POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Well, maybe the fourth time will be a charm … if it gets to a fourth time.
The Point Pleasant volleyball team finally managed to win a game against Winfield this year on Thursday night, but the visiting Lady Generals ultimately notched their third straight victory over the Lady Knights with a 25-23, 25-21, 24-26, 25-21 decision in the Class AA Region IV, Section 1 championship match held at PPHS.
The Lady Generals (27-13) and the host Lady Knights (20-14) battled through 25 ties and 17 lead changes over the course of four sets, with neither squad ever owned a lead of more than seven points throughout the match.
In fact, Winfield’s biggest lead was seven points (15-8) in Game 2 and Point led by as many as six points (20-14) in Game 3. Both programs also held leads in each of the four games played.
There were six ties and two lead changes in the opening set, with WHS eventually claiming its largest advantage at 24-19 before wrapping up the 2-point win for a 1-0 match edge.
After falling behind 15-8 in Game 2, PPHS rallied with 10 of the next 13 points and managed to knot things up at 18-all. Winfield, however, reeled off seven of the final 10 points for a 4-point win and a 2-0 match lead.
There were 10 ties and seven lead changes in the highly-contested third set, which included a 20-all tie in the game. Point Pleasant reeled off four straight points for a 24-20 cushion and eventually traded points the rest of the way for a 4-point win and a 2-1 match deficit.
There were four ties and as many lead changes in the finale, with WHS breaking away from a 12-all tie with a 12-7 run that gave the guests their largest lead of Game 4 at 24-19.
The Lady Knights broke serve and tacked on another points to close to within three at 24-21, but Winfield broke serve and the game with a Stella Kincaid spike that wrapped up the 3-1 match triumph.
Both Winfield and Point Pleasant advance to the Class AA Region IV championships on Saturday at Winfield High School. PPHS will likely face Scott in the first semifinal slated for 10 a.m.
The two semifinal winners will meet in the Region IV championship later that day, with the finalists also earning a trip to the state tournament next week.
Baylie Rickard and Maddie Thomas paced the hosts with 14 service points apiece, followed by Brooke Warner and Addy Cottrill with six points each. Katelynn Smith and Kianna Smith completed things for PPHS with five and two points, respectively.
Cottrill led the net attack with 11 kills and seven blocks, while Warner chipped in seven kills. Rickard and Kianna Smith each added four kills, while Adysen Lewis provided three kills. Rickard and Lewis also had two blocks apiece in the setback.
Katelynn Smith dished a team-best 27 assists and also had two service aces. Rickard also had two aces in the loss.
Kincaid led WHS with 19 service points and Cassidy Harper added 13 points. Haley Hovious led the net attack with 15 kills, while Kincaid chipped in 11 kills. Madison Jones and Albany Davis contributed eight kills apiece, with Natalie Baisden providing six kills and team-high three blocks.
Jones dished out a team-best 31 assists and Davis also handed out 14 assists for the victors.
Winfield previously won both matchups against Point Pleasant this year by 2-0 counts.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.