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Applemen defend sectional title, edge Eagles

November 02, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - The Hedgesville and Musselman volleyball teams are two of the best in West Virginia, and the Eagles and Applemen showed why in a thrilling five-game slugfest in the Class AAA Region II Section 1 final Thursday night.

While both teams played well enough to win, in the end Musselman prevailed 25-18, 19-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-12 for its third straight sectional title.

"It's the No. 3- and 4-ranked teams in the state, and both played to their ranking," Applemen coach Shawn Martz said. "Our area will be well-represented at states."

The two teams are prohibitive favorites to meet Saturday at Lewis County High School in the regional final - they'll each be strong favorites to win semifinal matches early in the day. If they do, they'll both play in the eight-team state tournament Nov. 9-10.

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"It was said by a few girls at the end of the game, this (match) is done with, and there's a bigger one Saturday," Eagles coach Lori Zick said.

When the Eagles and Applemen meet, it's always a big match.

Earlier this season, Hedgesville (20-3) had Musselman's number, beating the Applemen (25-3) three times and taking nine of 12 games. But the Applemen prevailed in the final of the Martinsburg Invitational on Oct. 13 to turn the tide.

Chelsea Wheaton had 50 assists, Erica Manor 22 kills and Sabina Nicewarner 20 kills to keep Musselman one step ahead Thursday.

"We just had to focus on playing together as a team, getting it together and pulling through, and we did it," Manor said. "(After the losses) we were more determined to beat them. It gave us the will to win. ... We have more confidence now than we've had the entire season."

"Before, we had our heads down so much when we played them," Wheaton said. "Now, we keep them up."

Kristin Kisner had 15 service points for Musselman, and she got them at key times. Her four-point run gave the Applemen a 20-13 lead in Game 1, and she served the final three points of Game 5.

"Kisner was one of the reasons we had the edge on them last year. She gets back there and jump serves and strings points together," Martz said. "She's a senior and she knows that's her role, and she's a big weapon for us."

Lindsay Hadley had a match-high 25 kills and five blocks for Hedgesville.

"Lindsay did what Lindsay does," Zick said. "She came through as a leader, hitting big, blocking big, tried to keep the girls positive and pumped up."

"Hadley had a great game," Martz said. "We're fortunate to beat them when she plays like that."

Devin Kesecker finished with 42 assists and 14 service points

"Devin has been key for us all year," Zick said. "It's kind of a strange thing because she's new to the setting position, but I'm really proud of the way she thinks. She's smart about where she puts the ball and mixes it up well. And she's become a leader as well."

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