PASS CHRISTIAN -- The Coast's most talented high school volleyball players were on display Thursday night at Pass Christian High School.
The Gulf Coast All-Star volleyball games featured the top rising seniors taking on one another in an East-West best-of-3 format, while the top underclassmen -- rising juniors and sophomores -- battled in another contest.
In the opening game of the senior all-star matchup, the East All-stars held an 11-4 advantage over the West who stormed back and tied the game 18-18. The game see-sawed with the West taking their first lead at 24-23. With the game knotted at 27-all, the East scored the final two points of the game to secure a 29-27 win. The East all-stars won the second game 25-21 to sweep the series.
In the matchup featuring the underclassmen, the East all-stars won the rubber match of the best-of-3 series, 25-11. The East also won Game 2, using an 8-0 run to lead 12-6. But the West all-stars rallied to pull within a point three times before the East pulled out the win.
In the opening game, the West jumped out to a 14-7 lead before the East stormed back to the game at 17-all. It was tied four more times before the West scored the final two points of the game to win 25-23.
A year ago, organizers attempted in the inaugural all-star game to feature seniors who had already graduated, along with sophomores and juniors. That format did not work as well since most of those players were not available.
East Central's Joy Marble led the East seniors, while Abby Gollott, who helped Our Lady Academy claim the 1A-2A-3A state championship this past year, helped the West seniors.
St. Martin's Katelyn Gruich, a member of the Sun Herald's All-South Mississippi squad, was among the top East underclassmen competing.Gulfport's Aarmanii McDaniel helped lead the West underclassmen.
The East team was coached by Jaime Tiblier of Biloxi and Ocean Springs' Brooke Engle. Hancock's David Irwin and Shelley Williams of Gulfport guided the West team.