When Delaware Valley arrived at Tunkhannock High School for its volleyball match on Tuesday, it was a homecoming for their coach Adam Holdredge.
Holdredge graduated from Tunkhannock in 2003, and played for Tigers co-Coach Judd Holdredge, his uncle.
The Warriors swept the Tigers, 3-0, with scores of 25-10, 25-14, and 25-15.
Paul Binner had four blocks, five kills and 10 assists for the Tigers.
Judd was expecting an emotional game from the start.
With extended family in the stands, Judd said that they will cheer for the best plays, not a specific team.
And with a lineage like the Holdredges, it would be safe to say they are pretty knowledgeable about volleyball plays.
Judd proudly boasted that Adam was a freshman starter at Tunkhannock, as well as at East Stroudsburg University.
Although Tunkhannock’s reputation as a volleyball power dates back to the 1930s when George ‘Duke’ Bunnell was coach, the Tigers kicked it up a notch when Ernest Holdredge burst on the Tunkhannock scene in 1947.
He became assistant football coach the following year, and a decade later became assistant volleyball coach to Bunnell and the pair seemed unstoppable as the Tigers won their first state championship ever in any sport in 1957.
Ernie had an almost unbelievable 249-0 regular season record, and beginning in the 1960s there was a Holdredge son not just on the roster, but carrying formidable weight as All-Americans first with Rich, Adam’s dad, and then with Judd on the 1972 team that won both the state and the Eastern U.S. Volleyball Championship, with their dad at the helm. Judd later went on to Kellogg Community College which won the Junior College National Championship.
Both Rich, Adam’s dad, and Judd coached Adam at Tunkhannock.
“If it wasn’t for grandpa, none of us would be in volleyball,” said Judd before the match.
Adam said after the match, “I hate playing him. There is a lot of intensity. In the past, we have done and said things we weren’t proud of, both on and off the court,in things that require a winner and loser. It could be as simple as playing ‘Chutes and Ladders’ at a family picnic. It gets intense.”
“We didn’t want this to get like that,” Adam added.
But when asked if they had a running tally of head-to-head meetings, Judd was quick to answer that Adam was two wins up, before the game began Tuesday.
Tunkhannock junior Paul Binner is well aware of the Tiger’s volleyball history.
“The entire Holdredge family has had a huge impact on Tunkhannock volleyball. The boys’ team had zero losses back when Judd’s father coached the team, and they won many district and state titles. Judd and his brothers, Rich and John, played on and coached successful teams at Tunkhannock for several years and many of their children played as well,” said Binner.
Judd added, “Adam runs a great program. But we aren’t going to change our game plan, our lineup, just for one game. I hope our kids play like they can.”
Both teams are aware of the connection between coaches.
“But if the coach gets nervous, then the players can read it,” Judd added.
“I can’t speak for the whole team, but I personally didn’t really feel any added pressure due to the family relationship,” said Binner of the matchup. “Deleware Valley’s coach, Adam, had his team pumped up to play us this year because we almost beat them last year, so they were definitely ready to play us.”
Binner continued, “We know from past experience and from watching them at the Wyoming Valley West tournament that Delaware Valley is a good team and that we would have to play out best to beat them. Unfortunately, we did not play up to our full potential that day.”
Adam said, “I had a chance to watch his team play this past weekend at the tournament (at Wyoming Valley West), plus I know from playing for him how he reacts to things. I also have what I learned from him. That helped our game plan.”
“It just came down to my kids made the plays,” Adam concluded.
“I wish him nothing but success with the program. The day they win the district title, I will be super happy for him and the team,” said Adam.
According to Judd, there will not be a chance at a rematch this season, as Delaware Valley is a Class AAA school and Tunkhannock is a Class AA.
Rebounding quickly from the Del Val loss, the Tigers headed to Wyoming Valley West, where Joao Oldoni had nine service points, four kills and four aces as Tunkhannock swept the Spartans on Thursday.
Binner said of the win, “Our coaches encourage us to not dwell on the past and to look at each game as a fresh start. We worked hard at practice and went into the Wyoming Valley West game knowing that we could win if we played our best.”
Avery Billings had six kills, six blocks and three aces, while Trejon Turner had nine kills, four blocks and two aces.
The Tigers won with 25-20, 25-21, and 25-13 scores.
Monday’s contest against North Pocono was rescheduled for Thursday.