Bethany Arnold gets 1,000th kill as Williamstown volleyball rallies to top Wirt

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Williamstown’s Brittney Hooper, left, spikes the ball as Wirt County’s Kylie Stephens (17) and Madison Richards attempt to block it during a high school volleyball match Thursday.

WILLIAMSTOWN –First, everyone sang Happy 16th Birthday to Yellowjacket volleyball player Gracie Graham.

Then, Bethany Arnold achieved a career milestone in kills.

And, to top it off, Williamstown High rallied from a 0-2 deficit to defeat visiting and defending Class A champion Wirt County, 3-2, in prep volleyball action Thursday night at Yellowjacket Gym.

After losing the first two sets 19-25 and 24-26 to the Tigers (4-3), the Jackets (7-3) won 25-5, 25-21 and 15-7 to claim the Little Kanawha Conference match.

“It was a great team win,” said Williamstown head coach Rachelle Cole. “We really needed that after taking a hard loss to Tyler (Consolidated) on Tuesday, not playing very well. Then, we played much better these last three sets tonight.”

Arnold, a 6-foot-1 senior hitter, helped lead the comeback with a team-high 15 kills. She got her career 1,000th early in the second set.

“She knew coming in that it was probably going to happen,” Cole said. “I don’t think she knew how many she needed, but we’re happy for her. And we just want that number to keep growing.”

Kayla Bauman added 12 kills while Skyler Chancellor and Brittney Hooper chipped in with eight apiece. Hooper and Bauman also had six and five blocks, respectively. Faith Hoosier had six kills.

Jacket setter Lakyn Joy finished with a match-high 22 assists.

“She’s just a freshman and one of the best setters I’ve ever played with,” Arnold said.

Chloe Hooper had 18 digs, while Meghan Jefferson and Jillian Modesitt had eight and seven, respectively.

Wirt County was led by Kylie Stephens, who had a match-high 16 kills. Emma Wyer added 12 kills and six blocks. Alexis Petrovsky, Madison Richards and Adeline Sims each finished with seven points.

“Williamstown’s a very experienced team, and we’re brand new,” said Tiger boss Janet Frazier. “We have a couple of our main players back, but it’s a new team. They’re working hard.”

The first two sets were both tight and could’ve gone either way. But the Tigers prevailed, winning the opener by six points and the next one by two.

“I think it’s really hard to lose sets like that,” Arnold said. “We have a lot of respect for Wirt County. We think they’re a really good team, but it’s hard to take losses when you know that you can play a lot better.”

The Yellowjackets played much better in the third game. In fact, they dominated it, winning by 20 points.

“I think the girls just played a lot more comfortable and a lot more aggressive in the more comfortable setting,” Cole said. “I think comfort played a big part. And the girls got back into a better rythym. They got on top and stayed there.”

In a pivotal fourth set, Wirt regained its competitive edge, but the momentum had switched over to Williamstown, which won by five.

With Jefferson serving at the beginning of the final and deciding set, the Yellowjackets got off to a 3-0 start and never trailed, winning by eight points.

“To be able to compete with Williamstown at this point in the season is a plus for us,” Frazier said. “We’re just going to take it one day at a time and see where we end up.”