PHS brawls out: Big Reds top St. Albans in Fall Brawl finals

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South’s Sierra Hays and St. Albans’ Kiersten Eggleton try to make a play on the ball during Saturday’s Fall Brawl inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

PARKERSBURG — Katelyn McVicker went on a kill barrage for St. Albans late in the third set during Saturday’s Fall Brawl championship match inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center, but Parkersburg High School head coach Erin Thorpe’s Big Reds finally emerged victorious with a 25-22, 15-25 and 25-18 win.

“I’m really proud of these girls,” said Thorpe. “We’ve had a lot to overcome this year with injuries and sickness. I kind of changed the lineup right in the middle of the tournament and the girls took the bull by the horns.

“They just absolutely came to life and they had all the energy in the world. We were supporting each other and we are finally playing as a team. I was real proud of them the way we finished as a team.”

After Grace West opened set three with a kill, PHS looked as though it would roll. Shay-Lee Kirby served for three straight points as Hannah Hewitt and Lindsey Kiger registered downed spikes in the spurt. Following an Amayah Lauer down the line kill on the outside from one of Shelby Roberts’ match-high 14 assists, the Big Reds led 9-4.

St. Albans, which defeated John Marshall (25-21, 25-19) in the semifinals and host Parkersburg South (25-16, 25-18) in the quarterfinals, found itself in a huge hole facing a 16-8 deficit after three straight Hannah Adkins service tallies, which included a pair of aces.

Photo courtesy Kerri Lauer Parkersburg High School poses for a team picture following Saturday’s 25-22, 15-25 and 25-18 championship match victory against St. Albans at Parkersburg South’s Fall Brawl.

Still trailing 19-11, McVicker hammered down four straight kills as Karli Miller toed the service line for three of those points. McVicker, who finished with seven points and 14 kills, was called for in the net to give PHS a 20-15 cushion. However, she then responded with another smash — this one via a Kiersten Eggleton assist — and it was 20-18 after consecutive downed spikes by Macayla Thornburgh.

PHS, though, tallied the final five points as the Red Dragons lost their momentum after a service error. A trio of unforced errors as well as a communication snafu allowed Roberts to serve out the final four points for the championship.

Lauer finished with seven kills and two aces while Kirby had six kills and a trio of aces. Roberts also had 10 digs.

Kennedy D’Antoni tallied 13 assists and a trio of downed spikes for the Red Dragons, who received three points, 10 assists and seven kills from Eggleton. SAHS also had a solid finals showing from Brooke Clark (nine points, one ace, three assists, seven kills).

The Big Reds advanced to the championships by ousting Magnolia (25-22, 25-7) in the semifinals and eliminating a game Williamstown squad in the quarterfinals by scores of 25-22 and 25-20. WHS actually led 17-11 in the first set against PHS, but the Big Reds battled back and took the lead for good at 20-18 thanks to consecutive aces by Adkins.

Parkersburg South head coach Becky Bennett’s squad took an early 3-2 lead in what was a must-win second set against St. Albans thanks to an Alana Brigner kill. Brigner finished with five kills as did Jacqui Foggin, while fellow Patriots Toria Moore and Cassie Fink registered a quartet of kills apiece.

The Red Dragons still trailed 4-2 in the second set following an ace by Patriot Emily Dugan. In the end, St. Albans proved to be too much as the a block by D’Antoni set up match point and the Patriots passed a free ball out of play.