Silver Knights Fall In Quarterfinals at Charleston
Just making it to the state tournament is a once in a lifetime dream for some schools, but Tyler Consolidated is making it a habit. This past Friday they made their sixth straight appearance on the big floor, fired up and ready to play.
They were pitted against number one seed Wirt County, (45-3-3) a team who is also no stranger to the big dance, having won 11 state titles in the last 15 years.
Set one of the match showed the Silver Knights quickly taking a 5-1 lead on the heals of some great serving from Peyton Kocher and Josey Jones. During their run to open up a lead they would never relinquish, the Knights received three aces from Jones and another from JoLee Walton while receiving several hard kills from Alexa Johnson that kept the Tigers at bay and the Knights in the lead.
Although they led the entire set, and were up 24-21, Wirt drew to within one at 24-23 before Johnson and Emily Lancaster teamed up to send a Tigers spike back to the floor to give the Knights set one 25-23.
“We played extremely well in the first set,” said Knights coach Richard Summers. “They have six seniors, who are very good hitters and we were able to get our hands on the ball and get blocks and deflections.”
The Silver Knights seemed to have the momentum and their energy level was high but Wirt came out charged up in set two and took control early making the Knights play catch up the entire set. Tyler took an early 8-6 lead before Wirt scored five straight taking an 11-8 advantage they would stretch to 18-10 before the Silver Knights would pull to within three but in wasn’t enough as the Tigers claimed set two 25-18 on a downed spike to even the match at 1-1.
While the Tigers were making plays the Knights were struggling as they missed six from the service line that proved to be a major difference in the match.
“We missed six serves in the second set and that was crucial,” said Summers. “If not for those six serves, we might have gotten the second set and it could have been different.”
Set three started out looking like it belonged to the Knights behind a pair of kills from Johnson and six points from Walton from the service line. After several lead changes Tyler took a 22-19 lead, however a net serve and three digging errors led to the Tigers scoring the final six points of the set to get the win and gain the momentum going into set four with a 2-1 lead.
The Silver Knights had first serve in set four but a service fault sent point one to Wirt County who took advantage an scored four straight before the Knights got on the board. With the score at 8-5, the Tigers notched three straight for an 11-5 lead and then cruised to a 25-14 win to take the match and move on to the semi-finals.
“We are disappointed but extremely excited about the future,” Summers said. “This is one of the few times that we have come down here and lost but have every kid back.”
“We will literally start on Monday figuring out what we have to do for next year. The process starts all over again. We will have six seniors next year and I am hoping that extra year of maturity will put us over the hump.”
The Silver Knights who finished the season 22-18-2 was led by juniors, JoLee Walton, who had 59 sets, 30 assists, three blocks, six digs and 16 points in the match. Alexa Johnson, had 16 kills, four blocks, three digs and two points. Josey Jones, scored 12 points, had 12 digs, nine kills and two blocks. Cora Grimm, aided the cause with 14 digs, and 10 points while Emily Lancaster, came through with four kills, six blocks and six points, and a dig. Peyton Kocher, got six digs and 14 points. Madison DeVaughn, scored 11 points and had five digs. Freshman Regan Smith had a nice match with eight points, three blocks, three digs and one kill while Allie Miller added three digs.