WHEELERSBURG — A clean sweep into a clean sweep.
With Saturday’s 3-0 win over Wheelersburg (25-23, 25-18, 25-17) in their final game of the regular season, the South Webster Lady Jeeps volleyball program laid claim to a perfect season in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play.
The Lady Jeeps’ (20-1) outright league title in 2021 is the program’s first since the 2011 season after themselves and the Lady Pirates split their regularseason games a season ago, as well as the league championship.
Saturday’s victory — a makeup date from their originally scheduled match on Sept. 21 — marked the program’s 17th consecutive victory.
Thursday’s win over Valley officially captured their outright league title, but for a perfect league sweep, the win over the Lady Pirates (18-3, 13-3 SOC II) was a must.
“Super proud of their focus, their discipline, the fact that they support each other as a team,” South Webster coach Darcee Claxon said, after the win. “I think that’s what makes this team so great. Really proud of them and that win and momentum, will hopefully carry us deep into tournaments.”
Despite an early deficit in the first set, South Webster managed to come away with a 25-23 set win.
The Lady Jeeps never led in that first set until taking a 24-23 edge, and never came as close to faltering in a set than they did early on.
Seniors Faith Maloney and Bri Claxon led the Lady Jeeps in kills with 18 and 14, respectively.
Wheelersburg senior Ryleigh Meeker led the Lady Pirates with a team-high 12 kills.
South Webster senior Grace Claxon and sophomore Bella Claxon each reached varsity volleyball milestones in their win over Wheelersburg.
Grace recorded her 1,000th career dig during the third set, and Bella tabbed her 1,000th assist during the back-and-forth first set.
Grace led the Lady Jeeps with 14 digs, while Bella had a game-high 38 assists in the victory.
“To see their determination, their competitiveness, as a coach and Mom it’s awesome,” Coach Darcee Claxon said, of their accomplishments. “Grace stayed connected and played some great defensive coverage. Bella has great hands and she’s worked as hard as anyone since the beginning. Everyone one of those kids on the team, they’re in the gym all summer long. They hold each other accountable and we’re seeing the benefits of that now.”
As the top-seeded team in the Southeast District Division IV tournament brackets, South Webster will face No. 16 Belpre in a sectional final on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Wheelersburg, the No. 5 seed in Division III, will host No. 20 Coal Grove on Thursday, Oct. 21 — seeking a return to the district tournament.
“I want them to be challenged. The worst thing as a coach is where you’ve not been challenged at all, your backs are against the wall and you’ve never had to fight back,” Claxon said, of their upcoming postseason journey. “I think they’ve got grit, they’ve got something inside them that doesn’t quit, and you’ve got to have that.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved