Shared from the 11/1/2018 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

MVI-BEEGRAPHIX ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Frazier’s Eicher, Ringgold’s Pajak nab weekly honor

Commodores will play in WPIAL semifinal tonight; Pajak prepares for PIAA XC meet in Hershey.

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File photo Frazier’s Skye Eicher (7) has been a dominant force throughout the WPIAL playoffs. Eicher has 56 kills in the last two playoff games against Hopewell and Deer Lakes, respectively.

Throughout the Frazier volleyball team’s current run through the WPIAL playoffs, head coach Mandy Hartman has relied on junior outside hitter Skye Eicher to lead the way.

Several times over the last two games, the veteran coach has found herself simply looking at Skye and telling her to win the next point. Without any sort of hesitation, Eicher nods her head and proceeds to get the job done.

“Skye is that special kind of player that I have been honored to coach,” Hartman said. “She knows her role and executes it to perfection in the most humble way.”

Eicher led the team in kills during the regular season and has continued her stellar pace during the postseason as she has now compiled 335 kills on the year.

In a four-set, first round victory over Hopewell in the first round, Eicher had a team-high 30 kills and 12 service points for the fourth-seeded Commodores.

In the quarterfinals Tuesday night, Eicher helped lead Frazier to a 3-2 match win with 26 kills.

“Her volleyball IQ is what has really allowed her to become so consistent and reliable for us this year,” Hartman said. “She reads the court so well and has a great sense for what kind of swing to take.

For her consistency during the season and her play during the playoffs, Eicher has been selected as the Mon Valley Independent-BeeGraphix female athlete of the week.

“Skye is a pure athlete that excels in all parts of the game. When she isn’t winning points in the front line, she is playing extraordinary defense or winning points behind the service line,” Hartman said. “Her greatest attribute and what I think makes her such a dominating force is her aggressive swing that she will take wherever she is on the court.”

Hartman said several coaches have shown interest in Eicher playing collegiately for their programs. However, she has yet to make a decision on where she wants to attend.

“I have no doubt Skye will compete at the next level,” Hartman said. “She loves this game and is an outstanding student. I have full confidence that she will contribute greatly to whatever program is fortunate enough to have her.”

The Commodores continue their quest for a WPIAL championship tonight against top-seeded Freeport in the semifinals at Norwin High School.

“I have all the confidence in the world in my team,” Hartman said. “We have to be disciplined and play our best volleyball. We are the underdogs for sure, but sometimes that’s what makes this so much fun.”

Lucas Pajak

When looking at cross country meet results in Class AA, one wouldn’t have to look very far to find Lucas Pajak’s name.

The Ringgold sophomore has consistently etched his name atop the leaderboard at various meets this month. Pajak started by placing first at the Big South Conference Championships at Mingo Park Oct. 4, finishing with a time of 17:38 to claim the victory.

A week later, Pajak picked up another victory at the Mingo Cross Country Invitational Cancer Awareness Pink Out meet, running the course in a time of 17:24. Pajak finished in 17:22 at the Washington County Coaches meet at Mingo Park Oct. 15 and claimed a fourth place finish at the Tri State TCA Cross Country Championships at California University.

He finished with another time of 17:38.

Pajak capped off the month of October with arguably his top accomplishment to date.

He finished seventh with a time of 17:21 in the Class 2A race at last week’s WPIAL Championships held at Cal U.

Pajak medaled by finishing in the top 15 and advances to the PIAA Championships which will be held Saturday in Hershey, Pa.

For his performance over the month of October, Pajak has been selected as the Mon Valley Independent-BeeGraphix male athlete of the week.

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