Moorefield senior Alyson Simmons delivered an ace to force a tiebreaker fifth set against the Cougars after trailing two sets to kick off the second edition of the Hardy County Volleyball match as the Yellow Jackets exacted revenge evening the series against East Hardy last Thursday in the Hive: 20-25, 14-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-8.
Both teams have won at home during this season’s Hardy County Battle of the Nets and East Hardy started to stir the Hive up with an early jump on the score, but the Yellow Jackets buzzed to life defending their home with stinging serves and attacks to secure the comeback victory.
“We went to Frankfort on Tuesday and won the first two before dropping the last three. Tonight was a straight opposite as we dropped the first two and then they bonded together and came together as a team and won the last three. We played like we should be playing after we changed the lineup in the third game which made a huge difference. We saw a big difference in our serves and in our front net play. When you make those little changes, big things can happen. Not having that extra time off makes a huge difference and you could tell with our play. It was exciting to see them getting excited about each play and having that drive to get better. The girls were really into it tonight and they have a tight knit bond which is fun to watch as they work together. We don’t know what is going to happen hour to hour, so they are playing like this is their last match. Give credit to East Hardy, they played a good game. If you were here tonight, you saw a very good game,” Moorefield coach Morgan Hill remarked.
The Yellow Jackets took a 5-1 lead in the fourth set on kills by Remington Hinkle, Alyson Simmons and Sterling Kump.
A response by East Hardy lifted the Cougars to a 9-6 lead as a couple of errors opened the door for the rally.
East Hardy’s Emily Dyer had two serves not returned on a carry and a dig by Moorefield’s Kaleigh Hunt before Erin Riggle tied the set at 6-all with a spike for the Cougars.
An attack by Simmons sailed out and a serve by Dyer was spun back into the net prior to Riggle blocking a volley to create the 9-6 East Hardy edge.
Moorefield answered with seven consecutive points to regain the advantage 13-9.
Kump launched a volley which was sent flying awry by Riggle, then Kump served an ace and the next serve-receive by the Cougars went out as the fourth set was tied at nine points apiece.
Riggle smashed the ball across the net, but Hunt made a dig and Gracie O’Neill saved it with a diving play and Simmons tracked down the ensuing ricochet redirecting it for a point.
Simmons garnered another point on a push style kill and O’Neill’s next volley was returned into the net.
Moorefield went up 13-9 after a timeout as an attack from Simmons deflected off the Cougars into the ceiling rafters and landed on the floor.
East Hardy’s Gabby Miller made an attack, but Moorefield’s Hunt was there for a dig and Simmons pushed the ball back over the net and the ball was met with a dig by East Hardy’s Perry Whetzel.
Riggle sent a volley and Hunt notched another dig, but the sequence had the ball coming back to Riggle for a spike and an ace delivered moments later by Riggle, as East Hardy closed the gap 13-11.
O’Neill and Hinkle sandwiched push kills around a spike from Gabby Miller, then Hinkle crushed the ball down and another point was earned on a violation during an attack as Moorefield built a 17-12 lead.
An attack by Moorefield’s Amber Williams during the serve by Hailey Biser was returned out of play, then O’Neill made a block against East Hardy’s SierraMarie Miller which was saved by Riggle and Miller’s next shot was met by a dig from Simmons and not returned, 18-13.
During the serve by East Hardy’s Lily Riggle, SierraMarie Miller notched a point on an attack which ricocheted back into the net by the Yellow Jackets.
Miller created two kills and Riggle delivered an ace as the Cougars pulled within one point, 18-17.
A spike by Moorefield’s Hinkle was followed by an attack by Kump that was a blocked by SierraMarie Miller.
East Hardy tied the set at 19-all as Dyer made a dig and Erin Riggle notched a kill off a pass from SierraMarie Miller.
Miller made a saving dig on volley by Hinkle, then Erin Riggle blocked a shot by O’Neill for the Cougars lead.
Hinkle saved a shot coming from Erin Riggle and O’Neill’s hit was returned out of bounds, but the ensuing serve from Hinkle also went out as the Cougars went up 21-20.
A serve by Whetzel was met with a dig by Simmons and a volley by O’Neill was greeted by Lily Riggle with a set by Miller to Erin Riggle which was blocked by Simmons and saved by Lily Riggle.
Simmons and Erin Riggle swapped spikes, then Moorefield tied the set at 22-all on a kill from Kump after a dig by O’Neill.
Lily Riggle’s shot was scooped up by Hunt, but the ball landed in the net.
O’Neill smacked the ball across the net and the Cougars failed to return it as Moorefield locked the set at 23-all.
During a serve from Simmons, Hinkle made a push kill and the dig by Riggle deflected out.
Simmons finished off the fourth set with an ace for the Yellow Jackets to even the match and forced a deciding fifth set, 25-23.
The Yellow Jackets had a huge celebration gathering together after Simmons made that ace.
On an attack to begin the fifth set, East Hardy’s Lily Riggle notched a point as Moorefield’s Sterling Kump slightly reached over the net trying to alter the shot.
East Hardy’s SierraMarie Miller’s serve was redirected out of bounds and Erin Riggle made a kill moments later for a 3-nil edge.
Moorefield’s Amber Williams created a point off a spike and Kump’s attack was met with a dig by Dyer before Riggle landed the ball into the net.
Hinkle served up two straight aces to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 4-3.
Kump blocked a volley by East Hardy’s Courtney Shank, who managed to save the ball and Riggle punched it over for a point.
Lily Riggle passed to Miller for an attack that was returned into the net, then the Cougars took 6-4 lead as Kump’s shot was saved on a dive by Whetzel and Riggle’s redirect landed for a point.
A volley by Williams was met on a dive by Miller, but not returned and Kump created a block before Williams delivered two aces and another serve was spun back into the net to put Moorefield ahead 10-6.
Another serve by Williams was returned out of bounds by the Cougars prior to a timeout.
Williams doubled the lead 12-6 on the ensuing serve before East Hardy finally broke the serve on an attack by Gabby Miller.
Kump and O’Neill countered with spikes before Riggle answered with a kill as the Yellow Jackets held a 14-8 advantage for match point.
Riggle’s serve was swallowed by the net as Moorefield claimed the fifth set 15-8 and overall match 3-2.
East Hardy came out with a 12-2 advantage in the first set of the match, but the Yellow Jackets slow start quickly vanished with an energetic buzzing rally closing the gap to 16-13 and the Cougars clawed back to keep the score from getting any closer for a 25-20 win.
East Hardy’s SierraMarie Miller served to start the match and Moorefield’s Gracie O’Neill made the return, but the Cougars garnered the first point as Erin Riggle recorded a kill.
Perry Whetzel made a dig save against O’Neill’s shot and Riggle redirected the pass for a point.
The next volley by the Cougars went out, then Riggle and Simmons launched kills for a 3-2 lead.
Riggle made a kill, then Simmons had a shot saved by Lily Riggle, with Dyer knocking the ball over and it was scooped up by Kump, with Hinkle hitting the ball out.
Dyer’s serve was returned into the net, then Lily Riggle notched a spike and Dyer served up an ace before Erin Riggle collected a kill for a 9-2 score.
Hinkle’s volley sailed out after a serve from Dyer, then Miller’s shot was returned into the net by O’Neill.
Hunt launched a shot and Whetzel made a dig with Miller setting up Lily Riggle for a spike as East Hardy went up 12-2.
Moorefield’s rally started as Dyer’s serve hit the net, then Hinkle delivered an ace and Simmons smashed the ball for a point.
After a service error, Kump’s attack was met with a dig by Erin Riggle and Miller garnered a kill.
Lily Riggle made a save off a volley by Simmons, but the redirect went into the net.
Miller blocked a volley by O’Neill, who had the wherewithal to gather up the ball and push it over for a point as the Yellow Jackets trialed 14-7.
Kump and Williams created points off attacks to close the gap a little closer before Miller countered with a block.
A spike by Kump and a serve by Hunt returned into the net created a 15-11 score.
After a service error, Willams had a volley returned into the net by Dyer during Riggle’s serve.
Whetzel made a dig on a serve by Kump, then saved the ball on a shot from O’Neill before the next pass was taken and hit out for the 16-13 edge.
“We moved a lot and communicated better. We played our best game together, especially coming after being out for two weeks. We really came together tonight as a team. When we returned, it felt like it was our first practice since we hadn’t had a chance to bond. As a team we practiced hard to come back together and compete against teams with more games played than us,” Moorefield senior Gracie O’Neill noted.
Shank created a point off an attack and Miller’s serve was returned out as the Cougars went up 18-13.
There were a number of errors over the next couple of minutes plus a block by Simmons and a point created on an attack by Gabby Miller, giving East Hardy a 21-17 lead.
Miller added another point after a timeout prior to a two-hit violation by the Cougars on a volley from Simmons.
Riggle’s volley was returned out of play by Moorefield, then Miller served into the net.
SierraMarie Miller garnered a kill and the next serve by Riggle hit the net.
Hinkle blocked Miller’s volley, but Riggle redirected the ball for a spike giving East Hardy a 25-20 win in the opening set.
The second set was tight in the beginning with four ties, until the Cougars took a 7-6 edge and climbed away with a 16-9 spread before Moorefield earned several points to bring it down to 16-12 and East Hardy fired back to claim the second set 25-14.
In JV action, the Yellow Jackets edged East Hardy 26-24 and 25-20.
East Hardy hosted Union last night in the only game spared from the pandemic, while the Yellow Jackets’ matches against Pendleton County and Tygarts Valley are cancelled. Moorefield added a match at Keyser for tonight and will host Hampshire tomorrow.