Tyler Consolidated Volleyball Opens Strong
MIDDLEBOURNE – The Silver Knights’ volleyball team started the season with a bang on Wednesday winning three straight sets over last year’s state runner-up, the Magnolia High School Blue Eagles.
In an action packed match inside a fan filled TCHS gymnasium, the Knights’ Abbie Fletcher proved to be a deciding force as she controlled the net and slammed down 16 kills, while also scoring 10 points and charting six digs. The Knights controlled the first set leading from start to finish and coming out on top 25-15. In the second set, Magnolia got the jump and went out to a 7-2 lead before the Knights came back and eventually came out on top 25-21.
Both teams looked to be in mid-season form with several exciting volleys, but the strength along the front line proved to be to much for the Blue Eagles. The third set was nip and tug the whole way with Fletcher, Josey Jones and Joralda Rice doing most of the damage with nine kills in the set. Macy Long had a good night setting as she recorded 30 assists to go along with six digs and three points.
Madison West and JoLee Walton both had good games as West had 15 digs, five points and one ace, Walton scored eight points to go along with seven digs and four assists. Also leading the way was Jones with eight big digs, six kills , two blocks and two points. Rice contributed Eight points, six digs, six kills and one block. Emily Lancaster had two digs and one block. Cora Grimm added two digs.
The Blue Eagles were led by Kelsi Chapman with 16 kills and eight points and Taylor Estep with nine points and nine kills.
Tyler Consolidated also won the JV match in two straight sets 25-12 and 25-21. Summer Miller lead the Knights with 14 points while Kaitlyn Griffey had eigth, Allie Miller six, Emily Lancaster five, Katie Hamrick eight and Morgan Aliff six.
“Our freshman have worked incredibly hard and have shown dramatic improvement since last year,” Coach Richard Summers said. “I thought they moved well and looked like a varsity team. It is hard to get excited about a volleyball match in August, but this was a good win for us. I have never heard the gym as loud as it was on Wednesday and the student body was great.Our girls work far too hard not to be a good volleyball team. It is too early to tell if they are willing to do what it takes to be a really special team, but there is certainly reason for some optimism.We hit the ball well and played good defense. But I was a bit disappointed in our blocking, which was almost non-existent, and in our serving. Those things are common early in the year and we will work on it.”
Tyler has 16 kids on the team and 12 are in the tenth grade or younger. Summers said for the Knights to reach their potential, the seniors are going to have to play well and make everyone else around them better.
“They did that on Wednesday and we got excellent play from all the kids,” he said.
On Saturday, the Knights traveled up river to participate in the Oak Glen tournament and participate they did bringing home the runner-up award against a talent packed field. The Knights started out the day with an early morning two-hour bus trip to find themselves playing a strong Petersburg team in pool play. The Silver Knights flexed their muscle and came away with a two-set win 25-17 and 25-15. Fletcher led the Knights with 10 big kills and Walton had her serve going as she racked up 17 points in the two set match.
The Knights then moved on to play Wheeling Park winning another match in two straight sets 25-23 and 25-22. This match was nip and tug throughout but in the end the Knights displayed their power and got the win. Fletcher again racked up good kills with her hard hitting recording seven in the match. Rice and Walton led the scoring with seven and six points respectively. Long added nine assists.
Things kept getting tougher for the Knights as they then played eventuall tournament champion Oak Glen winning the first set 25-15 before dropping the next two in 25-21 and 25-23. The Knights showed they can play with the best as the scores indicate. Filling the stats for the Silver Knights was Alexis Johnson and Flecther with eight kills each while Fletcher also added two blocks and six points. Macy Long had 14 assists, Peyton Kocher added seven points and Walton had four points along with seven big digs. West had a huge match with eight points two aces and 15 huge digs. Lancaster played well at the net with three blocks. Jones added six kills, five big blocks and three digs. The Knights net play was very good in the match.
Next up in pool play was Weirton Madonna, who fell in two sets – 25-10, 25-8. Leading the charge for the Silver Knights was Fletcher with 11 points, one ace, eight kills and three digs. Walton added eight points and an ace plus one dig. Johnson had four kills while Long added 14 assists.
Moving onto tournament action, the Knights’ first opponent was a tough team in Parkersburg South, who had gone undefeated in pool play beating Brooke, Weirton and Fairmont Senior. Tyler Consolidated stayed focosed, however, and handed South their first loss of the day 25-22, 25-14 to move to the championship match against Oak Glen. Fletcher continued to show her hitting skills with 15 kills against South while Walton and Kocher each had a good scoring game with eight and nine points. Long showed why she is one of the premier setters in the state with 26 assists in the match.
The championship match proved to be what everyone was waiting for as it went back and forth through both sets, but the home team nipped the Silver Knights in the end 25-23 and 26-24. That’s as close as it gets and the Knights came away knowing they can play with the big dogs. During the match, Fletcher once again gave the opposition fits as she hammered home 15 kills in two sets to go along with two blocks, three digs and four points. Walton led the scoring with her hard serve for eight points and three aces. Kocher added six points and two aces, plus four digs. West had another big game with seven point and 15 digs.
“We have been playing hard and the play in the Oak Glen tournament is a testament to these girls work ethic,’ Summers said. “The net play is improving and we are getting solid play from several different girls. We have some big matches coming up and the scheule doesn’t get any easier so we will have to stay focused and on top of our game.”