Parkersburg Catholic netters declaw Wirt County

Crusaderettes take three of four from Class A champs

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg Catholic’s Lainie Ross tries to push the ball past the double block of Wirt County’s Kylie Stephens (17) and Emma Wyer (11) during the Crusaderettes’ four-set triumph on Tuesday night.

PARKERSBURG — Despite getting match-highs of 22 kills from Kylie Stephens and 35 assists from Adeline Sims, it wasn’t quite enough for visiting Wirt County here Tuesday as Parkersburg Catholic swept the regular-season series from the Class A defending state champions 25-19, 25-18, 15-25 and 25-23.

The youthful Tigers (25-13), who play in a quad Thursday night at Charleston Catholic, fell in five sets to the Crusaderettes last month in Elizabeth.

Head coach Amanda Weatherwax’s club will carry a 12-8 mark into Saturday’s Little Kanawha Conference Night of Champions at Tyler Consolidated. PCHS already had the No. 2 seed in the West Division wrapped up and will compete in the conference semifinals.

“It seemed like a battle tonight,” admitted Weatherwax, whose club used a 6-2 spurt in the fourth set to push ahead 17-12. “We played pretty consistent, but we just struggled some and facing them, they are a good team and always have a good six girls out there.

“We just had to learn to play through it and push harder whenever it mattered.”

Beth Lowther’s downed spike from one of Jenna Boice’s two-dozen assists had the hosts up 12-10 in set four. Madison Ross followed with a kill and it was still 14-12 PCHS when Paige Stotts put one to the floor. Lainie Ross, who had a match-high seven blocks, registered one of her team-high 14 kills to make it 16-12 with teammate Ari Nedeff toeing the service line. The Tigers of veteran head coach Janet Frazier then trailed 17-12 when Lainie Ross blocked Madison Richards.

An ace by Stephens was later followed by a Sam Burns kill after a bad PCHS pass, which closed the deficit to 18-15. Despite an ace by Maggie Bailey, the Tigers still trailed by three, 20-17.

With Alexis Petrovsky serving, the Tigers tallied four straight points thanks to a trio of kills by Stephens and one from Emma Wyer, who finished with 10 kills. Now down 23-22, Weatherwax called a timeout and her team responded.

A block by Aaliyah Brunny, who had eight kills, against Stephens tied the match and then Lainie Ross got a kill thanks to an errant orange and black pass to set up match point, which Gracie Lowers got via an ace. Lowers had a match-high 17 digs, and joined Lainie Ross with a quartet of aces.

“We have a very tough conference,” added Weatherwax, who received two aces from Grace Pedersen, while Tigers teammates Richards and Morgan Wagner also had two aces apiece.

“We’re going to need to keep pushing hard, if not harder when we get there (LKC). It’s not going to be easy. We’re just trying to get better every day.”