Shadyside Tops Central
WHEELING–Wheeling Central volleyball Coach Donnie Murray knew heading into Monday night’s battle with powerful Shadyside that the key to his team’s success was trying to take the Tigers’ top two players out of the hitting zone.
And while Macy Coffland (13 kills) and Jillian Joseph (10 kills) each had big games, when the Maroon Knights were successful in neutralizing them, Riley Brown (11 kills) always seemed to be there to pick up the slack.
After dropping a close 25-21 decision in game one, Shadyside battled back-and-forth the next three games, but managed to find a way to capture all three by scores of 25-23, 25-16 and 26-24 to post a hard-fought four-game victory over the Maroon Knights at the Bishop Michael J. Bransfield Sports Complex in East Wheeling.
The victory improves Coach Cindy Archer’s Tigers to 10-1 on the campaign while Central dips to 4-3.
As they did in each of the first three games, the Maroon Knights scored first in game one and eventually built a 7-1 lead before Shadyside began chipping away. The Tigers, who were their own worst enemy at times, especially keeping the ball in play on serves, took their first lead at 20-19.
However, Central scored six of the final seven points, the final four coming with Rachel Cupp serving, to go 1-0.
The teams battled back-and-forth in game two, with each holding early three-point leads and neither leading by more than four the entire game. This time, however, it was the visitors that scored three of the final four to capture a 25-23 advantage and knot things at 1-1.
For most of the third game it was much of the same as the teams changed leads and were tied on eight occasions before Shadyside took control late with a 10-0 burst, nine of those coming with Lexie Antill serving. The outburst pushed the score to 24-15, with the Knights getting one final point before the Tigers put it away, 25-16.
Game four saw Wheeling Central take an 11-6 lead and eventually push it to 15-8 on a Kaitlyn Ferns ace. But again Shadyside began chipping away and pulled to within 17-16 on a Joseph kill. The Knights went up by four, 22-18, and were sitting at game-point and a 24-21 lead on Madison LeMasters’ ace before things unraveled. The Tigers cut the deficit to two, and with Brown serving closed things out with a pair of aces, a Coffland tap and Sarah Teasdale’s kill to close it out.
“We had a few players serving well (Monday), but I think we also had some girls that nerves got the better of them a little bit,” Archer admitted. “Jillian (Joseph) and Macy (Coffland) played great games up front.
“When we make a good play, like an ace or a hard kill, the team really seems to get up and it carries over and we seem to stay up. But we have to have more communication. I tell them that If I can’t hear them their teammates can’t either.
“Overall, it was a great game and I am very proud of the girls, they really stuck in there in some tough situations.”
Murray meanwhile, while proud of his team and felt like they did what they needed to do at times.
“We are an ultra-talented team, but I think maybe we are just still trying to gel together a little bit,” Murray said. “There is a lot of talent out there, but everybody we play wants to beat Wheeling Central and it gives them a confidence boost to do it so we need to be at our best.
“Coming in I felt like the biggest key was trying to take Coffland and Joseph out of the hitting zone as much as possible, and we managed to do that at times, but it seemed like when we did number 33 (Brown) always seemed to step up and get us.
“We rotate a lot which can beg for a lack of consistency sometimes, but if we are playing well we aren’t afraid to go with the same six girls. We just have to do a better job of grabbing points in chunks and taking advantage of situations.”
St. Clairsville d. Bellaire
25-14, 25-9, 25-17
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Alexa Binger turned in 11 kills to lead St. Clairsville to a straight-set victory over visiting Bellaire.
Katie Miller dished out 16 assists, Chloe Biancarelli tallied nine assists and Paige Sefsick added eight kills for the Red Devils.
Steubenville Central d. Martins Ferry 25-6, 25-9, 25-12
STEUBENVILLE — Emma Borden ended up with 16 points, three aces, six assists, two kills and nine digs as Steubenville Central swept Martins Ferry.
Karmen DiBiase delivered 12 points, three aces, 20 sets, two kills and three digs. Theresa Bahen tallied 12 points, seven aces, two assists and four digs. Sydney Bennington collected 14 points, seven aces, five kills and 10 digs. Edy Harold added 11 points, six aces, two kills and three digs.
For Martins Ferry, Shelby Thomas scored three points, Kayla Theaker recorded two aces and one kill and Ava Doyle delivered one kill and one block.