Tigers give seniors win in final regular-season tilt

ELKINS – The Elkins High School volleyball team closed their regular season Wednesday evening with a straight set victory over the Grafton Bearcats (25-16, 25-18, 25-8) at Richard P. Simmons Memorial Gymnasium.

It was also Senior Night, and the Tigers honored Shirley Fox, Kayla Simmons and Caroline Valdez.

The first set started slowly for the home team and they fell behind as they did not seem to be communicating well.

Elkins coach Penny Crawford called a timeout and the team settled down. The Tigers re-took the lead at 8-7 on a Simmons’ kill shot and Tessa Krantz served to an 11-7 advantage.

After a couple of side outs, EHS extended the lead on an ace by Lakin Hitt, a kill by Valdez and another kill by Taylor Miller.

The Tigers’ Zandra Kelly later served from 19-11 to 23-11 before Grafton’s Jaymie Snider hit a couple scorching serves to bring the guests back to 23-15. But a side out and a kill by Hitt ended the first set at 25-16.

Grafton had an early lead in the second set at 5-2 before Simmons served to give the Tigers a 7-5 advantage. A kill shot by Cassie Plishka aided the turnaround.

It was still an even set but at 12-all, Kelly served to stretch the score to 17-12.

Simmons then took charge by hitting three kills in a five-point sequence, and Hitt served out to a 22-14 lead.

Snider again tried to bring the Bearcats back, getting to 18-22, but the Tigers’ advantage was too large and the second set belonged to the hosts, 25-18.

The third set was all Elkins as the visitors seemed to lose their focus.

Kelly, Hitt and Plishka staked the Tigers to a score of 20-6. After another kill shot by Simmons, Elkins had a 15-point lead at 22-7. Two side outs and two points on Hitt’s service later in the set ended the match by a final count of 25-8.

Statistics for the match included Hitt with eight aces, followed by Plishka with seven aces. Simmons led the way with 10 kills and Miller added seven kills.

The EHS junior varsity squad also won their match in straight sets (27-25, 25-23) and end the season with a 3-17 record.

The Tiger varsity team finishes the year with a 7-10 record and will begin sectional play at 6 p.m. Monday at Buckhannon-Upshur. The other half of the section will pit Lewis County against Hampshire.