Lady ‘Cats Win Sectional; Fall In Regional
The Paden City Lady Wildcats, just fresh off their Mason-Dixon Conference title last week, disposed of its Section I Region I opponent Bishop Donahue in four sets to claim the Section I title.
At last week’s Region I Section I tournament at Bob Burton Gymnasium, Paden City swept Valley 25-9, 25-14 and 25-11 in the semi finals, then clinched the title with a 25-15, 25-23, 12-25 and 25-18 victory over Donahue.
Both Paden City and Bishop Donahue advanced to Saturday’s regional field, which was at Wirt County.
“I thought the team had come together a little better as the night went on,” said Wildcats Head Coach Fred King.
“We didn’t play our best match, but we did what we needed to get the job done to get the win, and that is a mark of a good team.”
Junior Amanda Sellers recorded 81 sets, 44 assists, scored 15 points, while Alli Bertozzi provided much of the fire power with 23 digs, to help the ‘Cats in prove to 25-8 on the season.
In the first set of the championship match, Paden City gave up the first point on a bad serve and Bishop countered with an ace for a 2-0 lead. Paden City fought back to knot the set at two. Both teams took their turn with the lead until the set was tied at six.
With Sellers serving, the ‘Cats scored eight straight points, led by a pair of kills by Kim Davis and Bertozzi.
Bishop Donahue chipped at the ‘Cats’ lead with some nice volley play and a pair of kills to climb to within two points at 15-13 Paden City.
After a much needed time out by Coach King, the girls responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to claim set one 25-15.
Bertozzi and Davis had six kills between them, but as a team Paden City gave away three points on bad serves in this game and 10 for the match.
In the second set, Bishop raced out to a 4-0 lead and took an 8-1 lead thanks in part to some miss communication and net infractions. However, the ‘Cats worked it out and knot the set at 12 thanks to some nice setting by Sellers that set up two Bertozzi and Davis kills, including a trio of dinks by Davis. A back row kill by Bertozzi and a block by Davis had the entire Wildcat faithful to their feet right before a Donahue time out.
A service ace by Amanda Heasley, followed by a bad serve by each team, had the set knotted at 13. But, three straight kills by Bertozzi, an ace by Dominique Craft and another kill by Bertozzi put the home team in front 18-13.
Bishop wouldn’t go away, but climbed back into the set, knotting the match at 19. A Craft service ace, a Shauna Durrant kill and a Craft dink gave the lead back to Paden City.
The Wildcats were on the verge of winning the set with a Bertozzi kill at 24-21, but a bad serve and a couple nice volley points by Bishop Donahue had the game at 24-23.After some nice digs, bumps and saves by each team, Davis cocked her gun, and delivered a fresh kill just in time for the come-from-behind victory, to take a 2-0 lead in the best of five match.
In the third set, Bishop took a 2-0 lead until a ball from Bertozzi found the floor for a point. The Lady Bishops ran off a 10-2 lead and after a Davis kill, the ‘Cats fought back to cut the deficit in half at 12-6. But, the Bishops, with the encouragement of their crowd, took a commanding 23-10 lead. A pair of nice ’Cat assists from Sellers to Bertozzi narrowed the gap a bit, but a bad serve halted their attempt for a come-from-behind come back and fell 12-25 in set three.
In the fourth set of the sectional championship the Bishops scored the first two points, but thanks to an Amy Toman kill and block, the ‘Cats evened things up. A bad PC serve halted the ‘Cats’ charge and an ace and block by Donahue gave them a 6-3 advantage.
Two service aces by Sellers and a kill and blocked shot by Davis gave the hosts a 12-7 lead that Donahue couldn’t answer. Three kills by Bertozzi and two by Davis, helped by some nice volley points, gave the Lady ‘Cats a 24-12 lead.
Only needing a point to win, Paden City fell apart for a brief moment and Donahue answered with six straight points before giving Paden City the game with a bad serve.
Sellers led the ‘Cats with 81 sets, including 44 assists, while scoring 15 points and one service ace. Bertozzi scored only one point, but dropped in 23 kills and had three digs. Davis added 14 kills and two digs, while Tallman and Toman teamed for five kills and five digs. Durrant followed Sellers in the scoring column with 13 points, two aces and seven digs. Amber Palmer scored only three points, but added seven digs, while Craft and Heasley teamed for 19 points and two service aces.
Saturday’s regional was anything but kind to the Lady Wildcats however, as Williamstown prevented them from a trip to Charleston with a 3-0 decision.
The Lady Yellowjackets were defeated by Paden City not too long ago, but came prepared for the important rematch.
“When we played them at home, they didn’t get off the bus,” said Coach King. “They didn’t play until the second game and then we were able to get by them. They made a lot of athletic plays that we couldn’t make. They are a better volleyball team. When you compare their schedule to our schedule, we had a great season. Now our record was better than theirs, but some of the people they played made them more prepared for this day, more than what our schedule did.
“When we beat them at Paden City, that probably didn’t help us out because they came now saying, ‘This team can beat us, and we better be ready.’”
The Lady ‘Cats couldn’t get any rhythm together in the first two sets, losing 25-19 and 25-16 after taking early leads in both.
In the third set, Paden City was much closer throughout the game, but the Lady Yellowjackets took the game and the match 26-24.
Bertozzi killed 14 balls, while Davis had six in her final match as a Wildcat. Toman, also in her last match, had three. Both Tallman and Palmer had one. Sellers’ 25 assists came on 55 sets.
Defensively Palmer paced the ‘Cats with seven digs. Bertozzi had six, Craft had five, and Tallman and Durant had four each.
Palmer led the team in points with nine. Craft had five with Bertozzi following with four, Durant with three, Amanda Heasley with two and Sellers with one.
“When you look at the whole picture, I’d like to thank our seniors Kim Davis, Amy Toman and Shauna Durant,” said King. “They can live with the fact we won two titles and runner-up in another one, and advanced to regionals.
“The kids had a great year and we can’t diminish what we’ve done. Yes, we’re disappointed. Anybody would be. But we were put in situations today where we just didn’t respond.”