WINFIELD, W.Va. — They had so much fun at the state tournament last season, they decided to go back this fall.
The Point Pleasant volleyball team punched its ticket to the 2020 Class AA state tournament on Saturday in Putnam County, defeating Logan in straight games in the semifinal, before falling to host Winfield 3-0 in the championship match.
In the semifinal match, Point Pleasant (13-10) gave up the first four points to Logan (2-23), but took the Game 1 lead at 6-5 and never trailed again, cruising to the 25-10 victory.
PPHS tied the second set three times before taking the lead for the 8-7, and the Lady Knights led the rest of the way to the 25-17 win.
The third game featured a trio of early lead changes, with Point Pleasant taking the edge for good at 7-6. The Lady Knights capped off the 3-0 sweep with a 25-15 victory, securing their second-ever trip to the state tournament.
Brooke Warner led the PPHS service with 17 points, including nine aces, followed by Baylie Rickard with 15 points and a quartet of aces. Katelynn Smith, Kianna Smith and Tristan Wilson had five points each in the win, with three aces by Katelynn Smith, and an ace apiece by Wilson and Kianna Smith. Addy Cottrill rounded out the Point Pleasant service attack with three points.
Wilson led the victors at the net with 19 kills. Cottrill claimed nine kills in the win, Rickard and Kianna Smith had two kills each, while Warner chipped in with one kill. Rickard earned a team-best 30 assists for Point Pleasant, while Cottrill and Warner tied for a team-high with eight digs apiece.
Lexi Adkins led the Lady Wildcats with nine service points, followed by Madison Adams, Alyssa Goff and Addison Brumfield with three each.
In the championship match, Point Pleasant led 1-0 in the opening game, but surrendered the next four points. Winfield (20-8) was up by as many as 10 points, at 14-4, and held on for the 25-20 win in the opener.
The second set featured six ties and five lead changes. The Lady Generals finished the game off with a 10-to-2 run for another 25-20 victory.
The Lady Knights took the Game 3 lead at 2-1, but gave the edge back at 6-5 and never led again. PPHS tied it at 8-8, and again at 12-all, but ultimately fell 25-21.
Leading Point Pleasant, Warner, Rickard and Kianna Smith had six service points apiece, with two aces by Warner and one by Smith. Cottrill claimed five points in the setback, while Katelynn Smith finished with four.
Wilson led the Lady Knights at the net with 13 kills and two blocks. Cottrill was next with 10 kills and a block, followed by Rickard with three kills, a block and a team-best 25 assists. Kierra Smith earned two kills for PPHS, Warner added a kill and a block, while Kianna Smith picked up one kill. Leading Point Pleasant on defense, Katelynn Smith earned 15 digs.
For Winfield, Mya Williams led the way with 10 service points, followed by Jillian Fluharty with nine, and Alexee Powell with eight. Stella Kincaid had five service points for the victors, Jordan Signorelli added four, while Erin Signorelli ended with three.
Following the regional runner-up finish, sixth-year PPHS head coach Marla Cottrill admitted that the Lady Knights gave away too many points in the championship match.
“It just wasn’t our night, we made a lot of errors,” Coach Cottrill said. “That last set, we had three serving errors right in a row, and we couldn’t get our hits in. When you have so many serving errors and you can’t get your hits in, you’re just giving points to the other team.”
Coach Cottrill also talked about getting back to state after losing about half of the 2019 rotation to graduation.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work,” said Cottrill. “We lost four starting varsity players, but we also have five returning varsity players. I knew we had what it takes, it was just getting them to mesh. Your setter is your quarterback, that’s who controls everything on the court for you, and when you ask somebody who’s never done it to step up and play that role, it’s going to take a season, it’s not going to come easy. (Baylie Rickard) has done the best of her ability, and I can’t complain at all, it’s just taken some time to get use to a new setter, and for them to mesh together.”
The Lady Knights will play an opponent to be determined in the Class AA quarterfinals at the Charleston Coliseum on Friday.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.