Yellowjackets win second consecutive LKC title | News, Sports, Jobs


Williamstown volleyball players celebrate after clinching the Little Kanawha Conference championship Saturday in Ravenswood.
(Photo by Aaron Lee)

RAVENSWOOD — Williamstown claimed its second Little Kanawha Conference Championship in a row Saturday at an all-day tournament at Ravenswood High School. In the first-place match, the Yellowjackets defeated Ritchie County 25-18, 25-21.

The tournament consisted of two pools of four teams in which each team faced each other in the pool before going on to play for 7th, 5th, 3rd, or 1st depending on the results of the previous three matches. The final standings were: 1) Williamstown 2) Ritchie County 3) Clay County 4) Ravenswood 5) Gilmer County 6) Roane County 7) Tyler Consolidated 8) Doddridge County.

In the championship match, Ritchie County started off strong, with its lead stretching as high as five at 10-5. The Rebels were able to take such a lead thanks to a booming spike by Anna Law as well as back to back aces hit by Sydney Kopshina.

Williamstown responded by scoring six straight points to take the lead at 11-10. Akhia Miller hit a couple of key spikes that aided the comeback.

The teams stayed relatively even until around the 15-point mark, when the Yellowjackets began to pull away. Kyndra Johnson had an ace that gave Williamstown a 2-point lead at 17-15. The lead continued to grow thanks to a couple of impressive spikes by Claire Strobl, and another by Miller. The Yellowjackets claimed set one 25-18.

Rae Rupert gave the Rebels a 3-2 lead in the second set on a great spike. However, Williamstown took the lead with four consecutive points. Strobl had a block and a spike on the same volley, and then another block on the next. The Yellowjackets extended their lead to 8-4 on an ace by Keatyn Haynes.

The Rebels faced a deficit as high six at 13-7, but managed to come back and tie things up at 14. Kila Frymeir hit two aces, and Jayci Gray and Kopshina came through with clutch spikes.

Ritchie Count took the lead at 16-15. Haynes and Riley Landis had impressive digs on the point but neither were enough to prevent Rebel Laci Hilkey from sealing the deal with a spike.

Later in the set, Williamstown regained the lead and found itself up by 3, 22-19. Ritchie County managed to cut the deficit to two on a thrilling point that seemed to go back and forth for an eternity. Becca Shamblin of Williamstown had three digs on the point, and Rupert of the Rebels had two blocks.

After a couple of excellent spikes by Miller and Landis, the Yellowjackets clinched the second set and their second straight LKC title by a final score of 25-21.

Rebels head coach Michelle Jones was proud of her team’s performance throughout the day despite coming up short in the last match, “Obviously you want to win ’em all, but Williamstown, credit to them, they have a solid team. There’s a lot of little stuff we did on our side. We set them up perfectly a couple of times unfortunately, and they gave it right back to us. Overall, I’m proud of my girls. They worked hard, they didn’t quit. They could’ve easily given up, so I’m happy with the overall result. Coming out of pool play this morning undefeated, we only lost one set, so overall a good day.”

Williamstown head coach Rachelle Cole outlined her thoughts on the Yellowjackets’ performance throughout the tournament, “I thought we came out pretty strong this morning. We won big to open up the day. We just focused on playing at our speed all day, and our strengths, so we wanted to stay aggressive and try to control the tempo of the game, and I think they did a good job of that. I think when we got to the finals, it’s always a tough fought match with Ritchie, they’re a really good program, but we just made less mistakes and I think the girls played really aggressively.”

Looking forward to the postseason, Cole emphasized that Williamstown will be taking it, “Just one game at a time. Our conference is really competitive, but so is our section, so it could be a situation where we see Ritchie again, and we know they’re a good team, so you can never count anybody out. You have to come ready to play every day like it’s going to be your last so that it’s not. We’re just excited to see where this season takes us and hope for the best.”

Strobl echoed her coach’s mindset, “With our postseason, we really just need to focus on the moment and each match individually, because we have a lot of good competition in our section and then even in our region, and we’re gonna take it one match at a time.”

She put the team’s season in perspective to show how far the Yellowjackets have come in a few short months, “I’m just really proud of us because we were struggling a bit at the beginning of the season, and these last couple weeks we’ve really capitalized as a team, and we’ve just been winning a lot and doing really well, like our team bonding has been really good.”

On winning a second straight LKC title, Strobl said, “It feels really good. It’s just fun to have more plaques on the walls.”

Contact Aaron Lee at [email protected]

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