CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Seven Williamstown seniors were on a mission and it was 100 percent accomplished via a total team effort here Saturday afternoon inside the Charleston Civic Center as the Yellowjackets turned back Little Kanawha Conference champion Tyler Consolidated 25-20, 25-21 and 25-15 to win the Class A state volleyball championship.
Although the Silver Knights had posted a victory against the Yellowjackets in their lone meeting this season, there was no denying Williamstown (39-8-1) this year after they came so close to winning it all in 2011 and had to settle for a runner-up finish.
One of those seniors, Kenzie Smith, put it best when she said "these girls are my sisters for life. We pour our hearts out into everything we do."
JEFF BAUGHAN Special to The Times
It’s a massive group hug around Williamstown’s Lauren Amos, center, as the Yellowjackets celebrate Saturday after winning the West Virginia Class A state title in Charleston. Williamstown scored a 3-0 triumph over Tyler Consolidated in the finals match.
Try as they might, Tyler Consolidated (45-5) just couldn't find a way to get around the blocking of Williamstown and its defense, which was led by senior libero Brooke Cieslewski, who posted a match-high 25 digs.
"Our libero is crazy good. Brooke is amazing and I'm on cloud nine," added Smith, who finished with four points, an ace, 12 assists, five kills, six digs and four blocks in the finals.
The Silver Knights were led by Allison Wable's five kills and eight blocks, but the quartet of Abby Atkinson, Bridget Matthews, Megan Carpenter and Sydney Reed were held to a combined nine downed spikes.
W.Va. State Volleyball Tournament
at the Charleston Civic Center
Class A Championship
Williamstown d. Tyler Consolidated 25-20, 25-21, 25-15
Tyler Consolidated (45-5) scoring: Allison Wable 7 (1 ace), Megan Carpenter 2, Sydney Reed 6, Haylea LeMasters 1, Shay Yonaley 7 (1), Torrye Cline 3; Setting: T. Cline 56-11 assists; Spikes-kills: Wable 23/26-5, Abby Atkinson 13/15-3, Carpenter 14/14-2, Reed 5/5-1, Bridget Matthews 16/16-3; Blocks: Wable 8, Atkinson 2, Carpenter 3, Matthews 2; Digs: T. Cline 17, Yonaley 14, Hilary Casteel 8, Kerstyn Cline 3, LeMasters 5, Carpenter 2, Wable 5
Williamstown (39-8-1) scoring: Brooke Cieslewski 5, Kenzie Smith 4 (1), Ciara Flowers 7 (2), Jessie Kerns 8 (2), Carley Ellison 4 (1), Ashton Chancellor 6 (1); Assists: Smith 12, Kerns 15; Spikes-kills: Cieslewski 2-0, Smith 9-5, Lincoln Postlewaite 13-7, Flowers 9-5, Lauren Amos 9-4, Kerns 1-0, Ellison 11-5, Chancellor 12-3; Blocks: Smith 4, Postlewaite 3, Flowers 8, Ellison 8, Chancellor 1; Digs: Cieslewski 25, Smith 6, Postlewaite 1, Flowers 4, Erica Amos 7, L. Amos 1, Kerns 6, Ellison 10, Chancellor 2
All-tournament team: Williamstown - Lincoln Postlewaite, Brooke Cieslewski, Kenzie Smith, Carley Ellison; Tyler Consolidated - Allison Wable, Torrye Cline, Shay Yonaley; East Hardy - Morgan Mongold; Magnolia - Mallory Chapman
"I told our girls Williamstown was on a mission and they played fantastic," said Silver Knight head coach Richard Summers. "We couldn't have played better.
"We hit the ball and did everything we needed to do. It just kept coming back. We had five seniors, but it's very hard to beat seven seniors."
Torrye Cline (three points, 11 assists, 17 digs) gave the Silver Knights a quick 2-0 cushion in the opening set from the service line and after teammate Shay Yonaley later served up an ace, things were even at nine.
However, consecutive downed spikes by Lauren Amos ignited a 6-2 spurt that included a Lincoln Postlewaite kill and a Carley Ellison kill block.
Thanks to a quartet of unforced errors by the 'Jackets, the Silver Knights later closed the gap to 20-19, but Ashton Chancellor had a key ace and Ellison ended the set with two kills, the final coming from one of Jessie Kerns' match-high 15 assists.
A trio of early downed spikes by Postlewaite helped WHS jump out to a 4-1 cushion in set two. Although a Reed service tally squared things at eight and it was 11-11 following a service point from Yonaley, a quick 5-0 run by the 'Jackets was capped by a Ciara Flowers ace as the Wood County program took control.
Despite Tyler battling back to within two at 21-19 thanks to a trio of Reed service points, Williamstown took a commanding 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five match when Ellison put down set point from a Smith assist.
A kill by Matthews along with an ensuing point by Wable gave Tyler Consolidated an early 5-4 lead in the third set, but consecutive downed spikes by Ellison and Chancellor put the Yellowjackets ahead for good.
Smith nearly served out for the win, getting five straight tallies, as match point was set up by a Flowers kill from a bad TCHS pass that resulted in Matthews taking one on the noggin. Although Smith followed that with a service error as she tried to squeeze it into an opening and missed, the 'Jackets were able to celebrate on the second match point when the Silver Knights were whistled for being in the net.
"I think last year was a great experience for us," Cieslewski said. "Last year was really intimidating. We had seven seniors and we all wanted it so bad. It was our last chance."
Postlewaite finished with seven kills while Flowers joined Ellison with five downed spikes. Kerns also added eight points and a pair of aces while Flowers and Ellison had eight blocks apiece.
"One (state title) is better than none. It's a good feeling," Ellison noted. "We used it (losing to Wirt County last year after being up two sets to one in the finals) as fuel for the fire. We wanted it so badly and it was kind of a blessing in disguise."
Williamstown head coach Rachelle Pallini's squad actually ended the campaign by winning each of its final 20 sets. The Yellowjackets lost the second set in Mt. Zion during sectional play to Wirt County and never lost another one.
It was the second title in school history for the Yellowjackets, who also won the 2004 crown.