CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Another quarterfinal finish at the end of a successful year.
The sixth-seeded Point Pleasant volleyball team had its 2020 campaign ended on Friday morning at the Charleston Coliseum, falling to third-seeded Oak Glen in the WVSSAC Class AA state quarterfinals.
The Lady Knights (13-11) — who also fell to a defending state champion in the quarterfinal round in their state debut last year — never led in the opening set, surrendering the first five points. Oak Glen led by as many as eight points, the first time at 14-6, and the last time at 16-8. Point Pleasant rallied back to within two, at 20-18, but gave up a 5-to-2 run, falling 25-20 in the first game.
PPHS led for the first time at the start of the second game, and was up by as many as three, at 5-2. The Lady Bears took the lead at 7-6, and after an eight-all tie, led the rest of the way to the 25-17 win in the second.
In the third, Point Pleasant scored the first three points, and six of the first seven. OGHS rallied to take an 8-7 lead, and never trailed again. The Lady Knights tied it at nine, and again at 17, but ultimately fell 25-21.
Leading the PPHS service attack, Baylie Rickard had six points, including a trio of aces. Kianna Smith earned four points and an aces for the Lady Knights, while Brooke Warner and Addy Cottrill picked up three points apiece, with an ace by Warner. Katelynn Smith and Tristan Wilson had two points apiece in the match, with an ace by Smith. Wilson and Rickard both had perfect serve percentages in the contest.
Wilson led Point Pleasant at the net with 11 kills and a block. Cottrill collected six kills, Rickard recorded two kills and a team-best 18 assists, while Warner marked one kill and a team-high two blocks. Kianna Smith claimed one kill for PPHS, while Kierra Smith had a block. Katelynn Smith led the Lady Knight defense with 10 of the team’s 33 digs.
Jadyn Smith paced Oak Glen with 11 service points, followed by Sydney Smith with eight. Teya Hall and Alayna Kranis claimed seven points each in the win, Gracie Wright added four, while Rory McNutt marked three.
Following the match, sixth-year PPHS head coach Marla Cottrill admitted it wasn’t the Lady Knights’ day, but noted the positive direction of the program after another trip to the state tournament.
“We just didn’t have it today,” Coach Cottrill said. “Getting back here, it’s taken hard work, putting in a lot of hours with the girls, and watching film. It’s always an honor to come to the state. To be able to have two sectional championships, back-to-back state showings on a 13-14 year-old program, it says a lot for the hard work and dedication behind the scenes. Also, we started that biddy league program a few years ago. My whole goal as a coach was to build a program, and I feel like we’re there.”
The Lady Knights will have just one senior to replace from this squad, Tristan Wilson, the team-leader in kills each of the last two seasons.
“It’s going to be hard losing her,” Coach Cottrill said of Wilson. “She’s our big gun, when she’s on, she’s on fire. We’re just going to have to look for someone to take her spot.”
Wilson was grateful for the opportunity to return to the state level following her final prep match.
“I’m so thankful for everything this season,” Wilson said. “We came in not knowing what seed we were going to be, and we lost our setter last year, that position was up in the air. Baylie (Rickard) stepped up and filled that spot tremendously. I’m just so thankful to be able to come back here and do this again.”
Oak Glen fell in straight games to second-seeded and eventual state runner-up Phillip Barbour in the semifinal matchup on Friday afternoon.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.