MIDDLEBOURNE – Just two nights after winning the Sectionals, the Silver Knights volleyball squad claimed the Regional title and advanced to the state championship tournament in Charleston on Friday and Saturday.
The Silver Knights and the Ritchie County Rebels had just played in the sectional finals on Thursday in New Martinsville with the Knights gaining a three set victory for the championship. Saturday was another chance for the Rebels to redeem what had been the third loss to Tyler this year. That feat was not to be, however, as the Knights showed they can win and win often. This is the fifth straight year the team has will play in the state tournament.
Claiming their 43rd win on the year, the Silver Knights kept a very good Rebels team off balance in each set to come away with the championship trophy in a three set win 25-21, 25-14 and 25-15. The first set looked like it might be a long night that could easily go five sets as the Rebels who are a great volleying team returned several hard hits and played the Silver Knights pretty much even.
However, the Knights turned it up a notch when it came crunch time and took the last two sets going away. Both teams had already secured spots in this week’s state event in Charleston, but the number one seed was on the line and Tyler Consolidated wanted it the most.
Turning in what may have been the best performance of the year, the Knights hammered down several non returnable kills and used great placement skill on their serves and tap-overs while also driving for several hard fought balls. Madison West was at her best from her Libero spot as she gathered 16 digs, scored eight points and three aces to pace the Knights while Abbie Fletcher came up huge with 13 kills, one block, three digs and five points plus three aces. Macy Long had yet another all star setting night with 34 assists on 69 sets to go along with three blocks, seven digs, 10 points and an ace. Adding to the Knights’ total was Josey Jones with four kills, five blocks, seven digs, five points and an ace. JoLee Walton added two kills, one assist, three blocks, nine digs and three points. Joralda Rice pitched in with five kills, one assist, six big blocks and three digs while Peyton Kocher added six digs, eight points and two aces. Alexa Johnson got seven nice kills and had a block and a dig. Emily Lancaster added two blocks and a kill and Cora Grimm got three digs.
“This is a special group of girls. I am so happy for them. Abbie Fletcher is turning heads around the state with her hitting and people are starting to take notice. She can’t do that, however, without good setting and Macy is as good as there is. With that being said, we are going to celebrate this win and then get back to work. We will rest some this week, but we will also work as we need to work on the things that make us better,” Coach Richard Summers said. “We will be playing on Friday possibly two matches and, if we’re successful, we will be back for the big match Saturday.”
With the big win in Saturday’s match with Ritchie County, the girls tied the school record for the most wins in a season at 43.
Let’s hope they can do three better and come home state champs on Saturday.
Step back a moment to the regional semifinals.
In the first match of the regional held Nov. 5 on the Knights’ floor, Tyler had no trouble eliminating the Blue Dons of Weirton Madonna as they rolled to three straight set wins 25-4, 25-13 and 25-16. The Blue Dons were no match for the Knights as Long and company continued to blast hard serves and kills at Madonna.
Fletcher had another big match with 18 kills, seven points, one ace and two digs. West was at her best with 14 digs, 15 points and six aces. Macy Long got 39 assists on just 51 sets to show her accuracy while she also ended with six digs and four points. Walton led the team in scoring with a match high 16 points including two aces, five digs and one assist while Jones contributed nine points, five digs, one ace, one assists and five kills. Joralda Rice added four kills and two blocks and Alexa Johnson got five kills. Kocher had fours digs, three points and one ace and Lancaster chipped in with three kills. Adding to the stat sheet was Cora Grimm with one assist and Jonaya Staley with a dig.
Subhead: Silver Knights Win Sectional Volleyball Title
Tyler Consolidated volleyball has been a favorite for local sports fans for several years now and it doesn’t look to let up anytime soon. On Thursday night, the Knights flexed their muscle by whipping up on a game Ritchie County team in the West Virginia Region One, Section Two championship match.
The Knights have powerful hitting attack and with mostly underclassmen on the squad the future looks bright. This year, however, opposing teams have had to contend with three of the state’s best seniors in All-State candidates Fletcher, Long and West. All three are very good in their roles and with them the Knights continue to roll.
Ritchie County found that out on Thursday as the Knights downed the Rebels in three straight sets to claim the title. In the first two sets the Knights dominated with wins of 25-14 and 25-17. Set three was a little more competitive but the Silver Knights were no to be denied as they broke away from a close set to gain a 25-21 victory giving Coach Summers and team a 41-14 record for the season.
“We played hard and we prevailed, hard work pays off and the girls know that,” Coach Richard Summers said. “We are playing very well but I do believe we haven’t played our best yet. Ritchie County is a really good team and they have beaten some really good teams, I’m very happy for my seniors, we have three of the states best.”
Tyler held a slim lead in set one before going on a run to up the count to 21-7 and finishing off the Rebels 25-14. Set two was much the same with the Knights holding on to the momentum to claim the win after a mini run by the Rebels.. “We have talked about this all year long, volleyball is a funny sport and you need momentum on your side, when it leaves you all of a sudden you have problems. We have to finish when we have a chance,” added Summers.
Set three was a struggle but Fletcher, Long, West and company would eventually take the set 25-22 but not before the Rebels managed to get to within 22-20. From there the Knights scored three of the next four points to seal the deal.
Leading the Knights attack was Fletcher with 19 kills, 10 digs and 13 points. Long the states leading setter ended with 79 sets and 38 assists plus eight digs and nine points. West from her Libero spot ended with a match high 16 digs and had six points. Walton turned up her game a notch with six blocks, 10 digs, and four points while another sophomore, Johnson, added nine big kills. Kocher came up big with 10 digs and 11 points and Cora Grimm added 10 digs. Jones and Rice both continue to impress with their hitting and combined for 12 kills. Jones added four digs and Rice added four huge blocks.
Matching up against a hot Magnolia team on Wednesday with a chance to advance to Thursday’s finals, the Knights quickly found themselves in trouble. The Blue Eagles came out firing on all cylinders and jumped to an 8-1 lead in the first set before the Knights came storming back to tie things at 11. From there it was back and forth until the Blue Eagles went ahead at 16 to stay and claim a 25-19 first set. Set two played out even better for the Blue Eagles as they kept the Knights at bay with some good volleys and hard kills while also blocking a lot of Tyler’s kills. They went on to go up over Tyler 2-0 with a 25-18 win and a 2-0 advantage in the best of five match.
The Silver Knights stormed back however in the third set and gained the momentum with a hard fought 25-22 win to set up set four. Tyler played with intensity in set four and kept the momentum on their side as Magnolia began to lose their edge. After exchanging points throughout most of the set the Knights got it done in the end and claimed a 25-20 win to even things up an force a fifth set to 15.
Set five started out as a nail biter for both teams as they traded points but the Silver Knights soon showed their superiority and handed the Blue Eagles a 15-10 loss to move on to Thursday’s finals It was the Knights second win this year over the Blue Eagles who were last years state tournament runner-up. It was also another big night for Tyler Consolidated as it was their 40th win of the year.
Fletcher had a fantastic match as she filled the stat book with 20 kills, five big blocks, seven digs and nine points with an ace. Jones pounded down 16 kills and recorded six blocks, 15 digs, six points and one ace for a great match of her own. Long showed her self as she had 104 sets and 42 assists, five blocks and four digs.
Rice, a junior, had a huge night at the net with 10 blocks and eight kills to help keep Tyler going in the comeback. The Knights got a big match as well from their Libero, West, who hit the floor for 21 digs and scored nine points with an ace. Steady server Walton again led the Knights in service points as her hard hitting low serve accounted for 19 points including five aces, she also came through with seven digs, three blocks, three assists and a kill. Kocher showed her worth as she served up 11 points with an ace and added 12 digs. Alexa Johnson hammered down nine kills and had a block. Lancaster added two digs and a block. All told, the Knights hitters had 54 kills to over power the Blue Eagles .
Number one seed Tyler Consolidated lived up to it’s billing on Nov. 1 as they defeated the Paden City Wildcats three straight sets in the best of five match to throw the Wildcats into the losers bracket and pit the Knights against a good Magnolia squad in the second round.
The Knights just proved to have to much fire power as they steamrolled over the Wildcats in easy 25-14, 25-11 and 25 13 fashion. The Knights senior trio of Fletcher, West and Long showed why they have won nearly 40 matches this year as they took command early and never let up. Fletcher who has been a mainstay all season knocked down 17 kills in limited playing time while also adding five digs, and four points. West came up big with 11 service points and 15 hard fought digs. Long was her usual steady self as she scored seven points and came up big with her precision setting accounting for 28 assists. Walton, a sophomore standout, had another great serving match as she dropped in 12 points and had four digs. Johnson added nine kills, Rice five kills, and Kocher seven points. Jones added eight digs and four points.
“We are playing good volleyball but we have to stay focused, there is a lot of play left and with these teams it will not be easy,” Summers said.