week, bringing the season record to 92-24 (79.3 percent). This weeks predictions, with winners in CAPS: LAKELAND 28, Dunmore 20; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 27, Riverside 12; DALLAS 20, Honesdale 14.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
ELLIOTT Goes From Last To First At Rockingham
Bill Elliott won Sundays Winston Cup Pop Secret 400 at Rockingham, NC, while Matt Kenseth clinched the 2003 Winston Cup driving championship with a fourth-place finish.
Even though there is one more race next weekend at Homestead, FL, Kenseth was presented with the 2003 trophy because his 226 point lead means he will win the championship without even having to start next Sundays race.
It was Elliotts first win of the season, and he did it the hard way by starting last in the 43-car field after his team decided to change the engine in his red No. 9 Evernham Dodge.
In addition to leading the most laps, he clearly had the dominant car. Perhaps his biggest challenge came in avoiding wrecks that brought out 10 caution flags.
The last occurred on lap 380 of the 393 lap race when polesitter Ryan Newman tried to squeeze under Ken Schrader in the middle of turn-2.
Elliott was leading when the green flag was given on lap 382. He quickly began pulling away from the second-place car of Jimmie Johnson and was never challenged on his way to the checkered flag.
"We werent too good on short runs, but on long runs, we were really good," said Elliott. "We came over here and tested and thought we were pretty good, but so were a lot of others.
"Its a great victory. It will certainly keep me going until next week."
Elliott has hinted that he might run only a limited Winston Cup schedule in 2004.
"Coming in second was a great effort for our team," said Jimmie Johnson. "I felt like I was as good on the long runs, and if I could have ever got by, I might have held him off."
Ryan Newman, who started on the pole, had problems throughout the race. First, he and Jeff Gordon tangled during lap 83, and then late in the race, his team left a lug nut off, and he had to make a second pit stop. Finally, his wreck with Schrader on lap 380 cost him any chance he might have had at another victory.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Bill Elliott, 2. Jimmie Johnson, 3. Jeremy Mayfield, 4. Matt Kenseth, 5. Ryan Newman, 6. Tony Raines, 7. Jeff Burton, 8. Bobby Labonte, 9. Tony Stewart, 10. Sterling Marlin.
Top-10 points leaders after 35 of 36: 1. Kenseth-4988, 2. Johnson-4762, 3. Earnhardt-4724, 4. Newman-4659, 5. J. Gordon-4625, 6. Harvick-4595, 7. Stewart-4398, 8. B. Labonte-4197, 9. Elliott-4151, 10. Busch-4095.
Truck Driver MUSGRAVE To Continue To Drive Cup Series veteran Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge in the Craftsman Truck series has fought two battles this season.
First, he has been battling for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, and second, he has been fighting cancer.
Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith revealed his driver's struggle last weekend.
"We were winning races while he was going to the doctor on Monday getting chemotherapy," Smith said. "I think if anybody's deserving of (this championship), it's Ted Musgrave. They said I'm deserving of it. I think he's equally if not more deserving."
The Musgrave family has faced the specter of cancer previously. In the recent past Musgrave's wife, Debi has battled leukemia and her cancer, as well, is in remission.
"At no time has this illness interfered with my duties as the driver of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge," said Musgrave. "It has not dampened my desire to capture the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship for Ultra Motorsports.
"I want to take the time to thank everyone for their concern and support that they've exhibited over the past few days. It's true that I've been diagnosed with cancer and have received treatment for it over the course of the 2003 Craftsman Truck Series season.
"The important thing for everyone to know is that I have a very treatable form of cancer and by all indications the treatment that I have received has done what it was designed to do. At this point my cancer seems to be in complete remission."
After his second place finish at Phoenix, Musgrave trails championship leader and fellow Dodge driver Brendan Gaughan by 26 points heading to Homestead. Musgrave has won three races this season, in May, June and September.
MCMURRAY Gets Third Consecutive Rockingham Busch Win Jamie McMurray won the Busch Series Target House 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway Saturday, for his third consecutive Busch win at the 1.017-mile track.
The hunt for the Busch Series championship will go down to the last race of the season at Homestead, FL between Brian Vickers, David Green, and Ron Hornaday.
Even though McMurray won the race, Kevin Harvick, who finished 14th, wrapped up the Busch Series car owner title for Richard Childress Racing.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Jamie McMurray, 2. Martin Truex, 3. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 4. Jeremy Mayfield, 5. David Stremme, 6. Brian Vickers, 7. Kyle Busch, 8. Scott Wimmer, 9. Johnny Sauter, 10. David Green.
Top-10 points leaders after 33 of 34: 1. Vickers-4507, 2. D. Green-4485, 3. Hornaday-4468, 4. Keller-4437, 5. Riggs-4422, 6. Hamilton Jr.-4418, 7. Wimmer-4013, 8. J. Sauter-3971, 9. Kahne-3924, 10. Compton-3793.
All three of the major NASCAR touring series end their season this weekend at Homestead, Florida.
Friday, November 14, Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200, 134 laps/200 miles, 3 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, November 15, Busch Series Ford 300, 200 laps/300 miles, noon TV: NBC.
Sunday, November 16, Winston Cup Ford 400, 267 laps/400 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: NBC.
Racing Trivia Question: During his 28 years as a car owner Richard Childress has had 10 different drivers. Which one of these drivers has won the most races?
Last Weeks Question: He was the 1986 rookie of the year and 1992 Winston Cup champion. He came from Wisconsin in 1985 and drove for himself, often serving as his own crew chief. Answer: Alan Kulwicki.
If you would like to read additional racing stories by Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter, go to: www.race500.com.
Brooke Hinkley says she had "no idea what she was doing" when she first became a member of the Blue Ridge volleyball team as a freshman.
Hinkley, also a prominent part of the schools basketball and softball teams, certainly had no idea that she was about to develop a new favorite sport which would bring out a dedication that led her to become the areas most dominant player.
"In junior high, I was all into basketball and softball," Hinkley said. "I played (volleyball) intramurals in seventh and eighth grade and, in ninth, I tried out for the team.
"I really started liking it. I was tall so they threw me into the varsity lineup, but I had no idea what I was doing."
Hinkley, however, was intent on learning.
Trips to volleyball camps and tournament play with club NEPA helped Hinkley make dramatic improvement. She was recently named Lackawanna League Player of the Year for the second straight season after leading Blue Ridge to its third straight unbeaten league season and district title.
For those accomplishments, Hinkley has also been named as the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
"It has taken a lot of steps to get where I am," Hinkley said. "I really had no background in the sport, but I went to a lot of camps and evolved as a player."
With Hinkley leading the way, the Raiders had the best of their three championship seasons. They lost the first game of their first Lackawanna League match, against Delaware Valley, then swept every game for the remainder of the season.
The 5-foot-10 1Ž2 senior is likely to continue playing volleyball in college. Brooke, the daughter of Brian and Theresa Hinkley of Hallstead, has applied to both Bucknell and the University of Scranton and plans to play if she attends Scranton.
Before turning to college athletics, Hinkley has two more sports seasons left in which to excel.
In basketball, she led the team in scoring and blocked shots the last two seasons and will get a chance to play for her father as a varsity head coach for the first time.
In softball, where Brooke has twice been named as a second-team, all-star first baseman, the Lady Raiders will be defending their division title. They will also be trying to bounce back from a district playoff upset loss after having reached the 2002 state Class A championship game.
On Sunday, November 9, the Susquehanna Junior Sabers "B" squad headed to Clarks Summit, to the playoff games against the Abington Comets with heads held high, and spirits too, hoping to win, to go on to the Superbowl. The 21 boys were lead by four great coaches who are very proud of the boys hard work, all season.
What a great game it turned out to be; the boys made all of the parents proud and beat the team who had beaten them in their first game. They took the victory, shutting out the Comets 6-0.
The "B" boys will be going to Carbondale on Sunday, November 16, to play and try to win the championship.
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