Tyler Falls to Wirt in Semifinal
CHARLESTON – It was a bittersweet day for the Tyler Consolidated volleyball team at the Charleston Civic Center. Last Friday morning, the Silver Knights delivered a sweep of Moorefield in the Class A state quarterfinals by scores of 25-2, 25-14 and 25-14 and senior Libero Madison West broke the record for points in a single set with 25 to help her teammates reach the Class A state semifinals.
That is where the good times ended as the Silver Knight fell in four sets to Wirt County by a 28-26, 14-25, 25-11 and 26-24 count ending the season one match shy of the state championship.
It looked as if the Knights were going to capture the fourth set and send it to a fifth set with the momentum in their favor but the Tigers rallied to score the final six points of the match to earn a spot in the state championship.
“What you have is two talented teams trying for a chance at a championship and only one team can win,” Tyler coach Richard Summers said. “We played well but every time we were about to make a run, things didn’t go our way. Sometimes you get breaks and sometimes you don’t.
“We played well but again, we have three seniors and a lot of young kids. It is just a process of growing up and hopefully we will be back next year with another shot.”
The 2016 Silver Knights broke a school record for victories in a season with a 44-14 record, surpassing the old record of 43 victories.
“We broke the record for wins this season and I didn’t know if that record would ever be broken,” Summers said. “These girls exceeded what people thought they would do. Yes, we are disappointed but there are a lot of teams that would like to have been down here.”
In the opening set of the semifinal match, Wirt County was leading by a 24-22 mark, when the heart of the Silver Knights kept them alive with back-to-back points to tie the contest at 24-24. The teams swapped points a few times but in the end, Wirt County was able to deliver the dagger and secure a narrow first set victory to earn momentum.
Tyler rebounded nicely, winning the second set behind 4-point streaks by senior Abbie Fletcher, sophomore Josey Jones and senior Macy Long, with Jones providing the set’s final kill.
It was the Tigers’ turn to rebound as they dominated the third set with great serving by Taylor Anderson, who strung together four consecutive points in a 13-6 contest to extend the edge to 17-6.
The fourth set was tied at 10-10 different times throughout with neither team able to pull ahead. With the score knotted at 20-20, Tyler garnered four-straight points, three coming from JoLee Walton, putting the Knights just one point away from a fifth and final set.
However, after a five-point serving streak from Katie Frazier, Wirt reeled off the final six points of the set and the match, leaving Tyler coaches, players and fans stunned.
It was the fourth time this year that Wirt and Tyler faced off, but the first time that the Silver Knights found themselves on the wrong end of the decision.
“They are a quality program but we think that we are a quality program as well,” Summers said. “The regular season doesn’t mean a whole lot once you get into the postseason.”
Jones paced the Knights with six kills, 16 blocks, 19 digs and nine points, followed by Alexa Johnson who tallied 13 kills and four digs, while Fletcher supplied 14 kills and 10 digs.
Joralda Rice turned in 12 kills and seven blocks for Tyler, while teammate Peyton Kocher delivered five points.
West collected 22 digs and Walton produced four blocks, nine digs and 11 points for Tyler.
West led the way in the quarterfinal victory over Moorefield with 31 total points, including her 25 points in the first set alone, after Moorefield took an early 2-0 lead, West reeled off the next 25 consecutive points in an absolutely dominating performance.
“I didn’t even know it was a record,” West said. “I was just playing just to play. Its awesome that the first thing we did when we got down here is break a record.
“We have been here every year since I was a freshman. We know it is a big deal and we have to get stuff done because everyone down here is so good.”
Macy Long handed out 44 assists in the quarterfinal victory along with four digs, Fletcher delivered 25 kills, eight digs and six points, Jones finished with eight kills, seven digs and six points and Rice added 11 kills in the victory.
“This is a special group of girls,” Summers said. “We have been doing this for 17 years and we want the kids to have success and developed life-long friendships.