Spring Valley, Cabell Midland to meet in state volleyball title match
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 -championship game eight straight times. Spring Valley knocked out the Applemen in the quarterfinals this year, 3-1.
In the other Class AAA quarterfinals, St. Albans defeated Morgantown 3-1, Cabell Midland knocked off Hedgesville 3-1, and Woodrow Wilson beat University 3-0.
Brumfield was proud of the success of the MSAC, showing the depth of the conference.
“I think it says everything for the conference,” Brumfield said. “It’s a big deal. It just shows how tough the conference is with four teams making the semifinal.”
The victory over the Applemen was a huge confidence boost for the Timberwolves and a bit of redemption after being state runners-up last season, falling to Musselman in the championship game.
“That was a really big win,” Shreve said. “Last year left a bad taste in our mouth, so we wanted to come back and get them (Musselman). Most of the girls are back from last year and that was a big motivator all year.
For St. Albans, it marked the second straight year at the state tournament under coach Rex Eggleton. The Red Dragons fell in the state quarterfinals last season. This season also marked the first time the Red Dragons won their sectional title in program history.
Elsewhere in the tournament, the Kanawha Valley’s two Class AA entrants ended their runs in the quarterfinals in three sets. Nitro lost to Bridgeport 25-9, 25-14, 25-13, and 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 Winfield against Nicholas County, which was led by 6-foot middle hitter Anna Hamilton. Hamilton hammered down several big kills.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Winfield coach 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.”