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Forest City boys' volleyball coach Jeremy Snyder expected some special things in his third season leading the program.
So far, the Foresters have not disappointed their coach.
Forest City is 5-0 to lead the Lackawanna League and unbeaten overall with the title in the Wyoming Valley Tournament.
"I was pretty positive we'd have a good team," Snyder said. "But, you always go by Mountain View."
Mountain View, which returns Joe Scanlon and Nick Stoud who have already led the Eagles to championship seasons in soccer and basketball, won the 2006 title in a playoff over Forest City.
When the teams met in the second match of the season, Forest City won in four games. Mountain View was tied for second in the league with Western Wayne heading into a match with the Wildcats Tuesday.
"Hopefully, we're looking to go undefeated in the league," Snyder said. "We have a very good team and we'll try to take it from there.
"North Pocono looks like the team to beat once we get to playoff time."
Snyder has reason to be looking down the road. The Foresters start five seniors and four players who have been varsity starters since their freshman year.
Jonathan Chesnick, Steven Beautz and Michael McGraw are each in their fourth season as starters. Stanley Vitzakovitch, the only junior in the starting lineup, and Justin Pisarcik are in their third seasons as starters.
Taylor Meyer, a varsity sub a year ago, is the sixth starter.
Each of the four-year starters bring something a little different to the Forest City attack.
"Jonathan runs the team," Snyder said of his setter. "If we're down, he picks the team up. He knows who to go to on offense."
Beautz, a middle blocker, is already a two-time, first-team, all-star.
"He's a big hitter, a big blocker and our best passer," Snyder said.
McGraw, another middle blocker, brings power.
"He's the biggest hitter we have," Snyder said. "He energizes the team when he has a big kill."
WEEK IN REVIEW
Wilkes-Barre – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Norfolk Admirals traded 5-2 victories in the first two games of their first-round Calder Cup playoff series.
The Penguins and Admirals tied for second overall in the American Hockey League standings, but played together in the East Division where they finished behind the Hershey Bears.
Norfolk dominated the third period and broke a 2-2 tie with three unanswered goals in the series opener Friday. The win broke a 15-game losing streak at Wachovia Arena.
The Penguins bounced back Saturday when Jonathan Filewich had two goals and one assist.
"It's a best-of-five now," Penguins captain Micki DuPont said. "I don't know if anyone has an edge.
"We didn't expect to sweep them or to be swept."
In high school sports, the latest snowstorm early in the week disrupted many schedules, particularly in baseball and softball.
Lackawanna League athletic directors met to try to work out a plan for dealing with the numerous postponements.
An increase in Saturday and Sunday games, along with an occasional doubleheader, will be part of the process of getting the league schedules completed.
In softball, Montrose took advantage of the Saturday schedule to defeat Elk Lake, 9-5, and improve to 3-0.
Keesha Lunger drove in four runs while Caitlin Ely stole two bases and scored three times.
Keystone College's Tim Robinson, a sophomore from Blue Ridge, broke his own school record and qualified for the ECAC Championships when he finished fourth at The College of New Jersey Invitational April 15 by high jumping 6-2.75.
Robinson also competes in the sprints for Keystone.
Lindsey Kowalewski, a freshman from Blue Ridge, is a pole vaulter on the Keystone women's team.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Blue Ridge plays at Montrose in softball Saturday at 2:30. The game could decide first place in Division III of the Lackawanna League.
In high school track, Susquehanna is at Blue Ridge Monday, April 30. Both girls' teams went into this week with unbeaten Lackawanna Track Conference Division III records.
In professional hockey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is in Norfolk Wednesday and Friday for Games Four and Five of their series. Game Three was scheduled for Wednesday.
If the series is extended, Game Six will be Sunday at 5:05 and Game Seven would be Tuesday, May 1 at 7:05 in Wilkes-Barre.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
The Racing Reporter
Gordon Outduels Stewart In The Desert, Avondale, AZ – Jeff Gordon out-dueled Tony Stewart in the closing laps of Saturday’s Subway 500 at Phoenix for his first win of the season and his 76th career victory.
Jeff Gordon celebrates his Saturday Cup win at Phoenix, the 76th of his career.
It was also his first Nextel Cup win at Phoenix, but more significantly, he is now tied with the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth in all-time Cup career victories.
Gordon honored the late Earnhardt by carrying a "3" flag around the track after the win.
“This (race) means the world,” said Gordon. “It’s not to say we’re as good as him. I learned so much from him. We wanted to honor him. We’ve been holding on to that flag for a long time.”
Tony Stewart finished second, while Denny Hamlin was third.
Stewart appeared ready to secure career win No. 30 and his first of the season. But a caution on lap 285 of the 312-lap race for a three-car accident in turn four jumbled the running order. Just before the caution came out, Jeff Gordon – Stewart’s nearest pursuer – pitted for four tires and fuel.
Stewart pitted under caution, but came out in second as Gordon was awarded the No. 1 spot following the series of pit stops.
When the race restarted on lap 293, Stewart pursued Gordon and made up considerable ground when Gordon became stuck behind the lapped car of Martin Truex, Jr. Stewart brought the estimated crowd of 105,000 to its feet with a three-wide pass of Gordon entering turn three.
Stewart split the middle, with Gordon down low and Truex on the outside. Stewart emerged off turn four with the lead, but Gordon came back, and in the same corner where the two traded the lead a lap earlier, Gordon got underneath Stewart and made the pass stick for good coming off turn four.
Gordon led the final 13 laps, and while Gordon’s team celebrated, Stewart sulked.
The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet has seen at least three potential wins this year go to someone else when the checkered flag dropped.
“We’ve had decent runs, and that’s the disappointing part,” said Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli. “We probably should have more wins this year and somehow we keep letting them slip away. That part of it is frustrating. I don’t know if it’s anyone’s fault. A lot of it was circumstances.
“It’s a little frustrating because we won at this place before and I know Tony really wanted to win here, but we came up short again.”
Despite suffering the disappointment of what could’ve been, the No. 20 team’s second runner-up result of the season bumped Stewart up two spots in the championship point standings. Stewart is now seventh in points, 332 points behind series leader Gordon.
For the second time in three races in which teams have used the new Car of Today (COT), Jeff Green, driver of the No. 66 Best Buy Chevrolet scored a sixth-place finish.
Green’s team also posted a sixth-place run in the debut of the COT at Bristol Motor Speedway last month.
“It’s just what the team needed,” Green said. “We had a really good car tonight. We just got a little too tight at the end and couldn’t get into the top-five. Like I’ve been saying, we just seem to have a better handle on the COT than the other car.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ran in the top-10 positions for nearly the entire race until a yellow flag fell on lap 283, only five laps after the team had made their last pit stop. The untimely caution dropped the No. 8 to the tail-end of the lead lap, and Dale Jr. managed to stay ahead of the leaders to finish 19th.
Despite the disappointing finish, he moved up three positions in the Nextel Cup standings, and is now 15th after eight races, 56 points out of 12th place. This is the fifth time in the past six races he has improved in the point standings despite a run of bad luck.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Jeff Gordon, 2. Tony Stewart, 3. Denny Hamlin, 4. Jimmie Johnson, 5. Matt Kenseth, 6. Jeff Green, 7. Kyle Busch, 8. Bobby Labonte, 9. Johnny Sauter, 10. Kevin Harvick.
Top-12 Nextel Cup points leaders after 8 of 36: 1. J. Gordon-1326, 2. J. Burton-1252, 3. Kenseth-1166, 4. Johnson-1115, 5. Hamlin-1084, 6. Kyle Busch-1002, 7. Stewart-994, 8. Edwards-967, 9. Bowyer-963, 10. Martin-921, 11. Harvick-902, 12. McMurray-899.
Bowyer Takes Phoenix Busch Race – Top-10 Busch leaders after 9 of 35: 1. Edwards-1525, 2. Blaney-1101, 3. Harvick-1076, 4. Kenseth-1048, 5. Reutimann-1034, 6. Kyle Busch-970, 7. M. Wallace-925, 8. Ambrose-921, 9. Hamilton Jr.-920, 10. Hamlin-917.
Martin Satisfied With Part Time Job – Despite having only competed in six of eight races this season, Mark Martin finds himself 10th in the Nextel Cup point standings. As a part of his planned limited schedule in 2007, Martin took off races at Bristol and Martinsville, but four top-five finishes in five starts have Martin sitting in 10th position and inside the ‘Chase’ cut-off mark well into April.
In fact, Martin is ahead of 25 drivers who have competed in all seven races and 29 drivers who have started more races in 2007. In two fewer events, Martin has outscored guys with the names of Busch, Biffle, Harvick and Earnhardt, Jr. just to name a few.
“You know I fought my entire career to stay inside the top 15,” said Martin. “I never really knew the secret was staying at home for some races (laughing). Actually, I think it just says so much about this No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet Team and how great of a situation they have put me in.
“I have the greatest job on the planet, and I’m very thankful to be able to be in this situation and to be able to still race with a team of this caliber.”
In addition, Martin and co-driver Regan Smith have the No. 01 team in fourth in the Nextel Cup owner standings and in solid contention for an owner's championship.
Despite his current standing in the points, Martin still plans on taking Talladega off next weekend, before returning to action the following week at Richmond. Martin will then take part in seven consecutive events, including the Coca-Cola 600 and the Nextel All-Star Challenge before staying home from Sonoma, California.
Martin knows that with his current schedule, even with his huge success in 2007, he will eventually fall out of the top of the points chart.
“That’s okay,” continued Martin. “Listen, I spent 19 years chasing that thing and I never gave any less than 100 percent. We had some great runs and I’m proud of what we were able to do, but at this point I just don’t have any interest in continuing to chase after the cup.”
The Cup and Busch teams are at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, while the Craftsman Trucks race at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
Saturday, April 28: Busch Series Aaron’s 312, race 10 of 35, 117 laps, 2:30 p.m. TV: ABC.
Craftsman Trucks O’Reilly Auto Parts 250, race 5 of 25, 167 laps, 5:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Sunday, April 29, Nextel Cup Aaron’s 499, race 9 of 36, 188 laps, 1:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: How many Cup teams does Ray Evernham have this season?
Last Week’s Question: How many Cup wins does Jamie McMurray have? Answer: Only one and it came at Charlotte in 2002, in his second Cup start.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Ord, county delegate and Bob Tiffany, alternate delegate represented Susquehanna County at the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (PFSC) semi-annual spring convention, March 23-25 in Williamsport.
On Saturday, attendees were addressed by PFSC Executive Director Dr. Douglas Austin and Leroy Young during the Fish & Boat Committee meeting. Information on the Susquehanna and Juniata River Creel Survey, March 31 Regional Opening Day for trout, Preseason Trout Residency Study, Erie Access, Point of Sale for fishing license and Youth Fishing Licenses were a few of the items discussed.
PGC Executive Director Carl Roe addressed a number of topics during the Game & Trapping Committee meeting. D-MAP/Antlerless Tags increases from $6.00 to $10.00, Baiting, Hunting License increase, increased penalties for violations/poaching and resolving bugs in the HERR program were all issues addressed by Mr. Roe. Kevin Wenner, PGC Regional Diversity Biologist, gave an informative talk on the Private Landowners Assistance Program. Mike Tressler talked about how organizations can earn money by purchasing discount tickets to the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. Fred English was seeking PFSC’s support to get legislation introduced to make laser sights legal for blind hunters; this motion was brought before the delegates, and passed 35-1 (7 abstentions). John Plowman, with the Turkey Dog Alliance, asked for PFSC’s support to change the Game & Wildlife Code to allow hunting with Turkey Dogs in the fall (SB580); this motion was taken to the delegates, and passed 27-9 (9 abstentions). Matt Ehrhart, from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, discussed the REAP Program (Reserve, Enhancement & Protection Act of Pennsylvania) and asked for PFSC’s support, and received such by the delegates on Sunday.
The Environmental Committee watched a presentation by Ed Perry on the effects of global warming. After much discussion prior to Sunday’s meeting, the delegates voted to remain neutral on the issue until more information is gathered. There was also discussion on federal legislation that will help to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes and other water bodies. The National Aquatic Invasive Species Act of 2007 (S.725) would regulate the discharge of ballast water from ships that can release exotic species into U.S. waters. PFSC delegates supported this legislation.
John Hohenwarter, Regional NRA Representative for Legislative Issues, and Kim Stolfer, Firearm Owners Against Crime, spoke to the Firearms committee about current anti-gun legislation. They also discussed the importance of attending the April 24 Pro-Second Amendment Press Conference at the Capitol. Judge Krancer, who is running for the Supreme Court also addressed attendees on his pro-second amendment stance, and asked for support in his election.
At Sunday’s general session, delegates voted on resolutions brought before them. The first resolution, to have a uniform three-point restriction in all Wildlife Management Units (WMU), failed by a vote of 20-22 (3 abstentions); the second resolution, legalizing the use of lights on a firearm to hunt predators, failed 22-22 (1 abstention); the third resolution, against providing additional tools to prohibit littering on State Game Lands, passed 24-17 (4 abstentions). See PFSC’s website for full details on the resolutions. Full committee reports will also be posted at www.pfsc.org.
PFSC’s spring convention is tentatively set to be held September 7-9 in Harrisburg. We will also be continuing our celebration of 75 years of conservation with a sportsmen’s Jamboree at Bass Pro Shops, May 12 and 13, so mark your calendars.
Representing 95,000 sportsmen and women, the mission of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Inc. is to provide a statewide, united voice for the concerns of all sportsmen and conservationists, to ensure their rights and interests are protected and to protect and enhance the environment and our natural resources. The PFSC has 75 years of experience fighting for Pennsylvanians’ rights and privileges to hunt, fish, trap, shoot and boat, and for the conservation of the Commonwealth’s natural resources.
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