WILLIAMSTOWN - Williamstown senior Kenzie Smith describes her team as predators. Once an opponent is down, the Yellowjackets don't let up.
Thursday night in the finals of Class A, Region IV, Section 1, they were on the attack once again after sweeping Parkersburg Catholic 26-24, 25-22 and 25-13.
"You don't know how unbelievably excited we are for this moment," said Smith, who finished with 18 assists, nine kills and three blocks.
JEFF BAUGHAN Special to The Times
Williamstown’s Carley Ellison spikes the ball against Parkersburg Catholic’s Leah Hughes, Left, and Brooke Miller during a sectional championship volleyball match at Williamstown High Thursday night. The Yellowjackets claimed the title with a 3-0 sweep of the Crusaderettes.
Both teams advance to Saturday's regional semifinals at Charleston Catholic High School where Williamstown (34-8-1) plays Buffalo and Parkersburg Catholic (26-20-1) hooks up with Charleston Catholic. Regardless of what transpires in the regional championship match, the two finalists secure a spot for the state tournament.
"Winning the sectional title means a lot to us," Williamstown coach Rachelle Pallini said. "We just hope we can sustain what we are doing right now and keep it going. I just think the girls are picking it up at the right time."
Needing to defeat Williamstown twice for the sectional title, Parkersburg Catholic rattled the Yellowjackets at the outset and scored the first eight points of the match behind a pair of service aces from Reily Sturm. Coach Pallini immediately called timeout to assess the situation and her players responded by answering with eight points of their own as Carley Ellison collected two of her eight kills. The senior also had four blocks for the match.
Class A, Region IV, Section 1
Championship match at Williamstown
Williamstown d. Parkersburg Catholic, 26-24, 25-22, 25-13
PCHS (26-20-1) scoring: Maddie Roedersheimer 5, Hannah Fisher 3 (1 ace), Leah Hughes 6 (2 aces), Hannah Reifsteck 2, Amy Tennant 2, Reily Sturm 8 (1 ace). Hitting (kills): M. Roedersheimer 15-15 (8), Fisher 9-11 (2), Hughes 8-12 (2), Reifsteck 7-9 (3), Brooke Miller 8-10 (1), Sturm 13-15 (4). Setting: Fisher 5, Hughes 3, Reifsteck 58 (8 assists), Miller 4, Tennant 36 (11 assists), Sturm 2. DigsL M. Roedersheimer 5, Fisher 2, Hughes 4, Reifsteck 1, Tennant 4, Sturm 2. Blocks: Fisher 6, Hughes 2, M. Roedersheimer 1, Miller 1, Sturm 1.
Williamstown (34-8-1) scoring: Brooke Cieslewski 11 (1 ace), Kenzie Smith 5 (1 ace), Ciara Flowers 4, Erica Amos 1, Jessie Kerns 12 (4 aces), Carley Ellison 6, Ashton Chancellor 1. Hitting (kills): B. Cieslewski 3 (1), Smith 15 (9), Lincoln Postlewaite 22 (10), Flowers 10 (3), E. Amos 1 (1), L. Amos 11 (4), Kerns 1, Ellison 14 (8), Chancellor 14 (6), Kristi Mayo 1, Melissa Cieslewski 1 (1), Lily Tuttle 1 (1). Setting: B. Cieslewski 1 assist, Smith 18 assists, Kerns 18 assists. Digs: B. Cieslewski 26, Smith 4, Flowers 3, E. Amos 8, L. Amos 1, Kerns 3, Ellison 8, Chancellor 2. Blocks: Smith 3, Postlewaite 1, Flowers 2, Ellison 4.
Next match: Region IV semifinal at Charleston Catholic High School, 2 p.m. on Saturday- Williamstown vs. Buffalo and Parkersburg Catholic vs. Charleston Catholic.
The Yellowjackets never trailed by more than three points at any one point the rest of the night. They recovered from a 20-17 deficit in the second set then put PCHS in a deep hole in the final set by taking a quick 8-0 lead. The Crusaderettes could not recover.
"We have killer instincts from now on out," Smith said. "We found it when we played Gilmer County in the first round at sectionals, and it has stuck with us ever since. I don't know where it came from, but I hope it stays."
Williamstown's Jessie Kerns gave PCHS fits with her jump serve and finished with a team-high four aces as part of her 12 points, and dished out 18 assists. Teammate Brooke Cieslewski contributed 11 points, while Lincoln Postlewaite led all Yellowjackets with 10 kills.
Since Class A came into existence in 2002, the Crusaderettes had never qualified for regionals. And even though they were guaranteed a berth this year, there still was unfinished business against Williamstown.
In the first set, they pulled even at 23 and again at 24 before the Yellowjackets scored consecutive points on Postlewaite's kill followed by a mishandled pass from the PCHS offense.
PCHS held a 22-21 advantage in the second set when the lefty-handed swinging Smith knocked down two kills as part of a four-point Williamstown run.
"We played well - in the first two games, we couldn't get to our blocks and that was a big problem," PCHS coach Sandy Swisher said. "We just didn't put the ball down enough. We need more kills, and we can't not kill the ball against a team like this."
Maddie Roedersheimer led PCHS with eight kills and Reily Sturm added four. Crusaderette setters Amy Tennant and Hannah Reifsteck finished with 11 and 8 assists, respectively.