SOSA Staff Report
ALEXANDER — Wheelersburg’s volleyball program continued to run the table Saturday morning, competing at Alexander High School.
The Pirates earned three straight victories in six straight sets, to win the Spartan Invitational. Wheelersburg beat Athens (25-11, 25-7), Nelsonville-York (25-12, 25-11) and Alexander (25-20, 25-17) to win the title.
The title marks the second straight year where Wheelersburg has traveled to Alexander and rode back with the invitational’s crown.
“I felt the tournament win here last year was a major catalyst to the success we had and I’m hoping that defending the title will have the same effect,” Wheelersburg coach Allen Perry said. “Today’s win was a total team effort, from our senior hitters to our new setter Lauren Jolly, who is doing a fantastic job moving the ball around, to our junior hitters Kylee Barney and Emily Boggs, who brought the hammer today, and our sophomore middle Rylee Meeker, who seems to get more and more comfortable everyday.”
While Perry praised the aforementioned names, he singled out junior libero Kaylee Darnell, discussing her all-around play and gritty nature.
“The first thing I want to say is that you can’t ask for a better person. She has a great attitude and is very coachable, not to mention super athletic,” Perry said. “Last season, she moved to defensive specialist and is now our libero. She is playing stellar. She’s tough as nails and has really owned this new role. I could not be more proud of her. Our defense came up big today and Kaylee was a huge part of it.”
Coming into the day, the Pirates stood at 7-0 but hadn’t competed a match outside of the Southern Ohio Conference. They’re now 10-0 with three non-league wins.
“We’ve really been looking forward to heading back to Alexander to try to defend our title from one year ago,” Perry said. “We know it’s very difficult for any team to defend a title and we wanted to reach that goal.”
Still undefeated, Wheelersburg now looks towards Wednesday, when they’ll be back in action at Valley.
“The key to our hot start is really just a continuation of everything we are trying to build,” Perry said. “The majority of our team is back from last year and we really seem to pull on that experience and team chemistry. That’s not to mention our senior leadership from Alli McQuay and Mallory Bergan.”