On Tuesday evening, the Wheelersburg Pirates faced off against the Minford Falcons in a volleyball match between two of the top teams in the SOC II race. The Pirates won the match in straight sets by scores of 25-9, 25-20, 25-19.
The first set of the night proved to be the most lopsided in favor of Wheelersburg, but that is not to say that the competitiveness of this set was less than the others. Minford was not able to put the points on the board in that first set, but they were able to play solidly enough that their point scoring carried on through the rest of the match. The Pirates started off the set by taking a 13-5 advantage, before Minford head coach Rachael Stapleton took her first timeout of the match to try and rally her team. Wheelersburg would go on to outscore the Falcons 12-4 in the remainder of the set, ultimately winning by a score of 25-9.
The Pirates would open up the closest set of the night by taking a 14-10 advantage before Stapleton used her second timeout of the match. It seemed as if Stapleton and her team were able to adjust to the game plan of Wheelersburg head coach Allen Perry because the Pirates were no longer able to hit the soft spot of the defense like they had been able to earlier in the match. “I think you’re telling on me” said Perry when asked of his game plan heading into Tuesday night’s match, “We have power. What we’ve been working on is that those girls have to find those spots. The further we go along, you’re not going to be able to just over power these teams, you have to try and find those spots. And we’ve been trying to work on that.”
Even after the adjustments made by Stapleton, the Pirates were ultimately able to pull away to win that second set by a final score of 25-20 to take a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The third and final set of the night showcased the Pirates ability to carry their momentum on from the previous two sets as they scored the sets first six points. One of those points, as was the case on many of the points scored on the night by Wheelersburg, was assisted by Abbie Kallner. With that assist, Kallner broke the Wheelersburg High School record for career assists with her 1705th assist. Perry was proud of Abbie and her teammates for their willingness to sacrifice for each other in order to do what it takes to be successful as a team. “They just fight for each other” said Perry, “I think that’s what it takes in volleyball. You have to have a group of girls willing to go to war for each other, and to do whatever it takes. They came in tonight wanting to get her that record. It meant just as much to the girl sitting on the end of the bench as it did to Abbie (Kallner). I think that’s just a true testament to what a team is.” Kallner finished the match with 35 assists for the Pirates.
The Pirates attack carried through the rest of the set as they were able to pull away from the Falcons and win the third set 25-16, and ultimately the match 3-0. Even though his team won in straight sets, Perry was very complimentary towards the Stapleton led Minford team. “I was really nervous about Minford” said Perry, “They’re a dangerous team. Coming into tonight’s match, I knew they would be coming after us. They really had their intensity up during warmups. I told my girls, ‘You’re really going to have to focus and not take them lightly. You need to take them seriously.’”
The Falcons will next face the Portsmouth West Senators in West Portsmouth Thursday evening with the JV match beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The Pirates will square off against Oak Hill Thursday evening in a home match with JV also beginning at 5:30 p.m.