Prep volleyball: Jackets hope to return to state

Starting today, volleyball teams from across the Mountain State will begin their quest to qualify out of sectionals, advance to regional Saturday and then punch their ticket to next week’s state tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.

Little Kanawha Conference champion Williamstown and head coach Rachelle Cole is the only area volleyball program trying to make it back to the big show and defend their state title from 2012.

A week ago Saturday in Spencer, the Yellowjackets swept Tyler Consolidated – 25-22, 25-18 and 25-12 – to win the LKC championship thanks to a balanced attack. Although Ashton Chancellor had a match-high 11 downed spikes and added four blocks, the ‘Jackets also had solid kill totals from Brooke Stewart with 10, Emrie Gray with nine and Melissa Cieslewski with eight. WHS setter BreeAnn Reynolds produced a match-high 33 assists and Erica Amos came through in the back row with 23 digs.

The Jackets begin postseason play as the No. 1 seed in the double-elimination tournament set for Monday in West Union.

Wirt County, which lost a brutal five-set match to Tyler Consolidated in the LKC semifinals after holding a 12-7 lead, watched the Silver Knights score the final eight points to advance.

The Tigers are the No. 2 seed and will be trying to start a new streak of state tournament appearances after getting ousted in the sectional last fall.

Two-time Class AA state runner-up Ritchie County is the top seed in its sectional, which will be played in Ellenboro with Ravenswood acting as the No. 2 seed.

Magnolia, trying to get back to the Class A state tournament, is led by senior Mallory Chapman and plays its first sectional match at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday versus the Wheeling Central/Cameron winner in Wheeling.