Stokes named best in W. Virginia
CLARKSBURG — When Morgan Poling took the head volleyball coaching position at Oak Glen heading into the 2019 season, she knew the Golden Bears had a bevy or talent returning.
But when West Virginia University commit Skye Stokes moved into the area from East Liverpool, hopes for a great season turned into expectations for a great season.
The Bears didn’t disappoint either, capping an unbeaten, 38-0 season with a Class AA state title two weeks ago.
Oak Glen received plenty of honors for that finish, too, as both Stokes and returning all-stater Hannah Rogers were named to the Class AA All-State Volleyball team as chosen by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Stokes, who dominates in all facets of play, was named captain of the first unit.
“Skye is a one of a kind player and person,” Poling said. “She was one of our senior leaders and she led us both offensively and defensively. She’s very fun to coach.
“Not only is she a talented athlete, but she’s a great person too. I am proud of her and she’ll be a great asset to WVU volleyball next season.”
Stokes ended the season with 392 kills, 45 blocks and 158 aces. In addition, she assisted on 77 of her teammates’ kills and had 235 digs.
Rogers, a senior lefty outside hitter, was right behind Stokes with 314 kills. She also had 139 aces and 191 digs.
“Hannah, a six-rotation outside hitter, was a key contributor to our success this season,” Poling said. “She was also one of our senior captains who led by example all season long.
“Hannah is a great person who is always leading by example.”
Runner-up Shady Spring, which finished 48-6-2, also had two girls on the first team, as senior setter Breadlea Hayhurst and freshman outside hitter Meg Williams were accorded first-team status.
Hayhurst had 769 assists to pace the Tigers. She also came up with 189 kills and 24 blocks when on the front line, while also leading the team with 395 digs. Williams led the team with 437 kills and had 31 blocks, while serving up 112 aces.
Semifinalist Philip Barbour also had two girls on the first team as sophomore middle hitter Alyssa Hill, the Big 10 Conference Player of the Year, and freshman middle hitter Emily Denison were chosen.
The 5-foot-11 Hill had 534 kills and 152 blocks while coming up with more than 475 digs. Denison, at 5-10, was a force in the middle with 475 kills and more than 200 blocks.
The other semifinalist, Bridgeport, had junior Shea Hefner chosen to the first team, with the team rounded out by Frankfort’s Macie Miller, Point Pleasant’s Tristan Wilson and Winfield’s Esten Clay.
Hefner, at just 5-5, was Bridgeport’s go-to hitter. Despite missing 15 matches due to injuries to both ankles, Hefner put down 424 kills, while also coming up with 300 digs and 85 aces. Her coach, Ali Burton, called her the best defensive player in the state.
Miller, a senior middle hitter/defensive specialist, led the Falcons with 325 kills, 62 blocks, 260 digs and 48 aces.
Clay, who recently signed with UNC-Charlotte, had 435 digs, 79 aces and 240 points scored.
Bridgeport senior middle hitter/defensive specialist Payton Merica was chosen to captain the second team.
Merica put down 448 kills and had 66 blocks at the net, while also coming up with 180 digs. In addition, she served up 72 aces.
Oak Glen and Shady Spring had a player each on the second unit.
Bears’ senior middle hitter McKayla Goodlin made the squad, as did the Tigers’ Kelsie Dangerfield, a sophomore setter and right side hitter.
Dangerfield had 279 kills and 28 blocks, and also came up with 683 assists and 107 aces. Goodlin put down 269 kills, while adding 160 digs, 32 aces and 24 blocks.
Winfield, who fell to Philip Barbour in a five-set thriller in the quarterfinals, had Emily Reed chosen to the second team. Reed came up with 334 kills and 48 blocks at the net, while also serving up 63 aces.
State quarterfinalist Robert C. Byrd had senior setter Taylor Lough chosen to the unit. Lough, who just missed 4,000 career assists, led the Eagles with 563 assists and also had 136 digs and 87 aces.
Independence, which also made the state quarterfinals, had junior Destiny Blankenship chosen to the squad. She led Independence with 458 kills and 46 aces.
The remainder of the second team includes Rachel LeRose of Nicholas County, Faith McAfee of Herbert Hoover, Weir’s Sophia Mikula and East Fairmont junior outside hitter Somer Stover.
LeRose, a senior outside hitter who led the Grizzlies to a sectional title, had 443 kills and 94 blocks, with 74 digs and 65 aces.
McAfee, a junior libero, had 483 digs and also served up 56 aces, while Mikula, who doubles as a middle hitter and setter, had 259 assists, 112 kills, 134 blocks and 21 aces.
Stover came up with 326 kills and 24 blocks at the net, while also serving up 35 aces and coming up with 118 digs in leading East to a 25-9-1 season.
2019 W.Va. Class AA All-State Volleyball
Skye Stokes, Oak Glen, SR (CAPTAIN)
Alyssa Hill, Philip Barbour, SO
Shea Hefner, Bridgeport, JR
Hannah Rogers, Oak Glen, SR
Bradlea Hayhurst, Shady Spring, SR
Esten Clay, Winfield, SR
Meg Williams, Shady Spring, FR
Macie Miller, Frankfort, SR
Tristan Wilson, Point Pleasant, JR
Emily Denison, Philip Barbour, FR
Payton Merica, Bridgeport, SR (CAPTAIN)
Emily Reed, Winfield, SR
Kelsie Dangerfield, Shady Spring, SO
Destiny Blankenship, Independence, JR
Rachel LeRose, Nicholas County, SR
McKayla Goodwin, Oak Glen, SR
Taylor Lough, Robert C. Byrd, SR
Summer Stover, East Fairmont, JR
Sophia Mikula, Weir, SR
Faith McAfee, Herbert Hoover, JR
Special Honorable Mention
Chloe Puffinburger, Frankfort; Emma Kennedy, Philip Barbour; Abby Fazzini, Robert C. Byrd; Hayley Hovious, Winfield; Maggie Gadomski, Nicholas County; Sierra Strickland, Roane County; Violet Sickles, Bridgeport; Brooklyn Cheek, Man; Kaleigh Davis, Chapmanville; Kerigan Moore, Nitro; Jaedyn Hissam, Oak Glen; Laken McKinney, PikeView; Jocelyn Abraham, Braxton County; Presley McGee, Herbert Hoover; Olivia Dotson, Point Pleasant; Chloe Thompson, Shady Spring; Alisea McMillion, Clay County
Ally Morris, Berkeley Springs; Julia Griffith, Bridgeport; Chloe Johnson, Fairmont Senior; Emilea Holcomb, Clay County; Morgan Marty, Liberty (Raleigh); Shayla Whiteman, Petersburg; Makenna Douthitt, Frankfort; Kyra Davis, Independence; MaKaily Thomson-Moran, Keyser; Riley Dominguez, Philip Barbour; Samantha Price, Elkins; Allison Rockwell, Lincoln; Zoe Evans, Mingo Central; Jordan Heckert, Robert C. Byrd; Bailey Malnick, North Marion; Taylor Brown, Westside; MaKayla Keenan, Berkeley Springs; Katie Underwood, Scott