A-K Valley high school notebook: No. 1 Freeport, Deer Lakes brace for volleyball showdown

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Monday, September 25, 2017 | 7:33 PM


Deer Lakes hopes to become a consistent WPIAL girls volleyball championship contender. To do that, the Lancers have to get past a team in their own section.

No. 1 Freeport, which hosts Deer Lakes in a battle for first place in Section 5-AA on Tuesday, claimed the past two WPIAL Class AA titles and four of the past seven.

“As far as playing Freeport, it's like the Steelers,” Deer Lakes coach Terry Gaston said. “It's a domain: They have a realm. Everybody wants to be them. Nobody particularly likes them, but everybody would love to have the records they have.”

Freeport's WPIAL success extends to dominance in the section. The Yellowjackets won or shared each of the past 12 section titles and last dropped a section match in 2013, to Knoch.

Deer Lakes and Freeport enter Tuesday's match at 4-0 in Section 5-AA.

“Any time you're late in the season like this and you're going into a match where you have two undefeated teams, it's going to be exciting,” Freeport coach Tom Phillips said. “Deer Lakes is kind of the surprise team of that section. We have great respect for Deer Lakes.”

Freeport is coming off a 2-0 victory over defending PIAA champion Corry in the championship round of the Yellowjackets' host tournament. Phillips said he believed his team's performance was a good sign for the rest of the season.

Deer Lakes made the WPIAL playoffs each of the last two years; the program's most recent postseason appearance before that came in 2001.

Although the Lancers captured some sets against Freeport during Gaston's five years as coach, they are awaiting the first victory in an overall match.

Gaston hopes that can change Tuesday.

“We have nothing to lose,” Gaston said. “They're No. 1, they're WPIAL champs two years in a row … so we're going to go in there, guns firing and we're going to give them a match if we can.”

Thursday night lights

Riverview will play its annual night football game at Riverside Park on Friday, but the school's soccer teams will get the spotlight a day earlier.

The Raiders boys soccer team will host Section 3-A opponent Aquinas Academy at 6 p.m. Thursday at Riverside Park, with the girls soccer team's nonsection matchup with Valley to follow at 8 p.m.

The temporary lights brought in for Friday's football game will be used for the soccer games.

Riverview boys soccer coach Mickey Namey said he enjoys the annual night game because it draws a larger crowd and more excitement to the team.

“It's usually an important game in the season … so that always adds something to it,” Namey said. “But for them to be showcased in font of the school instead of a regular day game, it adds something special for the guys.”

Alumni celebration

The Freeport boys soccer program is celebrating its 25-year history with an alumni night Thursday at Freeport Area Athletic Stadium.

More than a dozen players and two coaches from the Yellowjackets' inaugural 1992 season will attend the team's game against Valley. They will be introduced on the field prior to kickoff at 7 p.m.

More alumni from the program's 25 seasons also are expected in attendance.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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