Ritchie beats Williamstown in LKC Night of Champs

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ELLENBORO — In what was a hard-fought, two-plus hour long Little Kanawha Conference championship match here Saturday night, host Ritchie County managed to survive Williamstown in a five-set thriller — 17-25, 25-19, 25-20, 16-25 and 17-15.

Rebekah Rupert and Olivia Cress double-doubled for the Rebels of head man Matt Carpenter, who received a match-high 54 assists from Abby Nichols. Rupert put down a match-high 30 kills and joined Cress, who had 15 downed spikes, with a match-high 11 blocks apiece.

“Maybe we were a little bit lucky we were on home court,” admitted Carpenter, who also got 10 kills from Emily Griffin along with five kills, four aces and four blocks from Jayci Gray. “We had a good crowd. Of course, they had a great crowd, too. Williamstown is just really tough. They pick up everything and they have great athletes and great volleyball players.

“Like I told my girls, they need to enjoy this because when you’re playing in the toughest single-A conference probably in the state it’s not every often you get an LKC championship with the teams that we play against. It’s something to be respected. Kudos to them. We were fortunate and happy to come away with the win and our girls battled through some mistakes and they played well.”

Lakyn Joy had a match-high five aces to go along with 34 assists and six digs for the Yellowjackets, who also received a match-high 37 digs from libero Jillian Modesitt, and had double figure kill totals thanks to Payton Woodard (15), Riah Sprouse (13) and Becca Shamblin (11). Aubrey Erwin and Claire Strobl combined for a baker’s dozen kills in the setback.

The winner-take-all fifth set featured ties at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and then again at 13-all when Rupert was double blocked by Strobl and Erwin with Kamryn Haynes (two aces, 15 digs) toeing the service line. However, Rupert followed with a kill to get to match point, but the Rebels couldn’t finish due to a setting error.

Following an attack error, which gave Kyndra Johnson a point and make it 15-14, Gray put one to the floor to even it for the final time.

Sydney Kopshina was credited with the final two service points, which included on match point when the ‘Jackets were unable to return the ball. However, the controversy came when it was still 15-all. Griffin spiked a ball which went off the net and proceeded to go out of play and WHS thought they were a point away from the LKC crown. That didn’t turn out to be the case as the Yellowjackets were called for a tip on the attack.

“I’m not saying we would’ve won,” admitted perplexed ‘Jacket head coach Rachelle Cole following the marathon. “I don’t really know what to say. I think Ritchie played a decent game. I think we played a decent game. It (Griffin’s attack) rolled off the tape and then rolled out of bounds. They said that Lakyn, our setter, touched the ball and she wasn’t even over far enough to touch the ball, and she didn’t even go up. I just know that the ball landed out of bounds and we did not touch it. That was, I feel, the third ball that was not being watched by the proper people on the line because there were some other questionable calls.

“I’ve never had to talk to officials more than I did tonight and this is my 13th year. You call us on a double hit, which I personally don’t think was, and the very next ball the same exact thing happens and it’s not called on the same person. It was very inconsistent, but again we also made our own mistakes. We played pretty well for the most part. Anytime there was a controversial call it didn’t go our way. It was a good match. It was exciting. It’s just unfortunate with how things ended.”

Gilmer County swept Roane County to finish third place in the LKC.

The Raiders lost their semifinal to Ritchie County by scores of 25-8, 25-9 and 25-13. WHS bested the Titans in the other semi by scores of 25-15, 25-20 and 25-8.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com


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