It was a great day to be a Silver Knight on Saturday, especially a Silver Knight volleyball fan as Tyler Consolidated traveled to Steubenville to take part in the OVAC Volleyball Championships and came home with the first place trophy.
The tournament, held at Steubenville High School, began with a rematch from last year's tournament finals as the Ladies in Black took the court against the Monroe Central Seminoles, though this year's match was a semifinal one.
The class AAA competition promised to be the toughest competition of the day and did not disappoint. The Lady Knights, ranked number two in the conference, and the Seminoles, ranked number three, engaged in an intense battle that lasted for two hours.
In game one, the Knights fell behind 5-0 but battled back only to fall short in the end with the loss, 25-20. Tyler Consolidated quickly regained composure and showed why they brought a 31-2 record into tournament play.
Game two saw several lead changes, but the Knights evened the score and forced the third and final set with a 25-23 win in game two.
Game three was played in front of a large and rowdy crowd, with players making numerous plays to score points for each team. At one point, the Silver and Black looked ready to eliminate the Seminoles with a 24-22 lead advantage but Monroe Central fought back to knot the score at 24 apiece. After a long volley, Monroe Central moved ahead at 25-24 with a chance to turn the tables on the Silver. But, after several points were exchanged, Consolidated received side out and then began celebrating what they thought was a victory, but the whistle from the official indicated the team had been called for being in the net.
Not to be denied, the Lady Knights continued to fight and finally secured the 28-26 win. "I haven't heard a gym that loud since I played against Paden City in high school," said head coach of the team, Richard Summers. "It was deafening. The girls were warned this is what the atmosphere would be like and I think they were ready."
Scoring points for the Silver in the game were Allison Wable with eight points, one ace, 26 kills, 13 bocks and four digs; Megan Carpenter, eight points, 10 kills, six blocks, 11 digs; Sydney Reed, eight points, one ace, three kills; two blocks; Torrye Cline, four points, 44 assists, and six digs; Kerstyn Cline scored three and had 10 digs; Bridget Matthews, seven kills, one block; and Hannah Casteel, two digs.
The championship match was against a very talented and number one ranked Shenandoah team. The Lady Knights carried the momentum into this match and took game one, 25-22. In game two, Shenandoah lived up to their reputation and rode the solid hitting from their front line to a 25-19 victory.
In game three, with everything on the line, the Knights found themselves in another hotly contested match with many lead changes. After a series of long volleys with each team making great defensive stops, the Consolidated ladies were finally able to celebrate the school's first OVAC volleyball championship, winning 27-25.
In the championship game, senior Shay Yonaley led the team in serving points with nine. She also had four aces and 22 digs. Carpenter scored seven points, had nine kills, six blocks; Wable scored five, one ace, 15 kills, three blocks and five digs; Reed, five points, seven kills, three digs; Torrye Cline, five points, 26 assists,six digs; Kerstyn Cline, four points, one ace, 11 digs; Haylea Lemasters, one kill, two digs; Matthews, three kills, two blocks; and Sydney Yoho, one kill.
"I couldn't be happier for these girls," Summers said. "It is extremely difficult to even qualify for this tournament and then once you get here the competition is tremendous. You have to be a little lucky and play very well."
The OVAC Championship capped a busy week for the Silver and Black as they had wins over John Marshall, Williamstown, Doddridge, Morgantown, Brooke, and Parkersburg South to finish 8-0.
Against South, the Knights were down 25-15 and came back to win 26-24.
"In 14 years of coaching volleyball, I have never seen that happen," said Summers. "And for a freshman (Ariel Fish) to serve those 11 points is just mind boggling." The Knights played at Paden City on Tuesday and then play in the LKC Championship on Saturday at Doddridge County High School.
They will face the number two team in the LKC South, Gilmer County, with the match beginning at 4 p.m.