By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
Senior night proved to be a good Day for the G-Girls.
The Graham volleyball team made it a clean sweep of cross-town rival Bluefield with a 25-7, 25-14, 25-3 rout of the Beavers in the regular season finale for both teams on Wednesday at Graham High School.
Rebecca Day was one of seven Graham seniors to play their final home game, and she led the way, contributing six kills and three aces, including three kills and three of those aces in the final set that saw the G-Girls build a 19-1 lead.
“Rebecca is very talented,” Graham first-year coach Omi Oakes said. “She is a four-year player and she is also a captain and a strong hitter, she really is, and a wonderful leader too.”
Graham also got contributions from fellow seniors McKenzie Meade, Alysia Leung, Beth Rider, Emily Lewis, Erika Jollay and Morgan Whisman, who didn’t play for the G-Girls.
“I am very proud of them, I played the seniors a lot and as a whole they played well,” Oakes said. “Everybody came in and played, it was a great game, it was our senior game, their last home game.
“We have seven seniors, I hate to see them go.”
While Graham improved to 5-18 on the season — which includes two wins over the Beavers — Bluefield dropped to 2-15 in what is a rebuilding season for first-year coach Gregg Breisch.
“We actually have only two seniors and only one of them starts,” Breisch said. “It has been a learning year, we have lost some to injury and some that aren’t on the team anymore so we have had to regroup a lot in the last couple of weeks...I see a lot of good potential.”
Jollay started the proceedings for Graham with an ace, which became a theme throughout the 50-minute match, as the G-Girls had 26 aces in three sets, including 14 in the opening set, five by Beth Rider, who had a match-high six in the win.
Graham jumped on the Beavers early, building a 13-2 lead to cruise to a first set win. Emaleigh Gallinger added four aces, and the G-Girls received a kill apiece by Rider and Day. Makenna Williams did have an ace for Bluefield.
That was followed by a competitive second set that saw four ties and three lead changes as the Beavers began to return the ball over the net.
Bluefield has two wins this season, both against Mount View, but Breisch sees potential on the court, including Ya-Myya Martin, who had to leave the match after getting hit in the face by a teammate’s return of a Graham volley.
“One girls that definitely stands out is Ya-Myya Martin, she is actually the girl that hit in the eye with the ball, she is a great player with great potential,” Breisch said. “Our senior player, Ashlyn Parker, has done an excellent job as our captain, she digs hard, plays hard.”
The G-Girls had five aces, including two each by Jia Coppola and Mellie Anderson, and three in a stretch of four points by Anderson, Gallinger and Coppola to pull away for a 22-10 lead, eventually finishing it off with a kill at the net by Gallinger.
Graham, which was the beneficiary of numerous unforced errors in the first and third sets, did make their own points with six kills, all by different players. Bluefield receive a kill by Jamaikah Wallace.
It was all Graham to finish it off, with Taylor Webb starting the final set with six service points before the Beavers finally got on the board. That was followed by 12 points in a row from Anderson to pull away 19-1.
“They did very well,” Oakes said. “I am very proud of them.”
Day had three aces, all coming on the final three points of the match to enable the G-Girls to leave Senior Night victorious. The two teams celebrated with a group prayer and dance after the game.
“I have several girls coming back, we only have two juniors, the rest of my team are freshmen and sophomores so will come back strong, we will work hard,” Oakes said. “I coach track as well so we will get out there and run a little bit and come back stronger...
“This is my first year and I will be here, I want to build a program.”
Bluefield returns to action on Monday against Mount View in the sectional tournament at PikeView. The Beavers will look for their third win of the season against the Golden Knights, and anything can happen from there.
“That is exactly right,” Breisch said. “We are hoping for the best and we will see what happens.”
Graham returns to action next week in Conference 39 action against top-seeded Marion, with the consequence of defeat pretty simple.
“If we lose our season is over,” said Oakes, with a smile, “but we don’t plan on that happening.”
—Contact Brian Woodson at email@example.com