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Blue Eagles Best Knights in Sectional

November 7, 2018
BY ED PARSONS - STAFF WRITER (EPARSONS@TYLERSTARNEWS.COM) , Tyler Star News

The Blue Eagles and Silver Knights Volleyball teams squared off once again on Wednesday night for the Class A Region I Section I Title game. Fresh off a four-set win over Magnolia the night before, the Silver Knights fell in the first set of the double elimination championship round in a back and forth overtime set, 34-32. However, the Knights came back and won sets two and three, 25-22 and 25-18. Magnolia, however, came alive in set four to pick up a big 25-13 set win and then got the match win with a 15-13 victory. All five sets were combinations of strong hitting and excellent volleying. It became a match of will with the Blue Eagles barely edging out the Knights.

In the first set, that went to 34-32, both teams had some extraordinary play, and it seemed like you might be watching the two best teams in the state. It was certainly the case for Class A, on this particular night, as the set lasted nearly an hour, and the whole match ended in about two hours and fifteen minutes. Both sides had lots of fans cheering on their teams on a night when the price of admission would have been a bargain if it was doubled.

Though they looked down and out after three matches, the Blue Eagles came up huge in set four to force set five. The last set was nip and tug with Magnolia pulling out the victory by two points at the end. The Tyler girls finished the match with 55 kills, while Magnolia topped it with 60 - 27 from Mady Winters and 31 from Kyndra Pilant. Emily Lancaster led the Knights with 18 slam downs, while providing a match-high seven blocks. She also added four digs to her night's work.

Josey Jones was close behind in the kill department with 17 hit downs, and she got 22 digs, five blocks, and seven points. JoLee Walton was determined to keep the Silver Knights alive as the state's leading setter came through with another big 45 sets, while adding 11 points, 13 digs, two blocks and an ace.

Alexa Johnson, the Knights' big hitter, downed 12 kills. despite being doubled most of the night. She added six blocks and three digs. Regan Smith offered seven kills, five blocks, six points and two digs. Victoria Hood continued to play defense with nine blocks against some power hits, while adding one dig and one kill. Cora Grimm also had a good game from the back row as she hit the floor for 16 digs and added five points. Senior libero Peyton Kocher stepped up big as well with 15 digs while tying Walton for scoring honors with 11 points, and an ace. Madison DeVaughn got eight points and six digs, and Allie Miller added five digs. Sadie Nichols got two digs.

Magnolia got 60 assists from Lenieca Grimm, along with nine points, 11 digs and an ace. Kayna Anderson added 48 digs, eight points, and a dig.

The loss in the first match set up a donneybrook to follow. Just when the spectators thought it couldn't get any better, it did. Though Magnolia used a nice comeback to win the first match, it was now all on the line for the sectional championship in match two. The first one to win three of five takes the title.

Magnolia started out strong in the first set to claim a 25-22 win, in what was a point-for-point set, with no one having more than a three point lead. The Silver Knights got back on track with a hard-fought 25-22 win in set two, and then claimed a 25-18 win in the third set. The Knights looked, once again, to be in control. Set four provided a huge comeback win for Magnolia to set the tone for a thriller in the fifth set. In set four the Knights jumped out to an early lead, and increased the lead to 9-2. Magnolia put on a little run, but the Knights kept scoring and had a 19-10 lead when the Blue Eagles started the major run.

Down by nine, Magnolia got a point on a service fault to make it 19-10; they then added a point on a Winters kill to draw closer at 19-11. However ,Tyler scored to make it 20-11 before the Blue Eagles went on a run to make it 20-15. The Knights got another point on a service error for a 21-15 lead, then the Blue Eagles rattled off six straight to tie the score.

The teams then traded points to draw even again at 22. Magnolia then ran off three straight for the win, which again took it to the fifth set.

The deciding set, which goes to 15 - win by two, was a point-for-point type match with neither team leading by more than two throughout. The Silver Knights started out 2-0, but Magnolia soon caught up, and it was back and forth with some very nice volleys and some hard hits and serves. Tied at 13, Tyler got a point, but the Blue Eagles responded with the next three to win the match and Sectional title.

Tyler Tops Magnolia In Semi-Final

It took four sets, but the Silver Knights got a big match win over number one seed Magnolia on Tuesday, Oct. 30. The win sent the Knights into the championship match on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at Tyler Consolidated. Magnolia knocked Ritchie County out of the sectionals, following the loss to the Silver Knights, setting up a rematch with the Silver Knights for the sectional championship. Ritchie County had earlier advanced to play the Blue Eagles by eliminating Paden City in three sets.

The Silver Knights won set one over the Blue Eagles, 25-14. They lost set two, 22-25, and then defeated the number one seed to the tune of 25-16 and 25-12. The Knights (31-10), a senior-loaded team, put on a good display of team ball and kept the Blue Eagles off balance for most of the match. Magnolia, which defeated the Knights twice during the regular season, was not able to stay with the fired-up Knights on Tuesday, setting up Wednesday's big showdown.

Leading the way for the Silver Knights in the win was Josey Jones with 15 kills, six blocks, 22 digs, and six points. Jones was again all over the court, teaming with senior mate JoLee Walton, who offered up 45 assists, five blocks, three kills, 10 digs, and 12 points with four aces. Emily Lancaster again came up big, hitting down 12 kills and guarding the net with four blocks. Stepping up with some big hits of her own was Alexa Johnson with 15 kills and a block.

Victoria Hood was also a force on defense as she returned six hits for blocks, while adding two kills. Regan Smith was on her game with nine kills, five blocks, eight points, and two aces. Peyton Kocher served up 15 points with three aces and added 10 digs. Madison DeVaughn scored nine points and nine digs. Cora Grimm was near a double double with nine points and 10 digs.

Magnolia got a huge match from Mady Winters and Kyndra Pilant. Winters had 23 kills and 25 digs, plus seven points and four blocks. Pilant ended with 16 points with an ace, 29 kills, and 29 digs. Grimm added 58 assists, 13 digs, and seven points. Kennedy Parsons added 11 points and 11 digs, and Anderson added 53 digs. Zoey Jenkins had a good match with 18 digs.

"The girls played some of the best volleyball we've played all year. We took the first match on Tuesday and came in with confidence on Wednesday. I couldn't ask much more from the girls; they played hard for four hours. Magnolia is a good ball club, but we're right up there with them, and either of these teams are capable of defeating the others. Our girls are covering the court well and attacking the net; I can't ask for anymore than that. There's a good chance we could meet up with them in the regional and the state, so we'll keep working on some things and try to prepare for whatever comes our way," Coach Richard Summers said.

"There is no doubt this was the toughest sectional in Class A in the state. To play with the likes of Paden City, Ritchie County and Magnolia, and come out in the finals, says a lot about our program. There was great fan support, and we just have to keep up the pressure the entire time. We can't let up. I am so proud of this team, they know what they have to do. We'll see what happens."

**

Silver Knights Top Ritchie County

The opening round of the Class A Region I Section I volleyball tournament was held on Monday, Oct. 29 at Tyler Consolidated High School with the number two seed Silver Knights taking on the number three seed Rebels of Ritchie County.

The visiting Rebels gave the Knights a good match, but in the end the Silver Knights proved to be too much for Ritchie by winning three of the four sets 25-22, 25-27, 25-10 and 25-18. Set one was back and forth the whole way with the Knights grabbing five of the last six points to get the win. Set two was more of the same with Tyler Consolidated holding a 23-18 lead before the Rebels stormed back to tie things at 24. Both teams exchanged points, but the Rebels got the last two to take the second set and tie the match 1-1.

The Silver Knights then grabbed a quick 8-1 lead in set three behind some nice serving and a few big kills, and were never threatened in the set as they cruised to the win. Leading the match 2-1, Coach Richard Summers' team out-played the visitors from Ritchie County to win set four and the match, setting up a big match for Tuesday against number one Magnolia, who defeated Paden City, who had earlier defeated St. Marys in three straight sets.

Leading the way for the Silver Knights was senior All-State player Josey Jones, who filled the stat books with a triple double, 22 digs, 13 kills, and 12 points. She also added three blocks and had two aces. JoLee Walton was also all over the court as she finished with 102 sets, 38 assists, nine points, nine digs, three blocks, and an ace.

Emily Lancaster continued to play great around the net as she slammed down 12 kills and defended the net well with six nice blocks. Alexa Johnson hammered down 10 kills and added three big blocks, while Victoria Hood got a game-high 10 blocks and had five kills and three digs. The Knights got a big match from sophomore Regan Smith who had 10 points, eight kills, five blocks and four digs.

Madison DeVaughn got 11 points and 15 digs, while Cora Grimm had five points and 11 digs. Peyton Kocher added 19 digs from her libero spot, while serving up two points.

 
 
 

 

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