PHS volleyball hopes to reach state tournament
PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg reached the Class AAA, Region IV semifinals in 2017 before getting ousted by Hurricane, one step away from the state volleyball tournament.
The Big Reds of head coach Erin Thorpe plan to move on from last fall’s tough 25-21, 27-25 and 25-23 setback to the Redskins with the focus being on getting better each day and reaching Charleston.
PHS boasts four seniors — co-captains Hannah Adkins and Hannah Hewitt, second-team all-state pick Shay-Lee Kirby as well as Grace West.
“We’re battling injuries and things like that, but we’ll make it through,” admitted Thorpe, whose squad opens the season Saturday morning at Woodrow Wilson’s Invitational.
“We’re definitely offensively stronger this year. We’re going to be pretty good and pretty big in the front row, but we’re still young.”
The libero Adkins has been sidelined with a broken thumb she suffered after going for a dig and the coach plugged in Hewitt.
While open to anything this early in the season, the coach added Maggie Sauers also has been working as a libero.
The red and white are undecided upon a 5-1 or 6-2 offense.
“It’s kind of up in the air,” said the coach. “Shelby Roberts has been running setter with Maggie Sauers. We’ve actually had three setters who all kind of have their hands on the ball at some point, so we can run some different offenses.”
Kirby is on the outside and West will play in the middle. Roberts also will help out in the spiking department.
Players like Janna Yost and Khylan Plants are being counted on to produce in the back row this year.
Big Red fans also can expect to see Mary Strobl getting time at middle hitter as well as Anna Umpleby on the right-side or outside.
Brooklyn Hoover and Emily Cancade are acting junior varsity captains. Both will be expected to contribute as defensive specialists.
“If I have any issues I talk to all four of my captains at the same time,” Thorpe said.
The coach added of Adkins and Hewitt, who is a DS and outside hitter, “we wanted to do something different this year with the captains and we felt like those two deserved it with their work ethic and how they handle themselves inside and outside of volleyball.”
Plenty of young talent also could contribute throughout the season — MaKinzie Hewitt (OH/DS), Janna Spencer (OH/RS), Zoe Valvo (setter), Marleigh Davis (DS), Kristen Lowers (MH/OH/setter), Kisten Roberts (hitter), Emma Schumacher (MH/RS), Amayah Elkins (MH/RS), Ella Wix (RS/OH), Olivia Hendricks (DS) and Beyonce Pierce, who the coach noted like a lot of her teammates “are very versatile and can go anywhere and everywhere.”
One thing which the coach has liked in the early going at camp and in scrimmages is the team’s attitude.
“This is the best group I’ve had,” Thorpe said. “They work hard and well together and every single person on that floor wants it so bad. There is not anybody that is not going to give me 100 percent effort all the time.
“We’ve got a lot of inexperience and we’re bringing up a lot of younger players. They just got to get what I call volleyball knowledge, know the right thing to do at the right time. That’s lacking, but that comes with playing.”
Head coach: Erin Thorpe
Assistant coaches: Beth Moore, Cindy Hoover, Brittany Vass, Kayla Piggott, Kerri Lauer
Grace West, Hannah Adkins*, Hannah Hewitt*, Shay-Lee Kirby
Shelby Roberts, Janna Yost, Janna Spencer, Zoe Valvo, Marleigh Davis
Brooklyn Hoover*, Emily Cancade*, Anna Umpleby, Maggie Sauers, MaKinzie Hewitt, Mary Strobl, Khylan Plants
Beyonce Pierce, Kristen Lowers, Kisten Roberts, Emma Schumacher, Amayah Elkins, Ella Wix, Olivia Hendricks
Sept. 1: at Woodrow Wilson Invite
Sept. 5: at George Washington
Sept. 8: Snowball Invitational
Sept. 11: Ripley/Parkersburg South
Sept. 15: at Cabell Midland Invite
Sept. 20: at Philip Barbour w/Independence
Sept. 22: at Greenbrier East Invite
Sept. 29: at George Washington Invite
Oct. 3: G. Washington/St. Albans
Oct. 6: at Parkersburg South Fall Brawl
Oct. 16: Hurricane/Philip Barbour
Oct. 20: at Huntington Invite
Oct. 23: Winfield/Cabell Midland
Oct. 27: MSAC at St. Albans