Knights, Wolves to meet for state volleyball title
CHARLESTON — The SSAC state volleyball tournament will have a new Class AAA state champion Saturday, and it will come from one of two schools sitting about a half-hour’s drive from each other.
Spring Valley and Cabell Midland emerged from an all-Mountain State Athletic Conference semifinal round Friday at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center as the two entrants into the Class AAA championship. That match will follow the Class AA title game that will kick off the day at 9:30 a.m.
The Timberwolves swept St. Albans 3-0 by scores of 25-20, 25-23 and 25-18. The Knights also won in straight sets over Woodrow Wilson, winning 25-23, 25-18, 25-15.
“We are really excited to be back in the title game, and looking forward to it,” Spring Valley coach Cadara Shreve said. “We have beaten (Midland) several times but they are a very good, scrappy team. It’s going to be a tough match.”
“I’m so proud of them,” Midland coach Julie Brumfield said of her Knights. “It’s going to be a good game. We got (Spring Valley) in the regionals. It’s a good rivalry. It could go either way. It just depends on who wants it more.”
Musselman had won the past two state titles and four of the last five, and had made the
The Red Dragons looked unstoppable in the first two sets versus Morgantown, winning 25-9 and 25-12. The Mohi-gans rallied to win the third set 25-21 and held an 8-3 lead in the fourth. But St. Albans was able to bounce back and take the fourth set and the match 25-21.
Spring Valley opened the morning session with a doozy, taking on the Musselman team that beat the Timberwolves in last season’s state tournament final. The Applemen even took the first set, 26-24.
SVHS bounced back to sweep the next three close sets, 25-21, 27-25 and 25-20.
“It was a good challenge for sure,” Spring Valley coach Cadara Shreve said. “We prepared all week for this game. We knew coming in that it would be a dogfight. We were kind of glad to get them first up and maybe get a little revenge right off the bat.”
Cabell Midland coach Julie Brumfield said her Knights were still riding the high of beating Spring Valley in the regionals, which gave them the boost to vanquish Hedgesville. CMHS took the match 25-18, 25-10,21-25,25-18.
The Spring Valley win was a massive confidence boost, but Brumfield knows the team must be able to buckle down when the adrenaline of that victory wears off.
“They just can’t let up,” Brumfield said. “You just have to keep pushing. That’s hard when you’re tired, but you have to just keep pushing. They’re just a great group of girls.”
Elsewhere in the morning session, the area’s two Class AA entrants ended their runs in the quarterfinals in three sets. Nitro lost to power Bridgeport 25-9, 25-14, 25-13. Winfield lost to Nicholas County 25-20,25-20,25-16.
Nitro head coach Nicole Atkinson said her players were proud to reach the state tournament, but couldn’t help but be disappointed they couldn’t advance. That’s a mindset that will help the Wildcats in the future.
“They’re ready to come back next year even harder,” Atkinson said. “They’re already talking about it. That’s one of the things we’ve worked on — a killer instinct, wanting it, knowing you can win and believing in it.”
Unforced errors hurt Win-field against Nicholas County, who was led by 6-foot middle hitter Anna Hamilton. Hamilton hammered down several big kills.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Todd Higginbotham said. “We had a lot of balls fall that normally don’t fall. But I told the team I’m proud of them. You don’t get this far without working hard, so they should walk out of here with their heads held high.”