Story & Photos
By Carl Holcomb
It was an emotional roller-coaster, but the Yellow Jackettes overcame a tearful deficit to upend Gilmer County in a fifth set tiebreaker to clinch a berth in the state volleyball tournament during the Region II Tournament in Baker last Saturday.
“We went into game four and were an emotional wreck,” Moorefield Coach Morgan Hill-See remarked.
Moorefield won the first set of the Region II Tournament semifinals 25-19, but Gilmer County rallied to secure a 3-1 lead in the match with victories of 25-16 and 25-12.
Moorefield senior Bethany Smith couldn’t hold back the tears entering the fourth set with the season on the line.
The Lady Titans appeared to have Charleston reservations being made with a 12-point lead before the Yellow Jackettes regrouped for an epic rally notching a 25-23 win in the fourth set with Moorefield senior Sumer Flinn jumping for joy.
Moorefield fought through a challenging tiebreaker to turn the tears into smiles at the end of the match winning 15-10 with senior Katlyn Tompkins taking a moment to cry after the state tournament berth was secured before joining her teammates with a huge shout of excitement.
The second set was looking good for Moorefield at the beginning with a 4-2 lead with two aces by Flinn, but that was erased with kills by Gilmer County’s Carly Somerville, Miah Moss, and Lindsay Chapman plus an error as the lead changed 6-4.
Moorefield senior Rachel Malcolm made a spike land in the back right corner after an error to knot the set.
The momentum shifted again with the Lady Titans 11 straight points with kills by Moss and Kylie Shuff and serves from Madisyn Furr being returned into the net.
Malcolm had an attack ricochet out of bounds, then served two aces to cut the gap 17-9.
Moorefield’s Rebekah Markwood earned a couple points to keep the set close at 19-14 as Lindsey Rinker and Kylie Crites made solid passes.
Gilmer County notched points in the end on errors and a final spike by Chapman to even the match 25-16.
Markwood made a dig on a serve to start the third set, but the attack went awry.
Malcolm gave the Yellow Jackettes the lead with two kills before sending the next attack out.
Chapman made a block and Moss got a kill to regain the lead for Gilmer County before Moorefield answered with a kill by Markwood and an ace by Smith.
An attack by Markwood was sent back into the net, but the next one went out.
A couple of errors kept the set close as it was knotted again at 7-all before the Lady Titans scored four more points on attacks by Somerville and Moss.
Smith pushed the ball over and it was returned into the net as the Yellow Jackettes got a point.
Gilmer County made a service line fault stepping across the line for a 15-10 score.
Moss and Shuff mades two kills apiece and Somerville landed an ace for a 23-10 advantage.
Attacks by Markwood turned into errors by the Lady Titans, but a kill by Moss and a block by Rinker out of bounds ended the set 25-12.
An ace by Tompkins and a kill by Flinn tied the fourth set at 2-all, then Gilmer County scored eight consecutive points including two aces from Allex Richison and a block by Chapman.
Several blocks by Rinker went out of bounds and some other errors allowed the Lady Titans to take a 17-5 lead with sights on Charleston becoming clearer, but Moorefield had other plans for a trip.
Smith made a push and it was sent back into the net, then Tompkins had an attack not returned as the momentum started to build for the Yellow Jackettes and amplified on an ace from Markwood as the sidelines jumped up in jubilation.
Smith earned two more points forcing errors and Moss was overzealous with attacks before another ace by Markwood closed the gap to 17-13.
Moss got a point to fall, but that was countered on a kill by Tompkins.
Markwood made several digs to keep plays going and Tompkins got a nice save off a hit by Somerville and Sarah Aviles volleyed the next attack out.
Rinker served an ace sandwiched by kills from Tompkins and Smith to tie the set at 18-all.
Tompkins give Moorefield the lead on a spike as the bench erupted again.
A warning was given for the players to sit down, but it was obviously hard to contain the excitement on that rally.
Frustration was clearly in the eyes of the Lady Titans as Moorefield kept the dream alive.
A service error was followed up by a kill from Tompkins, then Gilmer County had an attack land in the net.
Malcolm had an attack deflect out as the lead grew 23-20, but the Lady Titans fought back with two kills by Chapman.
Both sides made errors, then Smith earned the set point 25-23 as Flinn and teammates jumped with enthusiasm heading into the tiebreaker with the state tournament in sight.
Rinker made several digs early in the fifth set, but the attacks went out and a point by Shuff provided a 4-0 lead for Gilmer County.
Shuff reached over the net on a block attempt, then Smith got a point on a dink.
Moss fired three shots for an 8-3 advantage, then Smith and Malcolm saved the ball on another attack and it was returned into the net.
Ringer had an attack volleyed back out of bounds, then Flinn made a kill after a serve by Markwood.
Tompkins and Smith notched points to pull within on at 9-8, then Moss got another kill.
Smith pushed the ball over for a point, then Markwood hit the ball and a carry violation was called on the Lady Titans.
An attack by Tompkins was returned into the net by Aviles, then Somerville hit the ball out of bounds.
Markwood made a dig with Smith setting up Tompkins for a kill.
The Yellow Jackettes sealed the trip to Charleston with spikes from Tompkins and Flinn, 15-10.
This victory meant a rematch against East Hardy and the Lady Cougars won the Region II Championship.
“A lot of times the teams from the eastern panhandle are forgotten, so when teams like East Hardy and Moorefield can go it says a lot about our county and the athletes we have. It stands for any sport we have. Hardy County is a beautiful place, but is full of hidden athletes,” Coach Hill-See concluded.[/private]