Wirt County beats Williamstown in sectional final
PARKERSBURG — Little Kanawha Conference champion Wirt County upped its mark to 43-3-3 here Thursday night at Parkersburg Catholic as the Tigers handed rival Williamstown a 25-8, 25-14 and 25-21 setback in the Class A, Region IV, Section 1 title match.
The Yellowjackets (22-20-4) of head coach Rachelle Cole knocked off Ravenswood in the loser’s bracket final — 25-21, 25-12 and 25-14 — to also punch their ticket to Saturday’s regional in Elizabeth.
Haley Moore registered 10 of her match-high 21 downed spikes in the opening set as the Tigers roared to an 18-6 cushion before an Emma Wyer kill was followed by a Taylor Anderson ace and then a Yellowjacket service error to end the first set.
Early service tallies by Emily Cottrell and Mahala Greenleaf, which included an ace, helped the orange and black to a quick 7-2 advantage in set two.
A downed spike by Skyler Chancellor and a mash by ‘Jacket teammate Kayla Bauman closed the deficit to 12-7, but WHS couldn’t get any closer as a Wyer kill closed set point.
Tiger Kylie Stephens, who was dealing with an illness, got a kill to open the scoring in set three. Following consecutive kills by Bethany Arnold and Chancellor as well as an ace by libero Skylar Watson (match-high 18 digs), the ‘Jackets went ahead 3-1.
Wirt County’s Katie Frazier, who finished with match-highs of 35 assists and five aces while also chipping in four kills, then served up consecutive aces and it was 5-4 Tigers after Loden Campbell put one to the floor. Despite the Tigers pushing ahead 13-9, Williamstown fought back and evened things at 15-all with the help of kills by Chancellor and Faith Hoosier.
The Tigers, though, took the lead for good when Campbell got a kill for the next point and Wyer followed with a block to give Adeline Sims a service tally. Moore finished things off with a kill for match point.
“Yeah,” said Tiger head coach Janet Frazier of Moore having a great evening at the net. “But, then we still moved the ball around and Loden and Emma really stepped up and Taylor.
“They all did and they just didn’t make mistakes, but the passing was so much better and that just makes a difference.”
Wirt County will take on Huntington St. Joe at 2 p.m. Saturday in the regional semifinal opener while Williamstown then will face off against Tolsia.
“We’ve played really well all week and we had a real tough match against Wirt on Tuesday (a five-set loss), up and down,” stated Cole, who got a dozen assists from Tori Tadlock while Arnold and Chancellor combined for 12 kills.
“They were nervous coming in and excited and I think once we got past Ravenswood we just had this huge adrenaline rush and then it just left. I just think we crashed pretty hard after that and they couldn’t really regain focus until that third set.”
Ravenswood, which closed its season at 32-14 and owns 1-0 records versus both Tolsia and HSJ, got off to a hot start in the first set behind Skylar Mace, who finished with 10 kills and six blocks. RHS jumped out to an 8-2 lead, but the ‘Jackets pushed ahead 19-16 after back-to-back Gracie Graham aces. Ravenswood took its last lead at 21-20 thanks to an ace by Rylin Tabor, but Bauman’s kill closed things out.
Arnold, who had a match-high 11 kills, put one down to start set two as the ‘Jackets raced out 8-0 and never looked back.
The Red Devils, who also received eight kills from Katie Mellinger and three from Hannah Heatherington, led early in set three at 6-2, but WHS was too much.