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Eagles Complete Epic Comeback

October 3, 2018
BY BRUCE CRAWFORD - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

The red hot Magnolia Lady Blue Eagles lost their first two sets to regional rival Ritchie County, but fought their way back to win the next three sets, capturing the away match on Sept. 27.

After falling, 22-25 and 18-25, to host Ritchie in the first two sets, the Blue Eagles put together sets of 25-13, 26-25 and 15-13 for the amazing comeback to win the match.

The Bash Sisters - Mady Winters and Kyndra Pilant - controlled the net with 40 kills and 13 blocks, while adding 31 points - including 11 service aces. They bumped up 24 digs to pace the Blue and Gold. Leneica Grimm set up 40 assists, while serving up three points and just as many digs.

Article Photos

Photo by Cris Jenkins
Magnolia’s Mady Winters climbs the ladder to power an attack against the Tyler Knights while, from left, #15 Lenieca Grimm, Liza Clegg, Kayna Anderson, Kyndra Pilant, and Kennedy Parsons look for a return.

In addition, Alyssa Kocher and Kennedy Parsons evenly divided 10 points. Parsons made two digs, and Jaci Rhode accounted for four digs. Liza Clegg ended the Big Blue statistics with two service points and a pair of digs.

In the past seven days, the Blue Eagles have defeated the likes of Paden City, St Marys, Tyler Consolidated and now Ritchie. The Lady Eagles will look to keep the fire going with battles against River, Wheeling Central - and a Parkerburg South Tournament - just in time for the OVAC semi-finals matches in the coming days.


Blue Eagles Defeat Silver Knights

The Magnolia Bash Sisters, Kyndra Pilant and Mady "Mad-Dog" Winters, accounted for 41 kills to pace the red hot Blue Eagles to a four-set victory over Tyler Consolidated Sept. 25 inside the MHS Hammer Dome Gymnasium.

After playing the Silver Knights earlier in the season in the Oak Glen Volleyball Tournament - and coming away victorious, Eagles' head coach Pam Chapman and assistant coach Roger Clegg said they knew it was going to be a dog fight the next time around.

"We knew coming in it was going to be loud and knew they were going to come in and ready to play. They're a good ball team, and you can't take anything away from them. But we have practiced really hard all week, and we have kept telling the girls that there were going to be ups and downs in this game, and you will have to find a way to work through that. We were down at some point, and we told them to keep pushing, stick with the game plan we had, and they did. It worked out well for us."

In the first set, the Knights broke serve to get the party started, but Pilant came out firing and belted her first of 22 kills to even things up. However, a block by Alexa Johnson of Tyler Consolidated landed in bounds, but Pilant again blasted another kill for the Eagles.

Johnson blasted two of her nine kills to give the visitors back the lead at 4-2. After breaking serve, the Knights' Emily Lancaster landed her first of five kills to regain the serve. Madison DeVaughn came off the bench to serve up two Knight points, before a bolt of lightning struck the MHS Hammer Dome in a kill from "Mad-Dog" Winters. Kayna Anderson followed up with a service point before Regan Smith blasted her first of seven kills.

The Knights' Cora Grimm secured her first of five service points before Coach Chapman called a timeout. After the short break, the Eagles' Leneica Grimm deliver one of her 41 assists on the night to pull to within 9-6. But after breaking serve, the Knights were caught in the net.

Winters served up half of her four serves with aces to even things up at 10. But Josey Jones got her feet wet, smacked her first of 11-kills to retain the lead.

The Eagles jumped ahead for the last time a few moments later with an Anderson service point. The Silver Knights then outscored 11 of the next 12 points with the help of two Victoria Hood kills to win the opening set, 18-25.

Magnolia played inspired volleyball in the second period, jumping out to a 3-0 thanks to a pair of kills by the Bash Sisters, before the Knights broke serve. Pilant stopped the Knights in their tracks with her second of six kills in the set, but the Knights' Emily Lancaster and Johnson pounded back-to-back kills to pull to within 4-3 before Pilant launched another thunderous kill.

The set went back and forth pretty much until Magnolia out-scored their guests, 5-2, at the finish line - with the help of a Silver Knight service fault - to win, 25-18 to even the match at 1-1.

Pilant started the third set with a hammering kill, but it was short lived as Tyler scored five of the next six points with the help from a pair of Johnson kills and a JoLee Walton ace to take a 5-2 advantage. A few plays later Grimm served up an ace to pull to within a point.

However, the Knights scored the next six points that included kills by Johnson and Smith and an ace by Sadie Nichols to extend its lead to 11-4. But the Eagles returned the favor, scoring the next four points that included a Pilant ace and a Winters kill. The Blue Eagles would tie things up a few moments later on a Pilant kill, at the lucky 13-13.

The set went back and forth until Pilant went crazy, scoring six kills. Winters made a back row kill to take the lead for good at 22-17.

Hood broke serve with a block and another service ace by Nichols, closing gap to 22-19. However, the Eagles were to much as Pilant broke serve with a dink, while adding a back row kill. Winters closed the book with a block to put the Eagles up, 2-1, with a fourth set approaching.

Magnolia and Tyler each broke serve until it was all tied up at 5-5, and the Eagles would score seven of the next nine points with the help of a pair of Anderson services aces and a couple Winters slams.

From this point, the biggest part of the game was one team broke serve, and the next would win two, before the other team broke serve again with both crowds getting their price of admission money's worth.

With Magnolia holding a 22-15 lead, Pilant landed back-to-back kills and the Eagles were one point from winning, but the Knights would answer with a pair of Johnson kills to pull to within 24-17. However, the match ended with a service fault, and Magnolia won the set, 25-17, and the match - three games to one.

"This is a team effort," Chapman said. Our libero did a nice job of passing. She was all over the floor tonight. And our two middles, they just hit. It's hard to stop them. They did a fantastic job. Our center gets the ball to them. This is a total team effort. It took everybody (Tuesday). It just wasn't one person. But those three kids and our center, they did a very nice job for us."

Winters stuffed the stat sheet for Magnolia with 10 points and four aces, 19 kills, 13 digs and seven blocks, while Pilant compiled eight points with two aces, 22 kills, 15 digs and six blocks. Lenieca Grimm had three points, 41 assists and nine digs, while Kayna Anderson tallied 20 digs and served up an ace. Liza Clegg was solid with five points and 11 digs, while Alyssa Kocher served up a point and had seven digs. Jaci Rhode had five digs, while Zoey Jenkins tallied three points and one dig. Kennedy Parsons finished all the Blue Eagle stats, had six digs.

"Against a team like Magnolia or against any good team, you can't send that many free balls over the net," Tyler Consolidated Coach Richard Summers said. "We were out of system, threw a lot of balls back over there, and you give those kind of girls a swing at it, you can only dig so much. We were out of system all night. It's like a fumble in football."

"I do think that these are two of the best programs in the state," Summers added. "And to come in here and play on their home floor is not an easy thing. That was the second time we played, and they won both of them. There exists a possibility that we could end up playing five times. If they play well and we play well, it's possible sectional, regional and state. Season is not even halfway over for us. We got to take care of some things. Some of the people we were counting on didn't play well. But again, it's a tough environment up here at their home floor, and we'll get back to work."

Josey Jones compiled 11 kills and 16 digs. Peyton Kocher had 10 blocks and 10 points. Alexa Johnson had nine kills and six digs for the Silver Knights. Lancaster totaled five kills and four blocks, and Regan Smith stuffed the stat sheet with seven kills, six blocks, three digs and seven points. Victory Hood secured four blocks, and Cora Grimm secured 13 points and five points. Madison DeVaughn had four digs and JoLee Walton had 85 sets, 31 assists, four digs and four points.



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