Keyser volleyball big winners on Senior Night

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Keyser's seniors were victorious on Senior Night, winning three games to zero over Southern. Pictured are Saige Miller, Amber Smith, Kaitlin Heavener, Abigail Smith, Kaelyn Kesner, Rebekah Biser, and Summer Reid.

Talk about a one-day turnaround. On Tuesday night, Keyser volleyball traveled to Berkeley Springs, put in an uncharacteristically bad performance, and fell three games to zero to the Indians. One night later, on Senior Night in front of a large home crowd, the Lady Tornado flipped the switch, beating Southern Garrett three games to zero. 

In game one, Keyser started slow, so much so that it looked like there may be a continuation of the uncharacteristically bad play from the night before. The Black and Gold righted the ship, however, bouncing back from an early deficit to top Southern 25-20. 

Games two and three were all Keyser as the Lady Tornado piled on game wins of 25-6 and 25-15 to sweep the Rams and earn the three games to zero victory. 

“We needed the win after last night’s loss, a loss that was unexpected. We started out slow. I was a little worried that last night’s team, a team I don’t know, was back, but they stepped it up and brought back the team I know,” Keyser coach Kara Breedlove stated after the match. 

According to Breedlove, “It was a nice night, everybody got some playing time and everybody felt part of the win.” 

Being Senior Night, however, Breedlove was especially proud of the efforts of her Seniors, not just on this night, but for what they’ve meant to the Keyser volleyball program. 

“They have been significant contributors, Keyser volleyball has needed them. Their heart, their dedication to the sport. Tornado volleyball has significantly improved because of their dedication. When I had summer practices, I guarantee you every senior was there. That sets the tone for the entire team,” Breedlove explained. 

According to Breedlove, “They set the tone. As juniors, they tried not to overpower the seniors last year, but I only had three, so they had a hard time sitting in the background. So, they really started taking that leadership role last year, being role models. I think it really shows this year.” 

Breedlove then went on to say something about each senior girl on the squad. That information follows: 

“Kaelyn Kesner, I think I’ve said it before, this is her fourth year as a varsity setter, which is unusual. She has busted her butt since she was in the sixth grade. She plays travel ball and high school ball every year. She went up to a very competitive level of travel ball this year and it shows. She’s taken on the role as the captain on the floor.” 

“Kaitlin Heavener, she has done the same as Kaelyn, playing travel ball since seventh grade. Her game has improved every year. I would have never guessed when she was in the sixth grade that this is how she would be playing her senior year. It is definitely earned, she has definitely worked hard for it. She’s going to be missed next year, she’s our big swinger.” 

“Summer Reid sits back and is the quiet one, then all of a sudden you know she’s there when she starts swinging. She’s one of those that’s a natural athlete. She hasn’t traveled because she plays both basketball and volleyball, she just picks it up right away. In the huddle I suggest something, and the next play she does it and gets the point. She’s very coachable and I would recommend her to anyone on her college team.” 

“Rebekah Biser has played since the sixth grade, and she’s come a long way. You know the whole Biser clan, when she couldn’t get her overhand serve I reminded her it was just like hitting your brothers. She has really stepped up in that back row. She told me she wanted to be a back row player and she has really stepped up her game.” 

“Saige Miller has payed travel ball all the way through Middle School as well. She has always been designated a back row player, and has really stepped up her game. She is the prime example I tell the JV’s to look at for the way she plays. She’s a role model for the younger players in terms of how to play the back row the right way.” 

“Abby Smith is a setter. She came in her freshman year after never playing in Middle School. She knew she had some catching up to do and we did a lot of work. She started traveling, picking up the game, and was a setter on JV her freshman and sophomore years. She stepped up her junior year and became a setter on varsity. Abby has taken a lead in that position.” 

“Amber Smith has played as a defensive player, starting to play her freshman year. Her and her twin Abby have traveled to catch up with the other girls and it really shows. Amber is one that works on exactly what you ask her to. Her passes, for example, she’s improved her game from a passing perspective and it has shown the last few games.” 

What a difference a day makes, from a poor performance at Berkeley Springs on Tuesday to an impressive, dominant performance against Southern the next night. Making things extra special is the fact that the impressive performance occurred at home and on Senior Night.