Dunmore Volleyball Senior Elisa Delfino is All Regional

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior Elisa Delfino just started playing volleyball last year as a junior without initially knowing a lot about the game.

She learned quickly. 

Elisa was selected late last month as an All Regional volleyball player for the 2020 season. 

She led Dunmore to the Lackawanna League championship playoff match and District 2 Class 2A playoffs.

Daughter of Joe and Melissa Delfino, Dunmore, Elisa was a Lackawanna coaches’ first team all-star. She had 115 kills, 56 serving points with 18 aces, seven blocks and 11 digs. 

In her career, she had 245 kills, 56 serving points with 18 aces, 13 blocks and 11 digs. This was her first All Regional selection. 

Sue Dempsey is the volleyball coach at Dunmore. Trevor Holmes is the assistant.

“They taught me everything I know about volleyball,” said Elisa. “I didn’t even know there were only six players on the court. I came in as a junior not really knowing the rules of the game. They taught me the basics and it went from there.”

And her reaction to being selected All Regional as a senior? 

“I am very thankful that I had the coaches who helped me get there,” she said.

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

“I really regret not starting playing volleyball sooner. I started as a junior and learned the game so fast. Volleyball is an easy game to pick up once you start playing on a regular basis. It is a lot of fun.”

The talented senior has a 94 academic average and is also a key member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team. She is a member of the French Club, Spanish Club, Earth Club, SADD and TACT at Dunmore. Her best subject is psychology.

The scholar-athlete has been selected as player of the game and player of the month for her volleyball skills. 

Elisa said she would like to study business administration/marketing with a minor in psychology and continue her basketball career in college. Her sister Gianna was a standout basketball player for the Dunmore Lady Bucks. So basketball is in her blood. 

She talked about her future goals. “It is going to be hard for me to stop playing sports. I want to play basketball and do well in college. I want to finish college, be successful and start a family. I will never stop playing sports. I love it too much. I will play in recreation leagues after college. I am pretty sure of that.”

Elisa said she likes listening to music in her spare time and would love to see Ariana Grande in concert. 

A four-year member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team as a shooting guard and forward, Elisa is also a football cheerleader. 

A middle hitter in volleyball, she talked about what it takes to excel in the sport. “It takes teamwork and commitment. That is the main thing. Then it all falls into place.”

The multi talented and versatile senior said her parents taught her a lot. “They always tell me to stick to things and keep trying. They tell me to not get discouraged when things do not work out.” 

Elisa talked about the impact of COVID-19 on herself and classmates. “It has been hard on us, but at the same time has strengthened the team and bond we have together. It has brought us closer. 

“It was tough on our basketball team last year. We were on a good roll in the playoffs and the season suddenly came to a halt. We were playing well as a team and thought we had a good chance of going all the way.”

Elisa said she is enjoying her Dunmore High School experience. “I really like Dunmore a lot,” she said. “It is a tight community. Everybody knows everybody. Dunmore is like one big family.”

Athlete of the Month: Erika Bistran

athlete-of-the-month-erika-bistran-picBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior volleyball outside hitter Erika Bistran was selected All Regional for the second time in her outstanding four-year career.

Daughter of Lori and Rob Bistran, Dunmore, Erika, 18, is a team player all the way.

Hard working and humble, she was quick to praise teammates, opponents and coaches when she heard about her selection.

“I was shocked and did not expect it,” she said. “It is quite an accomplishment and takes a lot of hard work. There are a lot of great players in our league, so you don’t know if this is possible. We have great coaching and it’s a team game. Volleyball is point by point. It is play by play. You play as a team. I have great teammates here who all work hard.”

Erika finished the season with 268 kills, 60 digs, 67 aces and 107 serving points. She finished her career with 415 kills, 135 digs, 139 aces and 381 serving points.

She was also an All Regional selection in her freshman year. She was a first-team all-star as a freshman.

Coached by Sue Dempsey, the Dunmore girls’ volleyball team finished a splendid season with an 18-3 record. Dunmore finished second in its division and lost the district title game to Holy Redeemer.

“We had a nice year,” said Erika. “We were young and a little inexperienced, so we had to come together as a team. We had to get the job done and make it happen. It was a lot of hard work, but we played as a team and really put it together.”

Erika has a 3.6 academic average and aspires to become a Physician’s Assistant. She has applied to Kings College for the Physician’s Assistant program.

Erika, well rounded in all aspects of academics, clubs and sports, is president of the Spanish Club at Dunmore. She is secretary of the TACT Club and a member of SADD, the French Club and National Honor Society. Her favorite subject is history.

Erika is also a four-year member and two-year starter as a forward on the Dunmore girls’ basketball team. She averaged over six points and over eight rebounds per game last season.

She has been a Dunmore football cheerleader for the past two years.

She talked about what it takes to be a good volleyball player in high school. “It takes a lot of hard work. You have to practice hard both in season and out of season. You have to push yourself to be the best. And you really have to love the sport.”

Erika said she has learned a lot from coach Dempsey. “She always teaches to be a team player and a leader. When you are down, pick everyone up. Volleyball is a team sport, not an individual sport.”

Erika, who is a big fan of Carrie Underwood and would like to see her in concert, talked about her future goals. “I definitely want to focus on school and become a Physician’s Assistant. I might play volleyball in college. In the end, it is all about school.”

The talented scholar-athlete lives by the Beach Boys song, “Be True to Your School.” Erika loves Dunmore High School.

“I love it,” she said. “Dunmore High is a great place to be. The environment is great. The environment is like no other school. The Friday night football games are amazing. Dunmore is one of a kind. I love it here. I have great experiences with great people.”

Doin’ Dunmore: New Sports Hall of Fame Inductees

nepa

By Steve Svetovich

The Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame inducted 11 new members last month at the University of Scranton DeNaples Center.

The inductees included Kevin Borrelli, Ryan Castsllani, Kristin Maile, Melissa E. “Missy” Rose McTiernan, Jared NEPA, Tom Parry, Tom Rudzinski, Mike Sokoloski, Joe Tuzze, Bill Zinsky and Scott Walsh who received the media award.

The 34th annual induction ceremonial was held October 2. Bob Walsh is Chapter President. WNEP-TV sportscaster Jim Coles served as toastmaster for the ceremony.

Judy Igoe Carr performed the Welcome. Alice Foley provided the Benediction. Walsh provided the Toastmaster Introduction and Introduction of Inductees. Walsh served as chairman for the dinner. Ed Ludwig is president of the Northeastern Chapter. Jerry Valonis is vice president. Judy Igoe Carr is secretary. Tom “Doc” Dougherty is treasurer.

Cole, serving as toastmaster, said he has interviewed all of the inductees on the Dias. “I would not be here as an athlete ever,” he joked. “My dad took me to football games when I was younger. He took me to see the a Blakely Bears.  We are all just local people from the area trying to do the best we can.”

cross-country-running-clipart-1Borrelli, the former standout Mid Valley and Dusquesne University cross country/track runner, was the first inductee to speak. “I went to camps and clinics all the time. We would do what we could to get better. Running was my thing, so I went after it. Running is a very simple sport. If you want to win, you work hard. In college, instead of being a star I became a member of a team. Running opened up all sorts of doors for me with coaching. I got a running high from coaching.

“It was great when an ex student called me and said, ‘Hey coach, you want to go for a run?’ Or when I get a wedding invitation from a former student. I met my wife at my first cross country match in seventh grade.”

Former Valley View All Region running back Ryan Castellani, who played football at Wagner College, was the next inductee to speak. “Football was everything growing up in my family,” he said. “I thank my wife and kids, the committee and the inductees. I thank my former coach at Valley View, Frank Pazzaglia, for believing in me. I thank all the coaches who helped me succeed. The coaching and opportunities coach Pazzaglia gave me helped me in everyday life.

“I overcame adversity in college. I had an operation to my right eye. I thank my family for supporting me. My dad felt that giving in was not an option. I thank my late brother-in-law Randy Kordish for standing by me. My brothers Rob and Randy set the bar for me. If it were not for those two, I would not be here today.

“The advice I can give to young athletes is to go for it. Shoot for the stars and don’t look back.”

vbKristen Maile, the former Forest City and University of Scranton volleyball player, was next. “I grew up talking sports at the family table. I am thankful to all my coaches and teammates who were a part of my volleyball career. I thank my mom and dad. My dad is here, but my mom is battling health issues at home. My dad has been with me every step of the way. He was at every volleyball game I performed in. And later I was very proud to become an athletic director.”

Missy Rose McTiernan, the former Scranton Prep and University of Connecticut basketball star, was next. “I thank my former teammates who always put team goals first. I thank Dan Kennedy who coached me at Prep. I thank Gino Auriemma who coached me at U Conn. I was so proud to be a Huskie. It formulated my life. I especially thank my parents. This award represents so much. I thank my husband Bob who never really liked basketball, but now is a basketball junkie.”

Former Carbondale Area and Colgate football star Jared NEPA was next. “I thank my family for pushing me to become better. I thank my coaches, including John Lasavage at Carbondale. I quote John Wooden in his book, ‘The Pyramid of Success’ which defines success as becoming the best person you can be. You know, my dad would ask me how many practice shots I took on the basketball court. If I told him 200, he would say he was sure someone out there took 250. I thank my dad for that drive he gave me.”

Former Lakeland basketball star and Lackawanna Trail basketball coach Tom a Parry said, “I wanted to not only develop a basketball program at Trail that was competitive, but one that was consistent year in and year out. I was not afraid to work hard and put the time in.”

Former coach/official Tom Rudzinski thanked his wife “for often taking a back seat” to his activities with sports. “I am an emotional guy. As a coach, you are only as good as your players. I was very lucky to have a fantastic group. Without them, I would not be here. The quote by Vince Lombardi that winning is not everything, but the only thing, is probably a quote he wishes he did not make. For me, if at one moment I consider that I made an impact in a player’s life, then I know I succeeded.”

basketballFormer Scott High School and East Stroudsburg golf/baseball/basketball great Mike Sokoloski was next. “I remember what Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Phil Neikro once said. He said if he ever saw a turtle make it across the street siting on the side of a fence, you knew it needed help. To be a success, you need a lot of help along the way. My dad was a quiet person. He told me to succeed in sports, you have to practice and work hard. My dad set the foundation for me. He told me that applied to everything. It applied to sports, work, academics, religion.”

Former Carbondale football star Joe Tuzze was next. “I thank my dad for standing by me side by side. I thank my mom for throwing pitches to me even though line drives were coming right back. She didn’t want me to play football. She played the loving mom by keeping us safe and helping us accomplish our goals. I can tell many great stories about my mom. I thank my dad for pushing me, supporting me and taking me to every camp. He made it happen. He was my role model. I owe him everything.”

Golfing great Bill Zinsky passed away in 2014. His son accepted for him. He called him “an exceptional golfer and honorable man who was a gentleman on and off the course” He recalled Fathers Day tournaments with his dad. “This one’s for you, dad.”

Scranton Times-Tribune sports writer/editor Scott Walsh received the media award. He thanked former Scranton Times sports editor John McCormack for giving him his first opportunity. “Since high school, I knew I wanted to be a sports writer. I have met a lot of interesting people, but never thought I would be in this Hall of Fame. I am grateful and humbled by it. I thank my colleagues and bosses in the sports department. I thank my wife Andrea and my family. I thank my dad who took me to ball games and gave me a passion for sports.”