Patrick Henry tops Chilhowie for Region 1D volleyball title

SALTVILLE, Va. – Patrick Henry High School’s volleyball team took care of business again on Wednesday night and the latest performance might have been the most impressive of them all.

“I feel like everything was on and we all clicked together,” said PH junior Abigail Belcher. “I felt this was one our best games of the season.”

Playing near perfectly in every phase of the game, the Rebels rolled to a 25-15, 25-20, 25-19 victory over Chilhowie in the championship match of the VHSL Region 1D tournament at Northwood High School.

Patrick Henry (21-2) hosts George Wythe (15-11), while Chilhowie (15-12) travels to Auburn (21-0) on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the VHSL Class 1 state tourney.

The Rebels haven’t lost since dropping a match to Holston on Oct. 4 and the other defeat was a five-game setback to Rural Retreat in the second match of the season.

Appearing to hit its stride at the most opportune time, PH didn’t even drop a game in the regional tournament, romping past Thomas Walker (25-16, 25-23, 25-18), Eastside (25-19, 25-17, 25-12) and Chilhowie to take the first-place trophy.

“I love the momentum we have going into Saturday,” said PH coach Pam Newberry. “I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Most schools at the Class 1 level are lucky to have one top-notch hitter, two if they are lucky. Patrick Henry has a trio of them in Ella Maiden, Jamayia Honaker and Belcher and all three excelled on Wednesday.

“We wanted to show people what we can do,” Honaker said. “We’re going into the state tournament ready.”

Maiden slammed down 11 kills and made three blocks, Honaker had nine kills and Belcher finished with five blocks and six kills to lead Wednesday’s hit parade.

“I can’t say how blessed we are to have all of them,” Newberry said. “They have put in so much work. They love sharing the spotlight.”

There’s plenty of praise to go around.

Setter Gracie Hammond was graceful as usual when dishing out 21 assists and hustling her way to nine digs. Alyssa Evans, Hannah Holmes and Sandy Wright finished with six digs apiece.

Evans, Wright and Logan Newberry combined to serve seven aces, another key part of Patrick Henry’s attack.

“We had some tough serving tonight,” Pam Newberry said. “I loved it.”

Chilhowie didn’t even lead in the first two games and the Warriors saw advantages of 5-1, 14-10 and 16-13 vanish in the third game.

“Patrick Henry was real consistent and we just weren’t that consistent tonight,” said Chilhowie coach Laura Robinson.

Senior Leah Kestner had 17 kills for Chilhowie and had 49 in three regional tournament matches. Along with Kestner, Georgia Luttrell (26 assists), Rachael Williams (19 digs), Caitlin Pierce (six kills) and Mari-Beth Bordwine (three kills) were the stat leaders for the Warriors.

Chilhowie is familiar with Saturday’s opponent as the Warriors beat Auburn in last year’s state quarterfinals.

“We’re looking forward to Saturday,” Robinson said.

So is Patrick Henry, a program that gets a lot of fan support.

The Rebels have a raucous student section that should be out in full force on Saturday.

“Our student section is the best,” Belcher said.

Three more wins and PH’s volleyball team will be the best in the state. | Twitter:@Hayes_BHCSports | (276) 645-2570

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