It took a rally in sets two through four to allow the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates to defeat South Point 3-1 (23-25, 25-7, 25-11, 25-16) to advance to the district championship Saturday afternoon vs. Alexander.
“I think I might be the only one who isn’t surprised with how South Point played, they had some good training, I should know, with some good kids on that team” said the former head coach of the Lady Pointers and now the head coach of the Lady Pirates, Allen Perry, “They have a lot of heart. They play with everything they’ve got and I wasn’t really surprised that they were able to come out and hang with us. We did start out a little bit slower, but let’s give credit to South Point where its’ due. They came out executed and controlled the ball which kept us off balance. They took that first set and they deserved that first set.”
The Lady Pirates led for large portions of that first set including when they led 16-14 which forced the Lady Pointers to call a timeout. Nine points later, having extended their lead by one at 21-18, Perry used his first timeout of the match. The Lady Pointers would get the best of their old coach and his new team in that first set, however, by scoring seven of the final nine points to take the set 25-23.
Fortunately for his teams’ sake, they were able to rally and limit the Lady Pointers fortunes to just that first set victory. “Like my girls do, they woke up” Perry said, “They were like, ‘Okay, this is what we have to do to win this game’ and that’s what we did. We have some things we need to work on before Saturday.”
Just as Perry mentioned, the Lady Pirates would wake up and begin to play more to the style we’ve seen from them all season long by winning the second and third sets decisively by scores of 25-7 and 25-11 respectively.
The fourth set would prove to be closer, particularly at the beginning when both teams were knotted up at seven points apiece. But just as they were able to in the second and third sets, Wheelersburg locked in and went on to score sixteen of the final twenty-five set points to take the final set by a score of 25-16 and ultimately the match 3-1.
Leading Wheelersburg statistically on offense was Mallory Bergan and Alli McQuay who each had 17 and 15 kills respectively. Senior setter and co-offensive player of the year in SOC II, Abbie Kallner led the Lady Pirates with 43 assists. On defense, sophomore libero Lauren Jolly led the Lady Pirates with 20 digs while Kylie Barney had a team high 6 blocks. Wheelersburg’s top server during their district semifinal matchup was Kaylee Darnell who had 17 service points and 3 aces.
The Lady Pirates advance to the district championship where they will face the two seed in the Waverly one district, the Alexander Spartans. “It is going to be barn burner” said Perry previewing Saturday’s championship match, “If my team shows up, we can play with either them. And if my team doesn’t show up or if our timing is a little bit off, they will show up and be able to take advantage of that and end your season pretty fast.”
The district championship match between the Lady Pirates and the Lady Spartans is slated for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday October 27th at Waverly High School.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT