Big Reds sweep tri

Parkersburg netters beat South, Ripley

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg High School’s Beyonce Pierce spikes the ball past Ripley’s Ella Casto during the Big Reds’ triangular sweep Tuesday inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

PARKERSBURG — Anna Umpleby finished with 29 kills here Tuesday night inside Rod Oldham Athletic Center as Parkersburg head coach Erin Thorpe’s Big Reds swept a tri from host Parkersburg South and Ripley.

The Big Reds, who improved to 23-7-4 and are off to Ellenboro on Thursday to tangle with Ritchie County, made sure to get plenty of work in as the red and white needed three sets to win both matches.

In the finale, PSHS (11-10-2) grabbed the opening set 25-22, but the rival Big Reds rallied to take the last two — 25-9 and 25-14. Versus Ripley, where Umpleby had a baker’s dozen kills, the Vikings came up short 22-25, 25-16 and 25-21. Head coach Becky Bennett’s Patriots opened the evening with a 25-19 and 27-25 triumph against the Vikings.

South’s Catreena Shears had consecutive aces versus the Big Reds to make it 12-all in set one. Patriot teammate Cassie Fink appeared to have a stuff at the net go for a point, but the Big Reds kept the ball in play and a diving Kisten Roberts, from the back row, somehow managed to fling the ball across the net, where it dropped, for a 13-12 advantage. Although Shelby Roberts had three straight service tallies, getting a downed spike apiece from Umpleby and Kristen Lowers to later make it 16-12, South battled back and tied it at 20 after Shears went cross-court thanks to Haley Hatfield’s assist. Patriot setter Lauren Somerville had a second-hit kill to square it at 21, but PSHS took the lead for good on a Big Red service error. Somerville closed out the set from the service line with the last two points coming from a Nakia Bracy block on Beyonce Pierce and a soft tip kill by Shears.

Pierce opened set two with an ace and served the Big Reds ahead 8-0 en route to forcing a winner-all-take-all final set with sectional seeding implications on the line.

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South’s Makenna Gibson is on the attack as Ripley’s Ella Casto (5) and Kyra Winter (9) attempt to make a double block in their match Tuesday night.

Despite a quick kill by Shears, a trio of South attack errors coupled with three points from Marleigh Davis gave PHS the early lead. A kill by Alana Brigner kept South within a pair at 7-5 and the hosts squared it at nine thanks to consecutive service tallies from libero Kylee McCorkle. However, Janna Spencer put one to the floor via a Maggie Sauers assist to give PHS the lead for good at 10-9. Big Red libero Khylan Plants then served for five straight with four of those coming thanks to Patriot miscues. Davis’ ace later made it 17-11 and two kills apiece by Lowers and Umpleby helped close out the win.

The Vikings (18-10-3) of first-year head coach Brenda Moore nearly pushed PSHS to a third set and held a 23-21 lead in set two following an Ella Casto kill thanks to a Katlyn Sarver bump set. Fink, though, responded with kills of her own to tie it at 23 and 24 before Maddie Fields’ kill pushed Ripley ahead 25-24. Makenna Gibson’s kill staved off set point and Hatfield got two service points via Viking attack errors to end it. Sarver had a set-high six aces and joined Casto with seven kills. Reagan Nutter was strong at the net for coach Bennett with six blocks.

Thanks to Casto dominating at the net in set three versus the Big Reds, Ripley libero Tori Hinzman served her team from an 8-7 deficit to a 12-8 lead. After Addi Wilkinson blocked Lowers, Ripley was up 17-10 and still led 18-11 following a Sarver kill. Pierce had a pair of kills to help start the red and white comeback. By the time Plants served for five points, including an ace, Ripley called timeout with its cushion down to 18-17. Ciara McDowell’s kill was followed by one from Fields, but the 20-17 lead soon disappeared. Kisten Roberts and Spencer’s double block made it 21-21. Sauers had two more aces and Shelby Roberts finished it off on match points with a kill.

Parkersburg South will have its annual Fall Brawl tournament on Saturday.

Contact Jay W. Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com