Western Wayne's girls volleyball team sent shock waves all through the Lackawanna League this week by doing the unthinkable.
On Thursday night, the Lady 'Cats traveled to Dunmore for a showdown with the undefeated Bucks.
This was a re-match of the two teams' Week One encounter, a battle won by Dunmore in convincing fashion 3-0.
Even on the heels of that disappointing early season setback, though, veteran coach Darren Thorpe never doubted his squad.
"As I've said several times this year, I've been telling anyone who'd listen that we can beat Dunmore," he said. "They're a good team, but so are we. I have a lot of faith in our girls."
On Thursday evening, the Lady 'Cats went right out and vindicated their coach.
Western Wayne raced out to a big early lead en route to an eventual 3-2 win over the previously unbeaten Bucks. With this victory, the Lady 'Cats rose to second place in the standings (8-2) and snapped Dunmore's 43-match winning streak.
"It's probably been five years since we've beaten them," said Coach Thorpe. "But, I knew we could do it. When we stay focused and play our game, we can compete with anybody."
Next up for Western Wayne are back-to-back home matches against Elk Lake (Monday) and Blue Ridge (Thursday).
At the Net
Western Wayne fans were holding their collective breath in the moments leading up to Game One.
All Star Becca Carmody twisted her ankle during warm-ups and had to be re-taped by trainers. Despite the pain and swelling, Carmody went out and had herself another outstanding night.
Becca dominated at the net, hammering home a match-best 18 kills. She also added four aces and five digs.
Page 2 of 3 - "She was definitely hurting, but there was no way Becca was going to let us lose," Coach Thorpe said. "She's a tough kid ... very focused and a fierce competitor."
Thanks in large part to Carmody, Western Wayne opened the match with a 25-13 shellacking. The Lady 'Cats followed that up with a 25-23 win in Game Two.
Coach Thorpe has been preaching about consistency at the service line since the very beginning of practice.
On Thursday evening at Dunmore, his girls put on an electrifying display.
Michelle Arnold was at the forefront of the attack.
A junior who specializes in serves, Arnold stepped to the line 27 times, unleashed five aces and committed only one error.
"I'm very proud of her," said Coach Thorpe.
"Michelle really stepped up to the challenge. Every time we needed a big serve, she came through. Michelle just took Dunmore right out of its offensive flow."
The Bucks did bounce back to claim the third and fourth games by scores of 25-15 and 25-20, respectively.
However, the Lady 'Cats didn't flinch as the match entered a winner-take-all fifth game.
Kristin Thorpe played a major role in this historic Western Wayne win.
The Lady 'Cats veteran setter ran her offense with pinpoint precision. She finished up the night with an eye-popping 35 assists and earn rave reviews from her mentor.
"The thing I like best about what Kristin did was that she really spread the ball around," Coach Thorpe said. "She did a nice job getting everyone involved in the offense."
Page 3 of 3 - Anna Krenitsky was one of the main beneficiaries of Thorpe's passing. Another powerful force at the net, Krenitsky blasted eight kills and added three blocks.
With virtually the entire team hitting on all cylinders, Western Wayne sprinted out to a 9-3 lead in this race to 15.
Dunmore managed to draw closer, but then the Lady 'Cats took over and sealed the deal on a 15-9 triumph.
"This was a really big win for us," said Coach Thorpe. "I have to try and keep the girls focused on one thing at a time, but I know they're excited about getting another shot at Abington Heights now."
Western Wayne's only other loss came a the hands of the Comets last week.
The two teams will meet again October 17 in Clarks Summit.