POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. — Simply put, Point Pleasant’s Lanea Cochran was certainly the center of attention on Tuesday night.
That’s because the sophomore middle hitter, almost single-handedly, had complete control over the Lady Knights’ season-opening volleyball match against the visiting Wahama White Falcons.
In easily amassing game-highs of eight kills and four blocks, Cochran crafted an impressive opening-day performance in leading the Lady Knights to a straight-set sweep of their Mason County rivals.
Point Pleasant defeated Wahama 25-5, 25-15 and 25-12 at Point Pleasant High School.
According to second-year Point Pleasant head coach Marla Cottrill, Tuesday’s triumph marked the first opening-day win for the Lady Knights in their nine years as a program.
And, while it was a team victory, Cochran couldn’t be overlooked.
She was everywhere around the net, posting point after point with hard kills and blocks.
“We’ve worked on her (Cochran) all summer long, getting those sets to her. She has been to camps, we’ve been excited to see what she’s going to do. She exceeded my expectations tonight,” said Cottrill. “She stepped up and really took care of business. As a freshman last year, she played junior varsity before we moved her up to varsity by the middle of the season. She has gone non-stop since then. We cater to her and lean towards her because she is our middle hitter.”
Cochran anchors a young yet tall Lady Knight club.
“We have a very young team. We only have one starting senior, which is Michaela (Cottrill). We start a sophomore (Cochran) and two freshmen (Olivia Dotson and Peyton Jordan), including our setter (Dotson),” said Cottrill. “Our young girls really fed off Lanea tonight. When you have somebody that is killing it and blocking it almost every time she is at the net, the excitement and energy just feeds off of her (Cochran).
“We (Point Pleasant) have notoriously never had tall girls. This year, Lanea (Cochran) is 5-foot-10, (senior hitter) Luiza Da Costa is 5-11 and Brenna Dotson is close to that,” the coach continued. “I’m excited to see what we can do with that height along our front line all year long.”
That front line had Wahama back on its heels from the get-go.
The Lady Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening game, then amassed an astounding 18 consecutive points to post their largest lead at 23-3.
The White Falcons’ five points came courtesy of three PPHS errors, along with an Elizabeth Mullins kill and a Hannah Billips ace.
Game two saw three lead changes, with Wahama leading by as much as 5-2.
However, the Lady Knights notched nine straight points to lead 11-5, building the cushion to 20-11 on a cross-court kill by Michaela Cottrill.
Point Pleasant’s largest advantages in game two were four 10-point margins (22-11, 22-12, 24-14 and 25-15) — with the set ending on a Wahama service error.
In the third set, the White Falcons led 1-0, but the Lady Knights scored six straight, including a hard kill by Cochran and an ace by Gracie Cottrill.
Wahama then cut the deficit in half to 6-3, before Point rolled out seven straight points for another double-digit advantage.
Breanna Dotson delivered a kill to make it 16-4, as Dotson and Cochran bookended kills to make it 23-9.
Dotson and Olivia Dotson complemented Cochran with five kills apiece, as Gracie Cottrill chipped in three.
Cottrill led the way in assists with 13 and service points with 29 — nearly outscoring the White Falcons by herself.
Cochran added 13 service points, followed by Breanna Dotson and Michaela Cottrill with 10 apiece.
Dotson also had a block, while freshman Peyton Jordan led the way in defensive digs with seven.
The Lady Knights return home tonight (Thursday, Sept. 8) to face Parkersburg Catholic, while Wahama (0-2) was at Federal Hocking on Wednesday before hosting Miller today.
Both of the White Falcons’ matches are TVC-Hocking affairs.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106