photo by: Nick Henthorn
MORRISTOWN — Star seniors from across the Ohio Valley got a final sendoff in the spotlight Sunday in the OVAC Volleyball All-Star game, where West Virginia battled Ohio in teams made up of some of the best fourth-year performers from either side of the river.
The actions took place at Union Local High School, where West Virginia claimed a victory in four sets, 3-1.
West Virginia won the first two sets while Ohio claimed set three before the Mountain State sealed the win in the fourth.
The last point came from a kill off the palm of Linsly’s Avery Sadlowski, but the day was about more than the final score, with the event serving as a celebration of excellent high school careers from those selected to play.
“I think it means a lot to them,” Morgan Saddler, the head coach of the Oak Glen Golden Bears who was the coach of West Virginia, said. “They get to show up one more time in their school jerseys, as seniors, to come together and have fun but also play the sport that they love.”
“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Megan Grywalski, the head coach of the Shenandoah Zips who was the coach of Ohio, said. “To give them one last chance to play, I think that’s a really cool experience.”
While the talent of those involved shined through Saturday, there were also new challenges that came with playing with a new team, and players moving into different positions than usual.
“It’s just a little tough, you have all the all-stars, and all of our team was outside hitters pretty much, ” Grywalks said. “It’s hard, because they have to go to different positions than they’re used to, and they’re playing with different girls, so I feel like you don’t get to see them at your best. But they did a fantastic job filling in where they needed to, I had a girl playing middle who’d never played middle before and she did a great job with that, that was cool to see.
“It’s hard to get that cohesiveness that you get with your own team throughout a season, but it’s still a really cool experience.”
As well as a great experience for the players, it was also an honor for the coaches.
“I was definitely very honored to receive coach of the year in West Virginia, and we had a great turnout today,” Saddler said. “We had very talented players from both Ohio and West Virginia and it was great to see the girls come together and have some fun.”
“This is my first year I’ve got to coach at the OVAC, so that was a really big honor,” Grywalski said. “The other coaches vote on that so it means a lot that the coaches see me in that light.”
For West Virginia, their roster included Ashlyn Six from Oak Glen, Kaitlyn Anderson and Belle Devall from Morgantown, Kayli Derrow and Danica Deem from John Marshall, Jillian Huffman and Abby Heilman from Wheeling Park, Ava Liston and Ella Liston from University, Avery Sadlowski and Ava Gainer from Linsly, Maia Johnson from Parkersburg South, Jenna Blain from Magnolia, Lila Palmer from Valley and Alexis Hood from Wheeling Central.
For Ohio, their roster included Mya Leach and Brylee May from Shenandoah, Hannah Dobbs and Andrea Reeves from Toronto, Julie Broussard from Union Local, Ava McFarland and Ellie Thompson from Barnesville, Victoria Robertson and Reese Scott from Indian Creek, Kyia White and Faith Grafton from East Liverpool, Peyton Robers from Beaver Local, Ashley Shroades from Southern Local, Josie Lori from Caldwell and Kyra English from Monroe Central.