Parkersburg netter Shay-Lee Kirby honored on Class AAA All-State first team
Named to the Class AAA?All-State first-team list
CHARLESTON – It takes more than two players to make a standout high school volleyball team. Musselman coach Shawn Martz has a duo whose complementary skills and personalities helped propel his team to yet another state championship.
The Applemen were one of three Class AAA teams to place a pair of players on the All-State first team. Musselman put senior Lexi Fritts and sophomore Jaden Gray on the team, while state runner-up George Washington placed first-team captain, junior Tessa Wyner, and senior Malika Houston. Woodrow Wilson also placed a pair — senior Makenzi Coulter and sophomore Bryce Knapp.
In Fritts, a repeat first-team pick, and Gray, a second-team pick last season, Martz said the team enjoyed a great combination of youth and experience, passion and steadiness. With that, Musselman won its fifth state title.
“Lexi, she was always the kid you trust in the big moments,” he said. “She’s very steady in just about every skill aspect. It’s almost like fire and ice. Jaden brings the fire to our team. She’s really vocal. She brings the eye-popping, dynamic offensive plays. Lexi is just solid in every phase of the game. She’s got ice in her veins when the big moments occur.”
Fritts finished her season with 334 kills, 447 digs, 90 aces, 16 total blocks and was a 94-percent server. Gray finished with 450 kills, 120 digs and 27 total blocks.
Wyner, another repeat first-team choice, finished her season with 483 kills, 65 aces, 37 total blocks (22 solo) and 274 digs. Houston concluded her Patriots career with a senior season that included 440 kills, 123 total blocks (70 solo) and 29 aces.
GW coach Missy Smith said her duo’s work ethic was as important, if not more important, than their talent.
“The thing about both of them is that they’re very hard workers,” Smith said. “And before they ask any of their teammates to raise their game, they both step their games up to help us win. They don’t just talk. They lead by example.”
For Woodrow Wilson, Knapp finished the season with 157 Kills, 361 digs, 68 aces and 41 solo blocks. Coulter ended her season with 399 kills, 228 digs, 29 total blocks and 43 aces. Woodrow Wilson reached the state semifinals, losing there to eventual champion Musselman.
Rounding out the first team were Spring Valley senior Kara Cole, Parkersburg sophomore Shay-Lee Kirby, Greenbrier East sophomore Abbey Anderson and Cabell Midland senior Callie Bellomy.
Cole finshed with 742 assists, 16 aces and was a 98.7 percent server in helping the Timberwolves reach the state quarterfinals. Kirby finished with 384 kills, 32 aces and 113 total blocks (31 solo), and the Big Reds also enjoyed a state quarterfinal berth.
Anderson ended with 457 digs, 72 aces, 40 assists and 692 serve-receptions, while serving at 90.6 percent. Bellomy’s dig percentage stayed consistently in the 60-to-70-percent range for her career, and in her last two years, she recorded more than 700 kills and 60 blocks.
Hurricane junior Brianna Washburn was named captain of the second team. Joining her were Buckhannon-Upshur senior MaKayla Reynolds, a repeat second-team pick, Princeton junior Hannah Southcott, John Marshall junior Maddie Mayle, Capital senior Alex Gray, Hedgesville junior Nikki Johnson, Hampshire senior Kirston Sowers, Morgantown senior Andrea Idler, Parkersburg senior Callie Shaver and Spring Valley freshman Alex Darby.