Tyler, Wirt meet for Class A title

CHARLESTON – Only two Mid-Ohio Valley programs remain standing after Friday’s opening day of the West Virginia State volleyball tournament inside the Charleston Civic Center.

A pair of familiar Little Kanawha Conference foes will tangle sometime before noon today for the Class A title when last year’s single-A runner-up Tyler Consolidated takes on Wirt County.

It will mark the third time this season the Tigers and Silver Knights have faced one another. TCHS swept the Tigers in a home match and then defeated the orange and black in the LKC semifinals at Spencer. That’s where head coach Richard Summers’ Silver Knights trailed 12-7 in the fifth set before scoring eight straight to win and then proceeded to lose to Williamstown in the finals.

Tyler Consolidated rolled past Charleston Catholic 25-19, 25-16 and 25-14 in the morning then eliminated East Hardy in four sets – 25-14, 25-10, 25-27 and 25-14 – to reach the state finals.

Wirt County ousted Magnolia in the quarterfinals by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-17 and had little trouble with Greater Beckley Christian – besting the Crusaders 25-16, 25-18 and 25-9.

Although the Tigers of head coach Janet Frazier have won eight state titles, the last coming in 2011, the Silver Knights’ lone championship came in 2007 when they defeated Independence for the Class AA crown.

“To me, it’s been a miracle season. We lost five good seniors and I’m not sure we were supposed to be back here,” said coach Summers.

“We are 36-13 and honestly, every time I walk out on the floor I just think about how blessed I am to have such good kids that I was able to coach period.”

Ariel Fish led the kill parade versus Charleston Catholic with 11 downed spikes. Kerstyn Cline produced 28 assists with the help of 10 kills from Bridget Matthews and nine more by Sydney Reed. Hilary Casteel chipped in nine service tallies, an ace and 10 digs. Carly Fletcher and Madison West combined for 14 digs and Megan Carpenter produced 11 points, five kills and as many blocks.

In the semifinals, Reed and Matthews combined for 33 points, eight aces and 16 kills. Carpenter posted 10 kills and nine blocks while Fletcher had 22 digs and Casteel 20.

Magnolia, which finished its season at 26-10, received 18 assists from Bailey Estep, 10 kills from Mallory Chapman, a combined 17 points from Ashley Moore and Taylor Ludewig along with six Cierra Fowler kills. Kelsi Chapman had seven points and a trio of aces.

The Tigers, though, got some big hitting numbers from Brandy Bunch (19 kills) and Megan Burns (14) versus the Blue Eagles. Liz Adams contributed 33 assists for the orange and black, who watched Leah Haines (18 points) and Gwynn Smith (17) dominate at the service line.

Wirt County (36-13-4) got a solid effort in the semifinals from sophomore Allie Bailey, who had nine blocks and a half dozen kills. Bunch led the way with 13 kills, Cammi Ferguson had eight points and Mady Campbell tallied eight digs, six points and three assists.

Parkersburg (53-7-1) was the only local squad to reach the semifinals and not make it to the last day of the season.

Head coach Carl Harnish’s Big Reds never led against Musselman during a 25-11, 25-15 and 25-18 semifinal setback.

The Applemen played solid defensively, but PHS never got its serve-receive on track as the offensive attack sputtered. Samantha Shingleton had a team-high nine downed spikes in the setback while Alexandra Dils had six kills and Courtney Ball one.

At 8:30 a.m., though, PHS eliminated Cabell Midland – 25-16, 19-25, 25-19 and 26-24 – behind Dils’ 22 kills and Kaitlin Farrah’s 17 points. Lyxi Reeder and Nicole Bradford had nine service tallies apiece, Katie Quillen scored seven points and the duo of Shada Harnish and Mackenzie Sims combined for 10 kills. Shingleton also registered nine kills versus the Knights.

The news wasn’t so good for area programs Parkersburg South, Ritchie County and Clay County, each of which fell in the quarterfinal round.

PSHS head coach Becky Bennett’s squad started off rough against Spring Valley, falling 25-14 and 25-12 in the first two sets of the Class AAA best-of-five match. However, the Patriots seized momentum in the must-win third set when Taylor Ratliff recorded an ace, Kayleigh Rexroad registered a kill and Brittany Boso blocked an attack to break what was a 12-all tie.

After the Patriots won 25-22 to force a fourth set, Parkersburg South appeared to be on its way to a winner-take-all fifth set. Spring Valley found itself down by scores of 14-5 and 20-14 and still trailed 20-17 late. However, when Ratliff went to set the ball Spring Valley middle hitter Allyson Meadows blocked it and the Timberwolves were awarded the point.

Then, after coach Bennett protested that Meadows attacked the ball on the Patriots’ side of the net, the call was changed and PSHS was awarded the point for a 21-17 advantage. Soon after that decision was made, though, the call was changed yet once again to a redo and SVHS scored six straight points to go ahead 23-20.

Despite a Katelyn Byrd kill, a Katie Harper ace and a point from Kasey Williams, the Patriots ended up falling 28-26 and ended their season at 32-14-1.

Logan Somerville had a team-high 25 digs and was joined by Harper in scoring eight points. Ratliff has 26 assists, Williams 10 kills and Kayleigh Rexroad eight downed spikes. Byrd led the Patriots with five blocks.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the girls,” said the coach. “I’ve got eight seniors. They did not roll over and play dead. They got up there and battled their hearts outs.

“Calls go your way and some calls don’t go your way and there is not much you can do about it.”

Clay County, which finished third in the LKC, lost in straight sets to two-time defending Class AA state champion Oak Glen – 25-11, 25-19, 25-22.

Fellow LKC member Ritchie County (24-23-1) got off to a solid start by winning the first set 25-19 against Herbert Hoover, but the Huskies then rolled to the semifinals by scores of 25-16, 25-18 and 25-17.

Kenna DeLancey (17), Jessie Bryson (11) and Vanessa Tallman (six) led the way for the Rebels in the kill department. Becca Sullivan contributed a trio of aces and 31 assists. Janessa Adams chipped in 14 assists and a team-high 18 digs. Leah Kuhn finished with 11 digs, four kills and three blocks.

Herbert Hoover needed five sets to knock off Robert C. Byrd in the semifinals and the Huskies will try to stop Oak Glen’s three-peat in the final championship match of the day.

Greenbrier East and head coach Matt Sauvage’s Spartans ousted Spring Valley in the semifinals and will take on Musselman in the first title game at 9:30 a.m. today. It’s the Spartans’ first state finals appearance.

Also of note, Man High School made its first trip to the state tournament in school history for head coach Orlando Washington.