PHS, Ripley fall in volleyball regional

Parkersburg High’s Shay-Lee Kirby (9) leaps to attempt to block a ball hit by Hurricane’s Brianna Washburn (1) during a Class AAA, Region IV volleyball semifinal Saturday at PHS Memorial Fieldhouse. The host Big Reds bowed out of tournament play with a 25-21, 27-25, 25-23 setback at the hands of the Redskins. Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn.

PARKERSBURG — It took Spring Valley just three hours Saturday at PHS Memorial Fieldhouse to down Ripley and then Hurricane to advance to the state volleyball tournament as the Class AAA, Region IV champion.

But before the latter happened, Hurricane did in host Parkersburg High in a regional semifinal in three straight sets, 25-21 27-25, 25-23, to end the Big Reds’ season.

In the best-three-out-of-five match, PHS did forge early 2-0 and 4-2 leads in the first set before the Redskins rallied to grab an 8-4 advantage and never looked back, although the Big Reds did narrow the gap several times in the process.

A spike by PHS’ Lindsey Kiger did make it 14-9, but still in Hurricane’s favor. Sporadic spurts by the visitors upped their lead to 10 at 20-11 and the Big Reds got no closer than five again until 22-17.

A last-ditch PHS rally got the margin back to only 24-21 before the Redskins tallied the clinching point.

The second set saw Hurricane begin with a 3-0 lead and as much as 8-3 prior to the Big Reds bouncing back with 6-1 run with Hannah Adkins and Grace West getting the last two points to earn PHS an 8-8 tie.

Then three spikes in a row – two by Adkins, then one by Kiger – pushed the Big Reds on top 12-10, and the score was close from then on out.

After deadlocks at 21, 23, 24 and 25, Hurricane got the the last two points it needed to win, the clincher coming on a spike by Kiersten Landers.

The third set was a nail-biter at the end too. But PHS led by as much as 10-3 early before Hurricane rallied to pull within just 14-13.

After weathering the storm, the Big Reds built up their lead again, this time to as much as six twice, the last at 23-17. A 5-0 Redskin run brought the lead down to one at 23-22 on a ace by Molly Backus. Three more points to make it an 8-0 run though, with Landers contributing to all three, and Hurricane had overtaken PHS to win, 25-23.

“Hurricane is a really hard team to handle, so I knew coming that we would have to be 100 percent perfect to make it out (of the regional) because they’re extremely tough and deserve to be at state, but so do we,” said PHS head coach Erin Thorpe.

“So we worked really hard on prefecting ourselves this week, and I think our girls gave us every best shot they had.

“It hurts to lose, but I am so proud of them for stepping up with not having our normal lineup today. I’m one-thousand percent happy and proud of our girls for what they did out there today.”

In the other regional semi Saturday, Spring Valley also dispatched Ripley in three sets, 25-8, 25-17, 25-16, before besting Hurricane in the regional finals by scores of 25-13, 25-17, 25-18.