By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
PLEASANT VALLEY —
There was no official winner. The results didn’t determine playoff seeding or the conference champion. Even the matches were just played to three sets instead of their regular five.
But when Fairmont Senior, East Fairmont and North Marion got together Wednesday evening in East Fairmont’s gym, there was much more on the line than just a couple matches. As Fairmont Senior assistant coach Melissa Jura said, this one was about “bragging rights.”
And on Wednesday evening, those rights went to Fairmont Senior.
The Polar Bears defeated North Marion in two sets and East Fairmont in three to walk away from the three-team match as the winningest team of the evening.
“To have all of the county teams play together on the same night is great for the community,” said North Marion coach Kristin DeVaul. “It gets everyone out to see the girls play on the same night. It creates a different type of energy.”
The gym was buzzing when East Fairmont and Fairmont Senior started the evening by each defeating North Marion in two sets.
The Polar Bears jumped out to a 9-1 lead to start the first set against the Huskies. It set the tone as they went on to win, 25-6, 25-14.
The Huskies hung in against East, but ultimately the Bees also prevailed 25-12, 25-22.
The two victories set the stage for the East Fairmont-Fairmont Senior matchup in which the winner would be the clear-cut winner of the evening.
As often happens when cross-town rivals square off, the match was as closely contested as the two school are in proximity. Fairmont Senior took the first set 25-18 in a match that was tied three times. But the Bees bounced back to take the second set 25-21 to set up a decisive third set.
In the conference match earlier this season, Fairmont Senior took the first set only to see the match slip away. But this time, it was a different story.
The Polar Bears closed it out 25-16 to earn the bragging rights and a bit of redemption from earlier in the season.
“I don’t know why we didn’t win last time. I think we just wanted it more (this time),” said Polar Bears senior Gabi Pearse, who led the team with 11 digs. “We wanted to show them that we’re better and we can play them in any gym.”
Fairmont Senior defeated East Fairmont in three sets the first time the teams squared off this season. It was the first time the Polar Bears had defeated the Bees in East Fairmont coach Deb Spears’ five-year tenure at the school.
However, the Bees responded by winning the Big 10 Conference match in five sets just a few weeks ago. Jura said that the Polar Bears have not won a conference match against the Bees since at least the late ’90s.
Even still, the victories over the two county teams Wednesday proved the Polar Bears can contend for the top spot in the conference.
“This year has been very different for our volleyball team,” Pearse said. “It’s a lot different than we’ve had in the past.”
For the Polar Bears against the Bees, Ali Cumberland had six assists and two digs. Breana Pacoe had five aces, three kills and four digs. Emily Stoller had two aces, four kills, three digs and five blocks. Jasmine Johnson had two aces, five kills, two assists and seven digs. Kaden Whaley had six aces, 14 kills, one assist, four digs and two blocks. Micayla Willis had three kills and a block. And Sophie Libonati had a kill and five digs.
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.