Photo courtesy of Sarah Dunn The Wood County Christian volleyball team defeated Elk Valley Christian in four sets Saturday in Charleston to claim their first WVCAT championship in six years. The team members are, left to right: Sophia Thibault, Assistant Coach Sarah Spurgeon, Sophia Board, Logan Jackson, Haley Wilkinson, Sophie Seckman, Camryn Yoho, Stella Dunn, Skylar Wilkinson, Rowyn Wharton, Samantha Erlandson, Kylee Border and head coach Naddine Border.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Still in its infancy in terms of WVSSAC membership, don’t fall asleep on Wood County Christian Volleyball.

The Wildcats are coming off of their first WVCAT championship in six years after coming through the bracket as the No. 6 seed and winning four games over a two-day span last weekend in Charleston.

The run culminated in a four-set victory over top seed Elk Valley Christian in the championship match by scores of 25-23, 26-28, 25-12 and 25-21. The Wildcats avenged an early season loss to the Eagles and improved to 21-5 with one regular season game remaining Thursday against Ritchie County at home in Williamstown.

“All weekend we didn’t miss a lot of serves and didn’t give up a lot of points – the girls played very smartly,” Naddine Border, second year WCCS coach.

“Before the game, I pushed my captains away (Kylee Border, Sophia Board and Rowyn Wharton). I told them we didn’t want to have what happened last year when we lost in the championship. I told them to make sure they were leaders on the field and to keep everyone calm. And they did.

“Saturday’s game was intense. We call Elk Valley the returning queens because they are very scrappy and rally very quickly.

On Friday, WCCS secured a place in the final by beating Cross Lanes Christian, Mercer Christian Academy and second-seeded Victory Baptist Academy. In three games, the Wildcats have dropped just one set.

“After defeating Elk Valley, I think the girls were surprised,” Border said. “We were seeded low, we went all the way and won it all. These girls are very talented and have a high volleyball IQ. There was no doubt that they could do it. They just needed to believe in themselves.

Of an 11-member roster comprising nine subclasses, it was two juniors and a freshman who earned post-tournament accolades at WVCAT. Libero Sophia Thibault received Most Valuable Player honors, while teammates Haley Wilkinson and Wharton also made the All-Tournament team.

“Sophia has improved a lot – she is very fast” Border said. “She’s definitely a leader on the pitch and valuable to the team. Another junior, Rowyn, is our passer. She has great hands and makes really good decisions on the pitch.

“Haley is a freshman. We call it the beast. When she’s in the front row, she has so much power that I tell the girls to feed the beast.

As the No. 4 seed in a six-team pool, WCCS opens Class A section action on Monday against St. Marys. Teams qualifying for the championship game qualify for the regionals. The Wildcats see no reason why they can’t be considered a challenger.

“The girls are soaring – they are convinced they can be competitive”, Border said. “I think they can’t wait to leave. We’ll see what we can do in the sections.

Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]

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