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Big Reds bop Patriots

Parkersburg takes down crosstown rival in three sets

Parkersburg High’s Caelynn Wise (15), Rylee Wise (20) and Olivia Perkins (1) celebrate following a point during the Big Reds’ 3-set victory over rival Parkersburg South Monday night at PHS Memorial Fieldhouse. (Photo by Josh Hughes)

PARKERSBURG –The crosstown showdown on the gridiron is taking place on Friday, but before that, rival volleyball players Parkersburg and Parkersburg South settled things on Tuesday from the hardwood of PHS’s Memorial Fieldhouse. PHS used a sharp service attack and key play up front to sweep South, 25-13, 25-16, 25-9.

The Big Reds came out white hot behind key efforts from head coach Erin Thorpe’s heavy lifters. Kisten Roberts made her presence known with 17 kills, and she talked about that effort, following the straight-set victory.

“I saw a lot of energy that’s coming from our libero (Olivia Perkins) and our other main players,” she said. “It’s exciting to get back out there at get at it. It’s my senior year, so I’m excited. It’s taken a lot of practice and a lot of time. I was out for two weeks for quarantine, and just coming back and having a good relationship with my setter, it helps a lot. The adjustment back has been slow, but it’s getting better.”

Speaking of Roberts’ setter, Rylee Wise was at the ready when teammates needed assists.

She racked up a staggering 38 of them in a trio of sets. The communication from Big Red players set the tone early and often. After PHS jumped out to a 5-0 advantage in the first, it never looked back. Another integral part of the win was Caelyn Wise, who tallied ten aces in the triumph. Wise recorded six of those in the deciding frame, as that stretch of aces came in the middle of an 11-0 run. That created more than enough distance to get the job done, and that aggression on the serve is exactly what coach Thorpe wanted to see.

“We worked on our serving,” Thorpe said after PHS recorded 18 aces on the night. “We wanted to be more aggressive with our serve, and we did just that. The girls had been struggling with our energy, with our level of play, and they brought it all night. I’m really excited about that, and we’re getting better with it. I’m proud of them. Kisten had 17 kills, which is crazy. She was dominant in the front row, and she’s also our best passer. She’s a key player, and the girls rely on her. She’s a great athlete and a great kid. We blocked better tonight, as well. With our middles, the timing was better. Kisten is our only senior, and when most of the people on the court are sophomores, it’s really impressive that we can do what we do.”

The win puts PHS above .500 at 5-4, while South falls to 4-7 on the young season. Top scorers for the Patriots attempted to keep the team afloat, as Maia Johnson’s six kills helped the cause. She also had a team high in points, with four. As for who else kept the ball alive, Lora Litman’s 23 sets and five assists came in handy. Joining her with a bunch of sets was Reagan Parsons, with 16. Logan Bowman also was active with eight digs. The setback for head coach Becky Bennett’s girls is one she hopes they will take in stride. For the PSHS girls, Bennett says they need to just focus on themselves in order to improve.

“We’ve got a very young varsity team.I’ve got three sophomores out there, and I replaced half of my varsity, so it’s still a learning game,” she said. “For us, we have to quit worrying about what our opponents are doing, and worry and concentrate on what we do. My front line was working their butts off, but we’ve still got some things we need to work on. We’ve got to be more aggressive, in the end. That’s what it comes down to. I want to see fight. We’ve got four more matches this week, and we’ve got seven matches next week. If we fight, we put ourselves in the game. If we jut roll over, then we’re not going to be in the games.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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