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Red Riders take first city matchup of season

WEIRTON — Round one of the City Championship went to Weir High.

The Weir High and Madonna volleyball teams battled it out on the court Tuesday night in the first match of the season between the two city rivals. The Blue Dons battled, however, the Red Riders were too much to overcome as Weir swept Madonna, 25-16, 25-17, 25-19, on the road on Joanna Bernabei-McNamee Court.

“They played really well,” Weir (1-6) head coach Fran Capaldi said about her team’s performance. “They played as a team. They came together well. We are in a rough patch.”

Madonna was forced to play catch up for most of the match.

“It was not the outcome I wanted,” Madonna (2-4) head coach Theresa Moore said. “Every time we play them it is very emotional. We have to learn to control our emotions.”

For Weir, Mea Kuffman finished with one kill, one block, six digs, 18 assists and nine aces, Mallory Rosnick recorded nine kills, four digs, one assist and two aces and Ziona Barnes ended up with seven kills, four digs, one assist and one ace. Also, Bayeli Mills tallied three kills, two blocks, one assist and one ace, Janai Turner produced eight digs, one assist and three aces and Rylee Donaldson delivered two kills, three blocks, one assist and three aces. Finally, Lydia Mascio collected two kills.

Madonna did not keep any stats for the match.

“They did not really do anything unexpected,” Capaldi said. “They hit some big balls, but we were able to transition quickly after that.”

Volleyball is a game of runs, and the Red Riders made the most of their runs against the Blue Dons.

“They composed themselves better than we did,” Moore said about the Red Riders. “They were scrappy. They hustled.”

Weir’s ability to find the open holes on the court made the difference against Madonna.

The visitors began to pull away near the middle of the third game. The game was close, but Weir was able to build a 13-7 lead. The Red Riders appeared to be in control, however, the Blue Dons refused to go away as the hosts battled back and pulled to within 14-11. Undaunted, the Red Riders responded with three straight points to take a 17-11 lead forcing Moore to call timeout. The Blue Dons regrouped and responded after the timeout as the girls in blue fought back to within 21-18, however, that is as close as they got the rest of the way.

“We have been in quite a rough patch,” Capaldi said. “This was our first win. We have struggled to find our flow. We have a new group this year. We are young. We don’t have a lot of experience on the floor.”

The Blue Dons were prepared for what the Red Riders were bringing to the table, however, Weir was able to execute down the stretch in all three games to win the match.

“They did not do anything we didn’t expect,” Moore said. “They hustled a lot. They got to some balls I did not expect them to get to.”

Weir made it to the state tournament last season, and the Red Riders are looking to make a return trip to Charleston this season.

“Last year is last year,” Capaldi said. “We would love to go back, but our focus is on now. We would like to be in that position again at the end of the year.”

Weir is scheduled to play Catholic Central Thursday night at home on Ron “Fritz” Williams Court inside the Carl R. Hamill Fieldhouse. The JV match will start at 5:30 p.m.

Madonna is slated to play Cameron Thursday night at home on senior night. The JV match is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.

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