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Crusaderettes halt Fort Frye winning streak

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg Catholic’s Aaliyah Brunny finished with a match-high 14 kills Tuesday night to help her team snap Fort Frye’s 10-match winning streak following a 25-15, 26-24 and 25-13 dual meet triumph.

PARKERSBURG — Fort Frye entered Tuesday night’s dual with a 10-match winning streak, but host Parkersburg Catholic put an end to it following a 25-15, 26-24 and 25-13 victory.

Aaliyah Brunny finished with a match-high 14 kills while teammates Lainie Ross (eight kills), Madison Ross (seven), Leslie Huffman (five) and Beth Lowther (five) provided plenty of options for setter Jenna Boice.

“I think the passing and the defense looked really well tonight and when we are on like that our hitters were able to all get out and everyone is available and when our setter spreads the ball around it’s a good time,” admitted PCHS head coach Amanda Weatherwax, who watched Boice finish with a match-high 34 assists while adding two kills and a pair of aces.

Julia Zalmanek led the hitting attack for 14-2 Fort Frye, which plays Saturday at Linsly, with 11 downed spikes and a trio of blocks. Makenna Long and Karlee Ross had five kills apiece, Bella Schilling (14) and Cara McIntosh (nine) combined for 23 assists while libero Lexie Huck had a match-high dozen digs and teammate Jayden Wallace eight.

An ace by McIntosh opened the match and she served for Fort Frye’s first four points, but Huffman later served four straight at the service line as the hosts went ahead for good at 7-6. Ross, who later returned, went down with an ankle injury when it was 18-12. Brunny registered a kill for set point.

The pivotal second set in the best-of-five match featured 10 ties and as many lead changes.

Zalmanek had a trio of kills early on and after three Ross points, which included an ace, the Cadets led 8-3. PCHS stormed back with Huffman at the service line. A double block by Lainie Ross and Lowther on Long made it 8-7. Lainie Ross then mashed one to the floor following a bad serve-receive and the Crusaderettes took their first lead when Brunny had a power shot which went off the shoulder of Long.

Long later had back-to-back downed spies for an 11-10 lead as the two teams were tied at 11, 12, 19, 21, 22, 23 and 24-all. Brunny’s kill squared it at 23. Libero Paige Stotts, who had an ace along with a team-high 11 digs, then had a service error, but Schilling returned the favor on set point. Boice then served for the final two points. The first came on a Cadet lift and a Madison Ross spike went unreturned on set point.

“I think one thing is they don’t do well when the environment is changed and tonight we played varsity first,” admitted second-year FFHS head coach Emily Tracewell, who noted she was glad they did it since sectionals and districts will be different. “Obviously, that’s not something that’s going to make them play bad, but they are a team that’s like very routine. I just think they didn’t play their best as a team like they usually do. They weren’t working together as a team.”

Following a Cadet attack error to open the third set, Boice served up consecutive aces, Lowther put one to the floor and PCHS never trailed. Madison Ross served up match point when Lainie Ross and Lowther double blocked Long.

Parkersburg Catholic, which returns to action Thursday at St. Marys, improved to 8-2. Coach Weatherwax said the biggest key for her squad going forward is to “stay focused and stay together as a team and I think we’ll be happy with our results.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com.

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