CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Frankfort Falcons won a five-set nailbiter with Ritchie County in the quarterfinals, then made a gallant comeback in the semifinals before losing to James Monroe in the Class AA volleyball state tournament Friday at the Charleston Civic Center.

It was the eighth straight year that the Falcons reached the state tournament, and this year was the first since 2004 that they advanced to the Final Four.

To get to the state semifinals, Frankfort had to beat the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the state, according to the West Virginia Regional Sports Network’s final regular-season poll. The Falcons, ranked No. 4, had beaten No. 1 Philip Barbour last week to win the Region II championship, then beat No. 2 Ritchie County in the state quarterfinals on Friday.

Aira Whiteman, who had 45 kills and was later named to the all-tournament team, came up big all day and Ariel Dayton served for five clutch points in the fifth game of the quarterfinal to nail down the win over Ritchie County.

The game scores were 25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 17-25 and 15-7.

Frankfort led 9-6 in the fifth when Dayton served for five points to push the lead to a more comfortable 14-6. The Falcons won the match two points later.

“Aira Whiteman was a solid player all day long, and we received compliments about her from all the coaches at the tournament,’’ said Frankfort coach Mike Carder. “She definitely led us all day long.”

Whiteman had 25 kills, Mariah Miller eight kills, six blocks, 12 service points and three aces, and Morghan Snyder 48 assists, 10 points and an ace to lead a strong team performance by the Falcons. Katie Carder had 18 digs and five points, Katie Bush eight kills and five blocks, Saydi Whiteman nine kills and 10 digs, Alieshia Porter seven points and seven kills, Dayton 12 points and three aces, and Maddie Shambaugh eight digs, seven points and three aces.

But Frankfort’s season ended later in the day with a 3-1 loss to James Monroe.

Monroe, which lost to Oak Glen in the state championship match, pulled out a 25-23 win in the first game, and won the second 25-18. Frankfort dominated in a 25-14 third-game win, then lost the fourth 25-22.

Whiteman had eight kills in the third-game win, and the Falcons rallied behind the serve of Katie Carder in its comeback bid. The Falcons led the fourth game 14-9, but Monroe used a 15-4 run to take a 24-18 lead. Frankfort scored four in a row to get to within 24-22, but was unable to survive any more match points and lost the next one in the 25-22 finale.

Whiteman finished with 20 kills, Carder had 19 points, 11 aces and 10 digs, and Miller 14 points, five blocks and four kills. Snyder had 39 assists, seven points and three aces, Porter and Katie Bush seven kills and Saydi Whiteman six kills and five digs.

“We’ve had a wonderful season, and I’m proud of the girls and the way they played from start to finish,’’ said coach Carder. “Even when they were down they never gave up. That was evident against James Monroe when we were down 2-0 and came back to win the third game and just fell short in the fourth.”

Frankfort finished the year 27-7-2, and won the Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference as well as Class AA section and region tournaments.

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