WAVERLY — The Wheelersburg Pirates; volleyball team has carved their place into the Division III regional tournament at Logan High School on an annual basis in recent years.
Entering Saturday’s D-III district final with No. 2-seed Zane Trace, the No. 5-seeded Lady Pirates had been playing what ‘Burg coach Allen Perry has called their team’s best volleyball.
The Lady Pirates (21-3) have lost only one game since September 1, and in this year’s run to the program’s 5th straight district title, claimed four consecutive 3-0 results.
Their postseason run includes their 3-0 win on Saturday over the Lady Pioneers (25-19, 25-16, 25-21) at Waverly High School — in their second meeting with Zane Trace in three weeks.
“It just couldn’t be better timing for everyone to be back, getting healthy and start playing better,” Perry said.
Their road trip to Zane Trace in early October went down to the wire as a five-set thriller, but when push came to shove, the Pirates didn’t allow their opponent within four set points at the end of each frame.
Perry attributed their play in the decisive win to his team’s energy and focus throughout the contest.
“I think that we came out with even more energy and intensity than we had the last game,” he said. “That set the tone — they stayed focused, stayed up the entire time. We weathered the storm in the third set which we expected.”
Senior Ryleigh Meeker led the Pirates with a team-high 15 kills, followed by junior Lexie Rucker and freshman Catie Boggs’ nine kills apiece.
Junior Kiera Kennard had two ace serves, and junior setter Makenna Walker finished with a game-best 37 assists.
Meeker and Lyndsay Heimbach, Wheelersburg’s two seniors, become the second Wheelersburg graduating group in two years to achieve district championship wins in each of their four years playing varsity volleyball.
“I think it means the world to my two seniors, Lyndsay and Ryleigh. They’ve been here every year that we’ve been able to win one and didn’t want to be the first group not to do that. It means a lot to me to be able to see them achieve that,” Perry said.
Wheelersburg advances to Thursday’s D-III regional semifinal, where it faces fellow Southeast District champion Westfall — one of two Scioto Valley Conference regional qualifiers in Division III this postseason.
Adena defeated Northwest in the first district title game played at Waverly, and it will meet East District champion Fort Frye — for the right to move on to Saturday’s regional final.
A win for the Pirates over Westfall would advance Wheelersburg to its second regional volleyball final in three seasons.
“The way we’re playing right now and everyone getting healthy at the same time, I think these girls are going to give it 110-percent,” Perry said, of the regional tournament trip. “I know the teams up there, to get to the regional tournament you’ve had to have a lot of success. Hopefully we can have some more success up there in Logan.”
Wheelersburg will face Westfall at approximately 7:30 p.m. at Logan High School in a D-III regional semifinal, following the conclusion of the Adena-Fort Frye regional match.
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