By Greg Talkington
The Exponent Telegram
CLARKSBURG – Shady Spring and Philip Barbour played a five-set thriller for the Class AA volleyball title two weeks ago.
That’s a scenario that could play out again next season and possibly for two more seasons, as both teams featured youthful key players this past season.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder the Class AA all-state volleyball team is dominated by the two schools, as both put two girls on first team and another on the second on the teams voted on by state volleyball coaches and members of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Philip Barbour junior hitter Alyssa Hill was the top vote getter in the class, and has been awarded the captaincy of the first team for her outstanding play.
The 5-foot-11 Hill came through with 370 kills and 66 blocks at the net, but also stood out on the back row with 335 digs in leading the Colts to a 35-9 record and runners up finish to the Tigers.
“Alyssa is the poster child for what happens when you put your whole heart into getting better,” said veteran Philip Barbour coach Heather Halfin, who has led the Colts to four state titles. “She really wants to play at the next level, so I can see her conditioning in the offseason and coming back even better.”
Hill is joined by teammate Emily Denison, a 5-10 sophomore. Denison put down 314 kills for the season and had a staggering 111 blocks. Colts’ sophomore Averi Carpenter was a second team selection, as she had 386 digs, 99 kills and 69 aces.
State champion Shady Spring had sophomore middle hitter Meg Williams and junior setter Kelsie Dangerfield on the first unit, and sophomore hitter Chloe Thompson on second team.
Williams led the Tigers with 231 kills and 43 blocks and also had 158 digs. Dangerfield led the team with 359 assists and 161 digs, while also coming up with 132 kills. Thompson contributed 182 kills and 154 digs.
“Kelsie was our setter, but she can really do anything out on the floor and is the glue to our team,” Shady Spring coach Kelly Williams said. “And Meg had to move to a new position this year and she took it with a positive attitude and speaks volumes about doing whatever it takes to make the team better.
“Chloe is a really solid hitter and her positive attitude was a great boon to our team.”
Williams knows her squad and the Colts could be matched again deep in the next two state tourneys.
“It’s really developed into a friendly rivalry and it actually started at the Hilltopper Tournament in Clarksburg when they were in middle school,” Williams said. “These girls talk on social media and are friends.
“There’s no doubt both teams will be in the thick of it for the next few years.”
Other first team selection include Abby Fazzini of state semifinalist Robert C. Byrd, Alayna Kranis of Oak Glen, who also made the state semis, Tristan Wilson of Point Pleasant, Nicholas County’s Olivia Jeckering, Winfield’s Jillian Fluharty and East Fairmont’s Somer Stover.
Fazzini, a 5-11 senior, led the Flying Eagles to the semifinals where they lost in three hard-fought sets to Shady Spring. She had 335 kills, 42 blocks, 125 digs and 80 assists.
The 6-foot Kranis led the Golden Bears with 401 kills, 267 digs, 54 aces and 17 blocks, while Wilson led Point Pleasant to the quarterfinals with 273 kills, 47 aces and 177 digs.
Jeckering came up with 114 blocks and 149 kills with 38 aces for Nicholas, and Fluharty led Winfield, which was expected to contend for the title, with 71 kills and was the leader of the Generals’ outstanding squad.
Rounding out the first team is the East Fairmont standout Stover, who led the Bees with 451 kills, 123 digs, 67 aces and 40 assists.
In addition to Thompson and Carpenter, the second team consists of Grafton’s Payton Shreve, Clay County’s Alisea McMillion, Herbert Hoover’s Sydney Shamblin, Liberty-Harrison’s Gabby Floyd, Frankfort’s Nia Smith, PikeView’s Anyah Brown, Robert C. Byrd’s Avery Childers and Winfield’s Erin Signorelli.
Shreve, a 6-foot middle hitter, was named captain of the second team for her outstanding play. She led the Bearcats with 288 kills and 69 blocks, while also serving up 64 aces.
McMillion, a senior middle hitter, led Clay with 150 kills, 156 digs and added 30 aces. Shamblin, a sophomore, led the Huskies to the state quarterfinals with 190 kills and 63 aces. Floyd, a sophomore, led the Mountaineers to their first winning season in eight years by averaging 12.7 kills per match.
Brown led PikeView with 252 assists, and added 63 kills, 33 aces and 121 digs, while Childers had 200 kills, 79 blocks, 167 digs and 111 assists for the Eagles.
Signorelli was an 89 percent server with 25 aces for the Generals.
CLASS AA, FIRST TEAM
Alyssa Hill, Philip Barbour Jr. (CAPTAIN)
Meg Williams, Shady Spring Soph.
Emily Denison, Philip Barbour Soph
Alayna Kranis, Oak Glen Sr.
Kelsie Dangerfield, Shady Spring Jr.
Tristan Wilson, Point Pleasant Sr.
Abby Fazzini, Robert C. Byrd Sr.
Jillian Fluharty, Winfield Sr.
Olivia Jeckering, Nicholas County Sr.
Somer Stover, East Fairmont Sr.
Payton Shreve, Grafton Jr. (CAPTAIN)
Sydney Shamblin, Herbert Hoover So.
Alisea McMillion, Clay County Sr.
Gabby Floyd, Liberty (Harrison) Soph.
Avery Carpenter, Philip Barbour Soph.
Chloe Thompson, Shady Spring Soph.
Anyah Brown, PikeView Jr.
Avery Childers, Robert C. Byrd Soph
Erin Signorelli, Winfield Sr.
Nia Smith, Frankfort Sr.
Special Honorable Mention
Faith McAfee, Herbert Hoover; Morgan Marshall, Wayne; Ziona Barnes, Weir; Ally Morris, Berkeley Springs; Adalynn Cottrill, Point Pleasant; Hollee Blair, Chapmanville; Brooke Presley, Shady Spring; Gabby Smith, Nicholas County; Virginia Breedlove, Keyser; Morgan Riffle, Lewis County; Maggie Poling, North Marion; Erica Poe, Bluefield; Anna Shaffer, Frankfort; Kaylen Parks, Independence; Jadyn Smith, Oak Glen; Sarah Brown, Westside; Lyndsey Heckert, Robert C. Byrd; Chloe Johnson, Fairmont Senior
Kerrigan Moore, Nitro; Katie Kennedy, Philip Barbour; Kierstin Stroud, Wayne; Kyra Davis, Independence; Sydney Smith, Oak Glen; Mya Williams, Winfield; Carlee Spielman, Berkeley Springs; Abbie Moore, Clay County; Jordan Heckert, Robert C. Byrd; Kaelyn Kesner, Keyser; Kierra Bartholow, East Fairmont; Haleigh Riggleman, Elkins; Reyvin Cottle, Logan; Kelsei Vance, Liberty (Harrison); Jayden Rogers, Roane County; Katlyn Clendenin, Sissonville; Lilley Criss, Philip Barbour; Abby Stovall, PikeView; Blaire McUmar, Weir; Brianna Cox, Liberty (Harrison); Lathea Hatfield, Westside.