Keyser tops Frankfort in rubber match, avenges loss to Moorefield
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Keyser and Frankfort squared off on Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Short Gap for their rubber match of the season. Each team previously earned a victory over the other, with both teams winning their respective home matches, with Keyser claiming victory on Sep. 15 in Keyser, and Frankfort coming out on top in Short Gap on Sep. 26.
Heading into the rubber match on Tuesday, the two teams were so close, not just the fact that they had each won a match against each other but the fact that the statistics showed the two teams to be tightly matched.
Consider this. After the first two matchups, the teams were tied with one match victory in the series, each team had won exactly three games and lost three games to the other, and if that’s not enough, here’s the kicker, each team had scored exactly 118 points in the series. Close enough for you?
With the teams so evenly matched, Tuesday’s matchup was sure to be a thriller, and it was. The two teams took it a full five games before a winner decided, and that winner was adorned in Black and Gold as Keyser earned the 3-2 victory.
“I attribute the win to teamwork, staying together. Those girls, when they messed up, they got out there and they brought each other up. They just knew, even though they were down at times, they just knew they could pull this one out, Keyser coach Kara Breedlove stated after the match.
Keyser opened up the match with a decisive 25-13 win in game one. The Falcons responded, however, gaining a close, 25-23 victory in game two, and just as close, 26-24 victory in game three to claim an early 2-1 edge. Keyser rebounded in the fourth game, earning a 25-21 victory to tie the match at two games apiece, forcing the deciding game five.
In that close game five matchup, Keyser claimed the 15-11 victory to also claim the match three games to two.
Was Breedlove concerned when the Lady Tornado fell behind two games to one?
“No, because I believe in these girls. I believe that these girls can pull every single game from here to the end as a win and make a change in their record,” Breedlove stated.
When asked if this win would give Keyser much needed momentum heading down the final stretch?
“Absolutely, we needed this win. They needed to know that Moorefield is nothing tomorrow and that we can take that win. If we get these two wins this week (Frankfort and Moorefield), next week, we’re going to be in the game. Their heads are going to be in the game, the momentum is there, we just took awhile to find it,” Breedlove explained.
On the losing end in this round, Frankfort coach Brooke Alkire-Higson is not overly concerned.
“It’s hard to beat a good team multiple times. I kind of compare this year’s matchups with Keyser to our competitiveness with Philip Barbour over the years. Keyser is legit this year, so we know that beat them you have to have your best day every time,” Alkire-Higson stated.
When asked her thoughts when Frankfort took the two games to one lead midway throught the match, Alkire-Higson responded with, “We were confident. However, with that being said, we knew that there was no backing down, no room for error. Unfortunately, in my opinion, they just out-swung us tonight. We weren’t able to get some swings on the wall that they did, and that’s the battle of the hitters is what it ended up being.”
Thoughts on what is certain to be at least one more matchup this season?
According to Alkire-Higson, “I’m an optimist, I feel like it’s our turn to win next time I guess. I took a lot of detailed notes this time to really work on our defense to improve. And really, our thing, I told the girls, we just need to hit the ball harder and take the chance every chance you get.”
Kaelyn Kesener, Summer Reid, Kaitlin Heavener, Gini Breedlove, and Saige Miller all stood out for Keyser in the win. Kesner had 26 assists and 13 points with 10 aces, while Reid earned 21 points with three aces. In addition, Heavener had 12 points and three aces along with 19 kills, while Breedlove had 11 kills and eight digs. Miller added six digs for defense.
For Frankfort, Nia Smith had four aces, four kills and eight digs, while Jaden Rapson added 11 aces and 15 digs. Anna Shaffer contributed 11 kills, Jaci Rowe added five kills, four digs and two aces, and Ann Ford had 13 digs, nine assists and two aces. Payton Mandell added 12 digs,
Keyser also claimed victory in the junior varsity matchup, defeating Frankfort two games to zero (25-16, 25-20). Alana Wildman had 13 points with five aces, six digs and four kills in leading the junior Tornado. Brookelyn Keller added seven points with three aces, three digs and three kills, while Connie Strother had 10 digs.
After defeating Frankfort on Tuesday, Keyser followed it up with a three games to zero victory over Moorefield the next day (25-13, 25-21, 25-22), avenging an earlier loss to the Yellow Jackets. Again, it was Kesner, Reid, Heavener, Breedlove, and Miller leading the way in the victory.
Kesner had 19 assists, 10 points with three aces and six digs, while Breedlove led the defense with 11 digs and four kills. Reid had eight points with four aces and seven kills. Heavener added nine kills and Miller had seven points with three aces.
The Lady Tornado also won the junior varsity match with Moorefield two games to one (21-25, 25-19, 25-13). Maddie Rhodes had 12 points with four aces and seven kills, while Alana Willdman added 11 kills and eight digs. Lily Saville contributed eight digs.