ASHTON, W.Va. — One group was coming away with its first victory of the year.
The only question was which one?
The Wahama volleyball team broke into the 2016 win column Thursday night during a 19-25, 25-13, 25-15, 25-17 decision over host Hannan in a non-conference match between Mason County programs.
The Lady Wildcats (0-19) battled through seven ties and eight lead changes before picking up a Game 1 win, but the visiting Lady Falcons (1-19) responded by trailing only once over the course of the next three contests while securing their first triumph of the fall campaign.
HHS scored four consecutive points to rally back from an early 2-0 deficit in the opening game, but Wahama answered with an 8-1 run to take its largest lead of Game 1 at 10-5.
The Lady Cats rallied to tie things up at 14, 15, 16, 17 and finally 18-all, then reeled off four consecutive points for a 22-18 cushion.
WHS never came closer than three points (22-19) the rest of the way, and Hannan scored the final two points to win Game 1 by a six-point margin.
The Lady Falcons never trailed in Game 2 as the guests broke away from a six-all tie with six consecutive points for a 12-6 edge.
The hosts closed the lead down to 12-9, but a 13-4 run the rest of the way allowed WHS to knot the match up at one apiece with a 12-point triumph.
Hannan took its final lead of the night at 1-0 in Game 3, then the guests broke away from an eight-all tie with a 13-2 surge en route to a 21-10 edge.
Wahama led by as many as 12 points (24-12) and HHS was never closer than 24-15 as the Red and White secured a 2-1 match advantage with the 10-point outcome.
Wahama broke away from a one-all tie in Game 4 by using a 13-2 run to take its biggest lead at 14-3. Hannan whittled that lead down to as much as six points on five different occasions, but the guests broke away from a 21-15 edge by scoring four of the final six points to wrap up the 3-1 match triumph.
In all, there were 13 ties and 17 lead changes in the contest. Wahama also held double-digit advantages in all three of its wins.
Following the long-awaited triumph, WHS coach Matt VanMeter was thrilled that all of the hard work put in by his troops this fall finally came with a reward.
“I’m really happy for the girls because tonight is the first victory for some of these kids at the varsity level. Seeing the smiles, I’m glad that they have been able to experience this,” VanMeter said. “Hannan wanted that opening game more than we did, so I asked them after the first game if we were going to give up or if we were going to fight back. I was really proud of the way they responded.”
On the other side of things, HHS coach Kellie Thomas was disappointed with another loss. But, with the Lady Cats still missing four starters due to injuries, she was absolutely not disappointed with her team’s effort.
“Given our limited numbers and our lack of overall experience on the court right now, I thought this was the best match that we’ve played all year,” Thomas said. “We hustled, we moved and we came ready to play from the start. I’m happy with the girls and the effort that they are giving. I cannot ask for anything more out of them, except for them to stay healthy.”
Maddy VanMatre led the WHS service attack with 22 points and Gracie VanMatre was chipped in 10 points. Madison VanMeter and Hannah Billups were next with six points apiece, while Elizabeth Mullins and Makinley Bumgarner wrapped up the winning tally with five points each.
Billups led the guests with six kills, followed by Mullins with two kills and a team-high two blocks. Bumgarner also had a kill for the victors.
Pamela Ochs led the Hannan service attack with nine points, followed by Kassidee Bush with seven points and Josie McCoy with six points. Cassidy Duffer was next with five points, while Mackenzie Barker and Halley White each chipped in two points.
Bush led the hosts with four kills, with Duffer and McCoy each recording a kill. Duffer also had the Lady Cats’ lone block in the setback.
Hannan returns to action Tuesday when it welcomes Lincoln County for Senior Night festivities at 6 p.m.
The Lady Falcons return to play Wednesday when they host Hannan during Senior Night festivities at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.