POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A positive first step towards another long journey.
The Point Pleasant volleyball team started its quest for another state tournament berth on a very solid note Wednesday night with a 25-8, 25-16, 25-8 victory over Poca in a Class AA Region IV, Section 1 semifinal match held in Mason County.
The top-seeded Lady Knights (11-9) never trailed in the opener and the finale, and were never down by more than two points against the Lady Dots during the middle set.
In fact, there were five ties in Game 2 and PPHS was never down by more than a 6-4 count early on. Point Pleasant broke an 8-all tie with five consecutive points and were eventually ahead by double digits (24-14) before wrapping up the 9-point triumph.
The Lady Knights jumped out to a 10-0 lead in Game 1 and claimed their largest lead of the opener with the 17-point final outcome.
Poca managed to knot things up at 4-all in Game 3, but the hosts broke serve for a 9-6 lead and then received 13 consecutive service points from Addy Cottrill for an impressive 22-6 advantage.
The Lady Dots answered with consecutive points to close the gap down to 22-8, but Point reeled off the final three points and cruised to another 17-point win while wrapping up the straight-game decision.
The win advances Point Pleasant into the Region IV, Section 1 championship game on Thursday night as Winfield comes to PPHS at 6 p.m.
Kianna Smith and Cottrill both paced the Point Pleasant service attack with 19 points apiece, followed by Katelynn Smith with 10 points and Brooke Warner with two points. Baylie Rickard and Tristan Wilson also added a point each for the victors.
Cottrill posted a team-best three service aces, with both Smiths providing two aces apiece. Warner also had one service ace.
Wilson set a new school record for kills in one match after putting down 30 kills, eclipsing the previous mark of 20 set by Lanea Cochran in 2017.
Cottrill was next with eight kills, with Warner and Rickard respectively adding seven and six kills.
Rickard handed out a team-best 33 assists. Warner and Katelynn Smith each leading the way defensively with nine digs each.
Kayla Mallory led Poca with four service points and Hannah Gibson was next with three points.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.