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Silver Knights Punch Way to Sixth Straight State Volleyball Tournament

By Staff | Nov 8, 2017

Proud group of Silver Knights after winning the sectionals at Paden City.

After winning the Region One, Section Two, championship at Paden City high school on Thursday, in easy fashion over Ritchie County, they found themselves once again matched up on Saturday, for the Regional championship at Tyler Consolidated. This time it was mostly Ritchie as they seemed to frustrate the Knights in set one with some fine placement hitting.

The Knights had just finished up defeating Weirton Madonna in three straight sets 25-7, 25-14 and 25-9 and Ritchie had just eliminated Wheeling Central , in three straight to set up the championship. Ritchie wasted no time in gaining the lead and led for most of set one before taking the set 25-16. As the Silver Knights usually do, they came back in set two and took a 6-0 lead before the Rebels broke serve and rattled off seven straight to grab an 8-6 lead. After a couple ties at 8-8 and 9-9, the Rebels took the lead for good and Tyler was forced to play catchup. The Knights however couldn’t get over the hump and dropped the second set 25-18. Set three again belonged to the Rebels as they held the Knights at bay for most of the set and came away with a 25-17 win to take the match and the Regional title.

Both teams however advanced to the state tournament by wins in the early matches and will make their appearance on the Charleston Civic Center floor on Friday. Who knows maybe they will meet up again and the Silver Knights will find the third time a charm. Let’s hope so! The Silver Knights will be playing in their sixth straight state tournament.

Leading the way for Tyler, on Saturday against the Rebels was JoLee Walton with 59 sets, 25 assists, four blocks, six digs, eight points and one ace. Alexa Johnson finished with 16 kills, two blocks and five digs. Josey Jones had four kills, two locks, eight digs and two points, while Emily Lancaster, got four kills, five blocks and two digs.

Cora Grimm led the Knights in digs with 16, while adding two points. Regan Smith finished with three kills, three blocks, and a dig.

Peyton Kocher had seven digs and four points and Madison DeVaughn ended with three digs, three points and an ace. Summer Miller served up five points and an ace for the Knights and Allie Miller added three blocks and two digs.

In the earlier match against Madonna, Walton came up big with 49 sets, 29 assists, one kill, four digs, and a huge 19 points including five aces. Jones also had a good match with 12 kills, two digs and eight points. Johnson helped out with eight kills. Lancaster played big around the net with 12 kills, three blocks and four digs. Grimm finished with 12 digs and one point and Smith added two kills, one block, and three points.

Kocher finished with 10 points, three aces and two digs, while DeVaughn got four points and four digs. S. Miller served up five points including and ace. A. iller had two digs and Lindsay Thompson addeda kill.

“Any game that doesn’t end your season means you are still alive,”coach Summer said. I have seen teams come from the runner-up spot and end up winning the state championship. I told our girls that our season isn’t over. We get to go to states and still have a chance, just as much as Ritchie County does. We would like to have won but it doesn’t end our season.”

“We have high expectations for the girls, they have come farther than I expected them to this year.” “Volleyball is a game of emotion, they got out of the gat faster than we did and on Thursday, we got out faster than them. We are two evenly matched teams,” Summers added.

Knights win sectional over Rebels

After taking Magnolia out in a five set, two plus hour marathon match on Wednesday, the Silver Knights knew they had to come out and play hard once again to get past number one seed Ritchie County on Thursday. Wednesday nights match against the Blue Eagles was one of those where you think you had seen it all and the girls could not play any better.

That turned out to not be the case however as they made easy work of favorite Ritchie County in three straight sets to prove they are no fluke. The Rebels were the home team on the score board, with their number one seed and they jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first set before the Lady Knights called a time out to make some adjustments.

Whatever coach Summers said shunk in because from there on it was all Silver and Black, with the exception of one wearing pink who provided some big moments for the Knights. Tyler came from behind in set one and went on to win the set 25-16 by outscoring the rebels 14-2 at one point.

The stunned Rebels would never recover as the girls from Kidwell put on another dazzling display to delight the crowd and bring home the Region One, Section Two, crown as they frustrated the Rebels with superior volley’s and better net play to win going away 25-7.

After being down 2-0 to Magnolia the night before and coming back to take the match the Knights were not about to let it happen to them. They took the court for the third set with the mind set that it belongs to us and nothing can take it from us. There was no doubt about it as they left it all on the court with another blowout 25-9.

“This is a young group that could have been a year away from being a good volleyball team. But their work ethic and the fact they played an extremely difficult schedule has given them a chance for post-season success this year. We played our best match against Ritchie County, but I really think we can play at a still higher level. “

“Winning the Sectional Championship is always one of the girls’ goals, and it was great to achieve that goal. Special thanks to our great student cheering section this week, and it was great to see so many 8th grade players and their parents at the games,” Coach Richard Summers said.

The Silver Knights raised their record to 26-16-2 with the win despite playing perhaps the toughest Class A schedule in the state. Leading the way for Tyler in the match was Josey Jones with 12 big time kills, two blocks, eight digs and a match high 16 points that included four aces. She had lots of help along the way as JoLee Walton added 49 sets, 26 assists, four kills, five big time blocks, three digs and 11 points.

Alexa Johnson ended with 10 kills and three blocks while Emily Lancaster came up big with nine kills and six blocks plus both player provided good defense at the net to eliminate kill chances for the Rebels. Freshman Regan Smith continued to impress as she accounted for five kills, six blocks, two digs and two points.

Cora Grimm gave her usual all out performance as she hit the floor on several occasions to keep the ball alive. She ended with 14 digs, 14 points and two assists. Madison DeVaughn had her serve working as well as she served up 10 points and three aces, plus six digs. Peyton Kocher hit the floor for 10 digs and added a point, while Allie Miller got two digs and two blocks. Summer Miller ended with four service points.

Silver Knights knock out Magnolia

There can be no other way to explain it than it was a fight to the finish. And what a fight it was! The match was held at Paden City’s Bob Burton gymnasium before an over flow crowd. With many fans struggling to find seats the players from both teams were struggling to get points. Not often in the high school sport of volleyball do you find two teams so evenly matched who are willing to leave it all on the floor, fighting tooth and nail and even playing when the body has said no more. The volleyball match on Wednesday night between Tyler Consolidated and Magnolia was just that way.

With the opening set setting the stage for the entire match, the Silver Knights quickly took a lead and it looked like they would win going away as they led for the majority of the set and were up 18-12 behind some fine net play from Alexa Johnson and Josey Jones. The Blue Eagles clawed their way back into it on some power hitting by Mady Winters and Kiyley Pilant. and took the lead at 23-22. Both teams traded baskets to extend the set before the Eagles got two straight for the 28-26 overtime win.

Set two was another thriller as they battled back and forth, with each team taking leads as large as four points. Tyler took a 19-18 lead but, the Blue Eagles scored three to make it 21-19. The Silver Knights added three points on a Walton serve and kill’s by Regan Smith and Emily Lancaster to put the Knights in front 22-21. Magnolia broke serve for a point but got a net serve to give it back to Tyler. The Knights lost the serve on a kill by Winters and the score was 23-23. Magnolia got the next two points to seal the set and lead 2-0.

“We knew going into the third set we would have to give an all out effort and the girls responded. We work on these kind of situations all year and our conditioning proves we can endure through a hard fought five set match. The kids never gave up and their play in the third set to pull it out was an example of never quitting,” said coach Richard Summers.

Set three turned into what was probably the best volleyball I’ve seen this year. If there are any better Class A schools as good as these two I want to see them. After watching set one I was sure they couldn’t top that kind of effort. However set three kept the crowd on it’s feet as time and again both teams reached down and pulled out digs that would normally hit the floor and the volley’s often seemed like they would not end.

The Knights again jumped ahead but the resilance of a young Magnolia team kept coming at them . Winters, Pilant, and company kept coach Pam Chapman’s squad on the verge of eliminating the Silver Knights as there was no more than a three point spread throughout the contest. With the set tied at 23 both teams traded points until the Knights got broke serve to take a one point lead 26-25 and then finished it off with a kill from Jones to win 27-25 in the second overtime set of the night.

Magnolia still had the lead two sets to one and the monkey was on the Knights back. However they came out firing on all cylinders in the forth set in an effort to extend the match. That they did with a 25-18 win, the largest of the night. In the forth set the Knights played nearly flawless as Johnson, Smith and Jones all had huge kills while JoLee Walton and Peyton Kocher each hammered in aces for easy points. The Blue Eagles were having serving problems with three in the set for free points and the Knights took advantage.

Set five usually comes down to who gets the quick lead. It this set the Knights came out on fire and took a 6-0 lead but Magnolia came right back and scored six of their own to force a 6-6 tie. The Knights went up 8-6 and the Blue Eagles again tied it. With the match on the line Tyler called a time-out and then went on a 7-4 run to come aawa with the hard fought win and advance to Thursday nights championship.

The Silver Knights got big games from several players as JoLee Walton led the way with a match high 21 points to go along with 55 sets and 36 assists. She also added five aces, and 12 digs. Josey Jones showed her hitting skills as she accounted for 20 kills, six blocks, 14 digs and three points. Alexa Johnson had a huge night at the net as well with 19 kills, six blocks and five digs.

Emily Lancaster added bif time support at the net withseven huge blocks while hammering eight kills and a dig. Regan Smith who got the winning kill finished with four on the night plus six blocks, two digs, five points and an ace. Cora Grimm never let a hard kill to the head stop her as she battled for 20 digs while adding four assists and four points. Peyton Kocher one of six juniors on the squad showed her serving skills as she gathered five aces and served up 12 points while adding 12 digs. Madison DeVaughn knocked down four aces and scored 14 points while adding seven digs. Allie Miller secured five digs to help the cause. “We are proud of our kids for not panicking against Magnolia when we were down 0-2 and things were not going well. We were not playing Sectional level volleyball, and could have lost. But they stuck together and our six juniors showed great leadership,” Summers added.

“This is a young group that could have been a year away from being a good volleyball team. But their work ethic and the fact they played an extremely difficult schedule has given them a chance for post-season success this year. We played our best match against Ritchie County, but I really think we can play at a still higher level. “

“Winning the Sectional Championship is always one of the girls’ goals, and it was great to achieve that goal. Special thanks to our great student cheering section this week, and it was great to see so many 8th grade players and their parents at the games.”