TENNERTON - The season came to an end Monday night for the Elkins High School volleyball team when they lost in straight sets (25-9, 25-17, 25-13) to Buckhannon-Upshur in the sectional semifinals.
Buckhannon raced out to a 5-1 lead thanks to the serve of Sarah Ling and nice shot placement by the frontline of the Lady Bucs.
Elkins tried desperately to remain within contact with the host team and were within six at 8-14 but would manage just one more point in the set.
Elkins’ volleyball season ended Monday at the hands of rival Buckhannon-Upshur, who scored 25-9, 25-17 and 25-13 wins.
Ling again had the serve at 18-9 and won the next seven points to close out the set at 25-9. The final point was a ferocious kill shot by B-U's Leah Blend.
The Buc's Mackenzie Leigh used her running, high-velocity serve to give Buckhannon an 8-4 lead to begin the second set.
Elkins' Cassie Plishka kept the Tiger's close, serving from 6-10 to 9-10, and Taylor Miller had a kill shot to go to 12-14, but that was as close as they would get.
Courtney Reed had a huge kill to give Buckhannon a 16-12 lead and Leigh served again to extend a 19-15 advantage to 21-15.
Lakin Hitt brought Elkins back to within four at 17-21, but a side out and three service points by Lindsay Wagoner gave the hosts the second set at 25-17.
Elkins fought hard to begin the third set. With several nice digs, while forcing the Bucs into long points, the Tigers were even at seven-all.
The turning point was a booming kill by Leigh for 8-7. Reed won her next six service points to make the score 14-7 before Plishka ended the streak with a block.
Leigh advanced the Lady Bucs from 15-8 to 19-8 before Elkins had another small comeback but Ling closed out the final five points to give B-U the set and the match at 25-13.
Elkins finishes at 7-11 for the year.
Coach Penny Crawford said, "We have a very young team, we only have three seniors. Buckhannon is very experienced. They played well and they deserve to move on."
Blend led the victors with 11 kills along with 12 digs and an ace. Leigh followed with 10 kills, 17 digs and six aces. Ling finished with 15 digs, three aces and one kill.
Buckhannon coach Sheena Westfall said, "The girls came out strong in the first set. Sarah Ling had a strong night with her serves and also defensively. Blend and Leigh both had a strong night up at the net for us on offense and defense as well.
"We were able to briefly celebrate our win but now it is time to focus and prepare for our game on Wednesday."
Buckhannon-Upshur will host either Lewis County or Hampshire in the sectional final at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Those teams met in the other semifinal game Monday evening.
The winner of the sectional final will advance to the regional finals at Musselman High School.