Williamstown wins VB sectional championship

WEST UNION, W.Va. – It took nearly 4 hours and 30 minutes, but defending Class A state volleyball champion Williamstown finally secured the Region IV, Section 1 crown here Thursday night by knocking off rival Wirt County in the second title match.

Yellowjacket Ashton Chancellor registered a kill on a bad Tiger pass for match point as head coach Rachelle Cole’s squad claimed the second championship showdown 27-25, 17-25, 25-17, 18-25 and 15-10.

Wirt County, which got huge kill efforts from Brandy Bunch (19), Megan Burns (15) and Miriam Smith (13), was able to force a second title match after dispatching the ‘Jackets 25-22, 23-25, 25-20 and 25-15. The first three sets of the initial championship match lasted 90 minutes.

The Tigers, who had to knock off WHS (35-10-3) twice to claim the sectional crown, still advances to the the regional tournament slated for a 10 a.m. start on Saturday at Charleston Catholic. Wirt County will face Buffalo and the Yellowjackets will tangle with the host Irish, who finished runner-up to the Bison on the other half of the sectional.

Head coach Janet Frazier’s team never led in the winner-take-all fifth set. Emrie Gray’s kill from one of BreeAnn Reynolds’ match-high 37 assists, gave WHS the lead for good. ‘Jacket libero Erica Amos, who had 25 digs in the second title match, made a huge save during the second point of the fifth set that eventually led to a Chancellor kill-block as Williamstown took the early momentum and rode it.

Downed spikes by Melissa Cieslewski and Brooke Stewart helped widen the fifth set score to 7-4 and it was 8-4 following a Cierra King service point. The closest Wirt County got the rest of the way was at 9-7 following a Burns kill.

The Little Kanawha Conference champion Yellowjackets received a balanced hitting attack in the finals with Gray (11), Chancellor (10) leading the way in kills. Dotson and Cieslewski had nine downed spikes apiece.

Smith (14), Leah Haines (11) and Katie Tichnell (nine) paced Wirt County in points in the loss to WHS. Burns had 19 kills, Bunch 16 and Smith 11 while Liz Adams, who had 32 assists in the first title match, finished with 34.