PHS netters win sectional crown

Parkersburg South’s Rylee Harris tries to react to a tip from Parkersburg’s Shay-Lee Kirby during sectional action Wednesday at Memorial Fieldhouse. Big Red setter Ciara Miller observes on the play. Photo by Jay W. Bennett.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg first-year head coach Erin Thorpe’s Big Reds knocked off Parkersburg South in the championship match of the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 1 tournament here Wednesday night inside Memorial Fieldhouse by scores of 25-8, 25-10 and 25-19.

The 36-13-4 Big Reds, who will join the rival Patriots at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Region IV semifinals at Cabell Midland High School, will square off against the host Knights. Parkersburg South head coach Becky Bennett’s club will face sectional champion Spring Valley, also with a berth in next week’s state tournament on the line.

“I like to play South because it brings out the best in the girls,” said Thorpe, who got match-highs from Ciara Miller (30 assists), Shay-Lee Kirby (eight kills) and Hannah Adkins (14 points). “They always play really hard against South and that was fun.

“We have to work on starting our game a little bit better. We kind of dug ourselves a hole there a couple sets, but other than that we came back hard and came back strong. The girls were making plays and I was really proud of them.”

Before the host Big Reds could take the floor, third-seeded Ripley (6-21-2) squared off against Parkersburg South (12-28-1) and came up short — 22-25, 30-28, 25-18 and 25-13.

“The main goal was to get the first one and that’s what the girls did and that’s what we concentrated on,” admitted Bennett, who had finals match-highs of seven blocks from Makenna Winans and 11 digs by libero Kassidy Spears.

“We’ve seen Spring Valley before. If we come out and battle the way we did in that third game against PHS, we’ve got the opportunity to take it.”

Although PHS had lopsided victories in the first two sets, PSHS rallied from an 8-1 deficit in set one to close the gap to 8-6 after a Toria Moore kill from a Sydni Harris assist. However, Amayah Lauer got rolling at the service line and scored six straight and then Adkins later added eight straight points and served out for the win.

South led 6-2 early in the second set after a Destiney Wells kill and an Emma Leach service tally.

Parkersburg, though, started the rally with a Calli Shaver ace and took the lead for good at 9-8 on a downed spike by Haddae Allen.

Madi Gribble served out the final nine tallies and Kirby got set point on a kill from a Miller assist.

Cassie Fink registered a downed spike and Harris added a pair of aces during her seven consecutive service points run as PHS appeared to be in trouble to open the third set. Lindsey Kiger’s kill finally got the red and white on the board at 7-1. A double block by Winans and Moore on Big Red Emily Casto kept South in front 10-5, but Sam Bunner later cut the deficit to 11-10 following a quartet of points, which included an ace.

PHS took the lead for good at 15-14 on a Miller kill via Kirby’s lone assist of the match. South still trailed by just a pair at 17-15 following a Winans/Anna Ferguson double block on Lauer, but the Big Reds finally got match point on an Adkins kill.

In the opening match, Spears led the Patriots with 24 digs, Rylee Harris and Sydni Harris combined for 36 assists while Fink (12) and Wells (11) led the victors in the kill department versus the Vikings.

Ripley was led by Kindra Sarver, who along with six points, an ace and 16 assists, finished with a match-high 15 kills. Katlyn Sarver and Anna Kurnot combined for 16 downed spikes in the setback while fellow Viking teammate Ashley Casto had a trio of aces.