Morgantown Denies Wheeling Park OVAC Volleyball Class 5A Title Repeat
By KYLE LUTZ
MORRISTOWN — Going into Saturday’s OVAC Class 5A volleyball championship, Wheeling Park was primed to defend its title. And after the first set, it looked very well for the Patriots. Morgantown, though, regrouped. And in what turned into a five-set thriller, it was the Mohigans that came out victorious. Morgantown denied Wheeling Park a repeat in a 18-25, 25-22, 26-28, 13-25, 15-10 victory Saturday morning at Union Local High School.
“It was a very exciting five-set thriller,” Morgantown coach Erica Manor said. “I think both sides of the court had their good moments and their bad moments and I think down the stretch it came down to us having mental toughness in those last few points in the fifth set.”
The Mohigans also showed toughness in the fourth set when they forced a decisive set. After dropping the third set in a marathon battle (28-26 in favor of Park), Morgantown raced out to a 17-8 lead and were never really threatened.
The toughness tuned over in the fifth set as the Mohigans grabbed an 11-4 lead a little over the midway point of the decisive set.
While Wheeling Park put together a small rally and cut its deficit to 14-10, the hole proved to be too large for the Patriots as the Mohigans took the match on the next point.
“Morgantown always plays us tough,” Wheeling Park coach Samantha Gentle said. “We just saw them (Monday), so we weren’t really able to hide anything from them. They kind of knew what to expect from us. Their middle did some things that we weren’t able to adjust to as well as I would have liked us to. So that’s something that we have to take into consideration because we see them on Tuesday and sectionals, I’m sure. The girls, they fought and battled, but we couldn’t come out with the result we obviously wanted.
“It’s tough, but I think our will persevere and look to get better and be ready for sectionals and regionals.”
The Patriots got off to a quick start and took a commanding lead in the first set. Up 7-6, they reeled off 11 straight points to have a comfortable cushion and run away with it and take the first set.
In the third set, they overcame a fierce Mohigan rally. Up 20-13, Morgantown clawed its way back and eventually tied it at 24-24. After trading points, Park was able to take the set and secure a 2-1 lead.
“I definitely think we will be able to adjust our defense to what they’re showing us, so we’re a little bit more prepared next time and we just have to execute,” Gentle said.
Caylin Angel had 11 points and 12 digs while Makara Ferguson had five kills and four blocks for the Patriots. Ellanore Schellhase had 11 points; Rachel Simon collected 11 points, 16 kills, 13 digs and three blocks and Olivia Albrecht had eight kills and five digs for Park. Alexandra Franko was also solid for the Patriots with 20 points, 21 digs and 14 kills while Elizabeth Simon had three kills and six digs; Anya Ritz tallied 18 points, 11 digs and 35 assists and Isabelle Miller had 17 points and 20 digs. Emily Braden tallied seven digs.
For the Mohigans, Isabel Grushesky had 10 points, three aces, six kills, seven blocks and three digs while Paige Brock turned in a four dig, 17 assist and seven dig performance. Asia Halbitter had 16 points, five aces and nine digs while Alyana Corwin had seven points 21 kills and seven digs for Morgantown.