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Parkersburg Catholic tops Wirt for regional title

Parkersburg Catholic’s Jenna Boice (5) and Aaliyah Brunny (2) attempt to double block Buffalo’s Janessa Harris during Saturday’s Class A, Region IV semifinal at Ravenswood. PCHS defeated the Bison in four sets and knocked off Wirt County in four sets to win the regional title. Photo by Jay W. Bennett

RAVENSWOOD — Aaliyah Brunny’s 21st and final kill sealed match point here Saturday afternoon in the Class A, Region IV tournament as Little Kanawha Conference champ Parkersburg Catholic topped Wirt County 25-23, 25-20, 24-26 and 25-22.

Brunny was supported at the net by a baker’s dozen downed spikes from Lainie Ross as well as six kills from Madison Ross and five by Paige Stotts.

“The first couple times we played I think we were just scared,” Brunny said of the Tigers, who advanced to the state tournament by virtue of a 25-14, 25-16 and 25-12 semifinal triumph versus Sherman. “Since we’ve played them so many times I think it’s gotten better.

“We’ve learned where the spots are open and we’ve been working on it in practice. Especially from last year how we got knocked out (in the state semifinals), I think we will come back stronger. It will be good.”

PCHS head coach Amanda Weatherwax’s club punched its ticket to state via a Leslie Huffman kill on match point against Buffalo, which was ousted 25-20, 25-12, 25-27 and 25-10.

Photo by Jay W. Bennett The Parkersburg Catholic volleyball team celebrates with the Class A, Region IV championship plaque Saturday afternoon in Ravenswood after defeating rival Wirt County in the title match.

“Yes, we came in here and we expected to win,” said senior libero Gracie Lowers, who had 15 digs and a pair of aces in the final. “We knew that we had to play our hardest because Wirt is a tough team. We didn’t know anything about Buffalo. We hadn’t seen them.

“We would love to win states. Our second time going, my second time going, it’s like one of the best feelings. You can’t explain it. I hope we can win states this year. That’d be awesome.”

Kylie Stephens (15 kills, six aces, five blocks, six digs), Emma Wyer (16 kills, four aces, seven blocks) and Sam Burns (six kills, four blocks) did the majority of the damage at the net for first-year Tiger head coach Miriam Beall.

The Tigers (34-5-4) had the opening set even at 15 following a Burns kill from one of Adeline Sims’ 31 assists. However, Brunny followed with a kill to put PCHS ahead for good.

Wirt County fell behind 11-3 in set two as Stotts served for eight straight points, including a pair of aces. PCHS had the Tigers doubled up at 18-9 after Jenna Boice got one of her match-high 37 assists thanks to a Grace Wojcik kill. Maddy Richards had two of her three aces late in the second set to make it 24-20, but Brunny finished it off with a smash.

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Wirt County’s Maggie Bailey makes a pass to the front row while teammate Maddy Richards looks on during Saturday’s Class A, Region IV tournament in Ravenswood.

A trio of aces by Stephens helped the Tigers to an early 7-3 cushion in set three, but the orange and black proceeded to have a trio of service errors and trailed 14-12 following a Boice ace. Once again, an ace by Stephens eventually put the Tigers back ahead at 19-18 and the Tigers forced a fourth set thanks to a kill by Stephens.

Consecutive aces by Wyer gave Wirt County a quick 2-0 lead and the Tigers still led 8-7 after back-to-back aces by Stephens. Lowers later closed it to 15-14 via an ace and the gang from Fairview Avenue took the lead for good at 23-22 on a Tiger attack error. Fittingly, two kills from Brunny sealed the regional crown.

“We’re hoping so,” Weatherwax said of going all the way, something the program hasn’t done since winning the 1995 Class AA/A crown against Shady Spring. “There are certain teams we have to adjust our blockers and our defense to and Wirt is one of them.

“They are very powerful at the net and our goal is to adjust the block so we can get more touches and set it up better for our defense.”

Grace Pedersen contributed two aces and seven digs for the victors, who also got four service tallies and a trio of digs from Ari Nedeff.

Maggie Bailey finished with a match-high 19 digs in the setback. Tiger libero Jordan Hickman chipped in seven points and five digs.

Contact Jay W. Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com.

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