Williamstown netters win

WILLIAMSTOWN – Defending Class A state champion Williamstown, which features just one senior in Kristi Mayo, had to work for a pair of Little Kanawha Conference victories here Thursday night as head coach Rachelle Cole’s Yellowjackets needed three sets to knock off Calhoun County and Parkersburg Catholic.

WHS lost the opening set to Calhoun County 25-20, but rallied to win the last two by scores of 25-22 and 25-18. The Yellowjackets, who improved to 12-4 and will play Saturday in Parkersburg’s 38th annual Snowball Invitational, knocked off the Crusaderettes 25-15, 20-25 and 25-18. In the second match of the triangular, the Red Devils got past PCHS by scores of 29-27 and 25-19.

In the second match of what turned out to be a four hour tri, it actually pitted a pair of first-year head coaches in Parkersburg Catholic’s Ashley Price and Calhoun County’s Angie Hersman, although this is Hersman’s second stint as the head coach of the Mt. Zion-based school. In a match which featured 14 ties, the Red Devils finally took the lead for good on an Amanda Carter ace at 28-27 and took the opening set when Stephanie Hall registered a kill from a Megan Barton assist.

Autumn Blair, who had a match-high 13 points and tied Crusaderette Reily Sturm with a match-high nine downed spikes, served for 10 straight points as the Red Devils took early control of the second set behind the play of Bailie Cain and Kenzie Hicks at the net.

Williamstown got off to a rugged start against the now 10-4-1 Red Devils in the first set as Carter also served up 10 consecutive points. WHS finally took the lead for good in a tight set two at 19-18 on a Brooke Stewart kill that was set up by Ashton Chancellor. The ‘Jackets never trailed in the third set after BreeAnn Reynolds tallied the first two points. Mayo, who was hurt early in the first set against PCHS with a bruised tailbone, closed out the victory versus Calhoun County on match point with an ace.

Erica Amos led the ‘Jackets against CCHS with a match-high 24 digs. Teammate Melissa Cieslewski finished with seven points, 13 assists and a match-high nine kills. Chancellor added eight downed spikes and Emrie Gray had six kills.

Thanks to Cierra King’s seven straight service tallies, WHS broke an early one-all tie and looked to have early control of the match after taking the first set against the Crusaderettes. Aubrey Yeager’s kill gave the hosts a chance at set point, which was sealed thanks to fellow freshman teammate Nellie King’s downed spike.

However, the Crusaderettes (3-10) didn’t go quietly. Downed spikes by Kim Samolitis, Shelby Dearth and Lydia Walters kept PCHS within striking distance early in set two. A kill-block by Lydia Walters on Gray with Rachel Tennant at the service line gave Parkersburg Catholic the lead for good at 12-11. Walters’ over the head attack fell on the Yellowjackets’ side on set point to force the winner-take-all final game.

Things looked pretty good for PCHS early as kills by Abby Witucky gave the visitors leads of 6-3 and 8-7. After Meredith Koerber had a second-hit kill, the Crusaderettes were ahead 12-9. Reynolds, though, got hot at the service line and served two aces and six straight points as WHS took control at 16-12 and never looked back.