Catholic girls win 5-set thriller vs. Lady Yellowjackets

JAY W. BENNETT The Marietta Times Williamstown’s Bethany Arnold, who had a match-high 24 kills, defends at the net while Parkersburg Catholic’s Jenna Boice sets the ball during the Crusaderettes’ five-set triumph against the visiting Yellowjackets on Thursday evening.

PARKERSBURG — Paige Stotts set up match point with a kill here on a hot, steamy Thursday at Parkersburg Catholic and Lainie Ross’ downed spike from a Jenna Boice assist gave Grace Pedersen the last service tally of the evening as the Crusaderettes rallied past rival Williamstown 25-23, 25-27, 21-25, 25-22 and 15-11 in the season opener for both Little Kanawha Conference programs.

Pedersen, who finished with six aces, served one up in set two to make it 24-20, but Williamstown rallied to win the set when Lakyn Joy squared it at 24-all via an ace and Bethany Arnold later put one to the floor on set point.

After the Crusaderettes captured the must-win fourth set, the hosts took an early 1-0 cushion in set five via one of Aaliyah Brunny’s team-high 16 kills.

The only lead for the ‘Jackets in the final set came at 3-2 via a PCHS attack error, but the hosts took the lead for good at 4-3 on another Pedersen ace.

PCHS moved ahead 7-5 when Ross blocked Skyler Chancellor. WHS managed to close the deficit back to one at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9 but couldn’t regain its momentum.

“I told them to go out there and act like you got something to prove because you do,” replied PCHS second-year head coach Amanda Weatherwax when asked what the message was to her squad entering set four. “There’s a lot of people who probably doubt us because we’re young, but that’s OK.

“It shows a lot of courage and character and desire they have. They didn’t call it quits, especially in the heat that we are in, but that’s why we practice hard every day. I think they have high expectations of themselves. They know I do.”

Madison Ross added a dozen kills and two aces for the victors, who also received five downed spikes from Beth Lowther as well as one kill and three aces from libero Gracie Lowers. Stotts finished with eight kills.

Arnold put down a match-high 24 kills while the ‘Jackets also had downed spikes from Kayla Bauman (six), Chancellor (five), Brittney Hooper (four), Faith Hoosier (three) and Gracie Graham, who had one kill and 22 digs.

“It is a work in progress. We still haven’t figured out the libero situation. Tonight, I think we put a lot on Beth’s shoulders and we can’t do that,” said WHS head coach Rachelle Cole. “We have to be stronger all the way around.

“I thought the girls played a little bit timid and then they got down and had to fight back. I thought there were moments we played pretty well. We never put anything together for a long span of time.”

Lakyn Joy had 27 assists and five digs in the setback. ‘Jacket Jillian Modesitt made nine digs and teammate Meghan Jefferson had seven.