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Shamokin’s Markowski, Lourdes Regional’s Czeponis use consistency to earn top honor



TIM ZYLA/STAFF PHOTO Lourdes Regional’s Frances Czeponis tries to make a block against Williams Valley during the regular season in Coal Township.

TIM ZYLA/STAFF PHOTO Lourdes Regional’s Frances Czeponis tries to make a block against Williams Valley during the regular season in Coal Township.

Q: What does dining in a good restaurant have in common with volleyball?

A: They both show the importance of good servers.

Serving skill came much into play when The News-Item sought its outstanding player for the 2017 volleyball season; so much so that we couldn’t decide on one player, so Lourdes Regional’s Francis Czeponis and Shamokin’s Kenna Markowski share the honor.

The two play different main positions — Czeponis is a middle hitter and Markowski a libero, but it’s their ability when it’s their time to serve that made them stand out.

Czeponis, junior, put 93 percent of her serves into play, best on the Red Raiders, and tied for the team lead with 39 aces. In addition, as a hitter, she led the team in kills (121) by a vast margin and also paced the team in

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Kenna Markowski returns a Williams Valley serve during a home game in September.

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Kenna Markowski returns a Williams Valley serve during a home game in September.

blocks (26) and was even fourth in digs (23).

“Her serving was above 90 percent, which is what every coach strives to have their players achieve,” says Lourdes head coach Tara Novak. “She made huge progress with her hitting this year and started to understand how to see the court and place the ball instead of always hitting it.”

Similarly, Markowski, a senior, had a 98 percent serving percentage for the Indians. She had 16 aces and her play in the middle set the tone for Shamokin’s defense, according to head coach Andrew Arnold.

“She led the team with 239 digs,” Arnold says. “Kenna was the defensive leader and also did well with serving, receiving, passing and getting the ball to our setter to start the play. She is an all-around good player and was important in getting us to districts.”