MARTINS FERRY - Martins Ferry closed out its regular season at home Thursday night without head coach Chuck Probst who had an illness in the family and was unable to attend senior night in Tolbert Gymnasium. The coach was not forgotten by his players as they chanted his name before the fifth and pivotal set which they won 15-10 to earn the win over visiting Buckeye Local.
'"The girls were all saying 'This is for Chuck,' in that last set," Martins Ferry assistant coach Amanda Murray said. "I was sweating bullets, but they kept their cool and pulled it out in the end."
The Panthers won the opening set as senior Kierstyn Czuchran set up game point with a kill. The final point in the match came from the officials as the Purple Riders were called for a substitution violation and Buckeye Local was awarded their 25-19 final without a serve.
Martins Ferry’s Sarah Staats, left, attempts a block of Buckeye Local’s Morgan Staten, right, while teammate Kierstyn Czuchran watches.
"It was senior night and we were a little distracted," Murray said. "We got it together thought, and I thought overall we played a good game."
Indeed the second set would start out with a Purple Riders rally and they would never look back as they ran away for a 25-17 win to even it up.
In the third set momentum would remain on the East side of the net as it was Buckeye Local dominating early and winning handily 25-14.
The fourth set would be a see-saw battle with both teams rallying for a side out and then giving back the serve until it was dead locked at 20. Then it would be the Purple Riders serving out for the 25-20 win to force the fifth.
In the final set the hosts would be lead by sophomore Tyrah King with 4 kills and one block in the early going as Buckeye Local would find themselves in a hole 11-1.
"Give our girls credit, they were fighting for it all night," Buckeye Local head coach Janelle Windsheimer said. "They never gave up and came battling back, we made it close but came up short."
The Panthers would rally back to 13-10 but the Riders would hold on for the win.
King would garner a total of 20 kills on the night to pace Martins Ferry at the net. Lauren Bennet countered back court with 19 digs, Shaye DeLeonardis added 13 assists, 10 digs, 12 points with 3 aces and 5 kills. Morgan Carpenter contributed 10 assists, 8 digs, 6 deadly spikes, one block and 9 points with 3 aces. Breanne Long added 13 digs, Brooklyn Monroe 10 digs, Katie Sutherland dug up 10 serving up 17 points with 4 aces and 4 kills. Sarah Staats had 6 digs and 2 kills as the Purple Riders close the ledger at 11-7.
Buckeye Local was led by Morgan Staten with 19 kills and 16 digs. Morgan Fedorko added 12 kills, 5 digs one block and nine points. Kierstyn Czuchran sent 9 deadly spikes over the net adding 5 assists and 3 digs. Becky Zeroski dug up 18, Preslie Renforth dug up 14 with 3 kills, Lexus Fedorko set 13 assists, with 4 kills, 4 digs while Nicolette Devore set 11 assists, dug up 9 and led the Panthers with 17 points.
The Purple Riders will play in the sectional tournament against Barnesville on Monday in Meadowbrook while Buckeye Local will play in the sectionals Tuesday against Carrollton.
Palmer can be reached at mpalmer at timesleaderonline.com