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Shady Spring repeats in Class AA

by Randall Jett

CORRESPONDENT

CLARKSBURG -- Shady Spring rolled to its second consecutive Class AA volleyball title, sweeping Magnolia, 25-11, 25-12 and 25-15, at Robert C. Byrd High School Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers only needed 57 minutes of play to complete a stellar season in which they finished with a record of 53-3-2. Ironically, all three of Shady Spring's losses came at the hands of Class AAA champion, Woodrow Wilson.

"We've been strong all season," SSHS coach Beth Gomez said. "The girls did really well and I'm proud of them."

The Tigers took control of the match on the opening serve and set the tempo for the remainder of the contest. Kelley Lilly killed Magnolia's Katy Talkington's serve, and the Tigers quickly reeled off five points before relinquishing the serve on a service error.

Ahead 18-11, Katie Kimbrell ended game one with seven straight service points that included one ace. Tiffany Underwood was strong at the net for the Tigers in that final run, making two kills -- including the game winner. Defensively, Shady allowed Magnolia only four service points.

Magnolia (26-16) gained an early advantage in game two, jumping to a 2-0 lead. Micah Bell recorded a kill for the Blue Eagles, and Shady Spring had a return volley go long.

The Tigers quickly wrestled the lead away, though, as Kimbrell hit two straight aces and Underwood recorded her seventh kill of the match to vault Shady ahead 4-2. From there, the Tigers controlled the game, allowing Magnolia only three points from the service line.

"The girls came out upbeat and ready to take home a second title," Gomez said. "They were pumped up about it and weren't going home without it."

Shady Spring never trailed in the final game, as Jessica Link led the way, scoring six of her nine service points. Krystal Warden led the way at the net with four kills.

Warden and Underwood led the Tigers with 11 kills each. Warden also added one block.

Nikki Mackey contributed with 10 points and 34 assists, while Kimbrell led all servers with 13 points.

For Magnolia, Bell finished with seven kills, while Trisha Kuhens and Laura Seavy had five points each.

n The Class AA all-tournament team was led by three Shady Spring athletes: Krystal Warden, Nikki Mackey and Tiffany Underwood. Others named to the squad included Chelsea Long of Philip Barbour, Jenna Rollins of Ritchie County, Micah Bell of Magnolia, Katy Talkington of Magnolia, Vanessa Lafon of Winfield and Sarah Park of Frankfort.