South also advances to regional semifinal

Photo by Josh Hughes Parkersburg’s Clelia Molinari Tosatti goes up for a spike in Wednesday’s Class AAA, Region IV Section 1 volleyball championship match against Parkersburg South. The Big Reds won in straight sets.

PARKERSBURG — A couple nights before the two schools battle on the gridiron, Parkersburg and Parkersburg South faced off in the Class AAA, Region IV Section 1 volleyball championship on Wednesday inside Memorial Fieldhouse.

Both teams punched their respective tickets to Saturday’s regional championship. While the Big Reds defeated the Patriots 25-20, 25-14, 25-12, they had already qualfied for Saturday’s event. The Patriots had their hands full with a Ripley squad gunning to make it to the weekend. In a five-game clash, the Patriots and Vikings went back and forth with every volley. PSHS prevailed 29-27, 22-25, 24-26, 25-15, 15-13 on its way to facing the Big Reds. The loss for RHS ended its season, as head coach Brenda Moore talked about how her girls didn’t give up in the waning moments of the match. With the fifth set locked at 13, the Vikings had to score three straight to even be in striking distance of a win. It took a timely kill by Catreena Shears and a long shot out of bounds from Ripley’s Ella Casto to finish it off.

“I just have such a great group of players,” Moore said of her (23-13-3) Vikings. “They’re a bunch of battlers, and they had to dig out of holes during the night. They don’t give up, and I’m so proud of them.”

The must-win match evoked emotion from the South bench, as they move on to play Spring Valley at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Parkersburg High’s Jack Stephens Gym. The Big Red win against South gives them the opportunity to square off against Cabell Midland at the same time at the main court in the Fieldhouse. The match between PHS and South itself was one played for pride and a championship, and a strong match upfront for the Big Reds ended any hope of the Patriots reeling off another marathon victory.

Clelia Molinari Tosatti had 14 kills in the win, as she towered over South’s defenders and stuffed the ball back toward them with a high rate of success. On the match, she was set up for 25 kill attempts. Another standout performance was from Maggie Sauers. She dished out a baker’s dozen assists to get the job done. All in all, both the Big Reds and Patriots are moving on after a tense night of action, and PHS (33-10-7) head coach Erin Thorpe is now gearing her team up for Saturday’s regional semifinal match against Cabell Midland. The Big Reds have had a string of recent success against the Knights, and Thorpe is using this Section 1 title win to prepare them.

“We started off a little slow, so we’ve still got work to do, but we definitely picked it up” she said. “I’m really proud of them, and it’s really exciting. We just get better as we keep playing. South and PHS is a rivalry, so they’re always going to play as hard as they can. We don’t quit. We push as hard as we can throughout the whole game.”

South’s (18-14-4) regional semifinal match against Spring Valley comes after a long night against Ripley and Parkersburg, as they were just fatigued by the end of the night in the strong effort.

“Tiredness was a factor,” South head coach Becky Bennett said. “We never should have gone five sets with Ripley That’s on us to get things cleared up for Saturday. The big thing is that we qualified for Saturday, and we’ve got the chance to play.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com