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Musselman wins state volleyball title

November 16, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - For five years, Musselman's volleyball team has been climbing higher up West Virginia's Class AAA ladder.

On Saturday, the Applemen stood on the top rung.

Senior outside hitter Erica Manor had 38 kills and 20 digs, and Musselman held on to defeat Ripley 25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 15-11 in the Class AAA state final at the Charleston Civic Center.

The state championship is the first for any Musselman girls team. It comes a year after the Applemen fell to Parkersburg in the state final in five games.

"It was extremely rewarding to see," Musselman coach Shawn Martz said. "A lot of people last year, after we graduated a strong senior class, didn't think we'd be as strong this year, and for these kids to work hard in the offseason and have an even better year, it's great.

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"It's pretty historic for our school and our program."

Manor - who averaged more than six kills per game this season and will receive strong consideration for the West Virginia Player of the Year award - helped Musselman complete a perfect 19-0 mark in best-of-5 matches this year.

"She's a special player," Martz said. "She's extremely important to us. We're just a different team when she's at the net. We're a lot more efficient as far as putting points together in a row, since she hits at such a high efficiency."

Sabina Nicewarner had 14 kills and 17 digs, and Kayla Johns added 51 assists and 14 digs for Musselman.

Johns entered the season as the replacement for Chelsea Wheaton, a Herald-Mail All-Area First Team setter last year.

"That was our major question entering the season," Martz said. "She by far exceeded my expectations and did a great job running our offense. She's one of our best servers, too."

Brooke Fritts had 33 digs and Tori Shawyer had 13 digs for the Applemen, who finished with 105 digs as a team - 19 in the Game 5 race to 15.

"Usually it's our serving that bails us out, but tonight it was our defense," Martz said.

Manor, Nicewarner, Fritts and Dana Lambert were named to the all-tournament team.

"All of our kids stepped up at different times during the season," Martz said. "All year long, two or three stepped up, and in the semifinals (Friday) everybody had a very efficient match. It was nice to see them all hit their peaks at the same time."

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