Taking It To the Net
By ED PARSONS
MIDDLEBOURNE – Saturday was a big day at the Silver Knights Gym at the ninth annual Putzulu Invitational Tournament featuring some of the best teams in in the state. Teams like Meadowbrook, Ohio, two AAA teams from Parkersburg South, Hedgesville another AAA powerhouse and last year’s AA state champ, Phillip Barbour, plus perennial Class A power and winner of two of the last three Class A championships, Williamstown.
Coach Fred King’s Wildcats took part in the tournament with a summer league team consisting of four seniors, six juniors and a freshman. Though they lost out in pool play, they gained some valuable experience and an opportunity to hone their volleyball skills against some of the best volleyball players in the state.
Paden City went down to a good Parkersburg South team 19-25 and 19-25. They then played the Williamstown and were defeated 18-25 and 19-25. Up next for the Wildcats was defending state AA champion Phillip Barbour, who shut the Wildcats down in consecutive sets 14-25 and 16-25. The last match of the day for the Wildcats came against Class AAA powerhouse Hedgesville, who won two straight 16-25 and 21-25.
King took the opportunity to give all 11 players quite a bit of playing time. It also gave the Wildcats a chance to use several different lineups to see just where these players might eventually be playing and be the most productive for the team.
The Wildcats used three different setters on Saturday and, according to King, it helped develop more depth in a very crucial position.
“The setter’s position is vital to any team’s success, and is a very difficult skill to develop,” he said. “Our digging was spectacular at times because we were able to dig several very hard spikes by some very high powered players from those teams.”
Paden City was not only very successful in digging, they were also able to deliver good passes to the setters for some very good kills.
“Our serving was adequate for this time of the year,” King said. “Our team goal is to have serving average of 90-93 percent. Our spiking will take some time to get our timing and adjust to our setters.”
The Wildcats play around the net looked good. They were able to block a few and keep the rallies going. King said he was very pleased with his team’s focus as they played those larger schools.
“Our girls were not intimidated by those larger schools,” he said. “They welcomed the challenge and used this tournament as a stepping stone toward their many goals for the 2016 season.”
The host team, Tyler Consolidated, was also in a very tough bracket and took two straight from Weirton before they split a match with a real good Meadowbrook team and were 3-1 at that point. The Silver Knights have a lot of talent and look like they may be the team to beat in the area.
They have one of the best setters in the state returning in senior Macy Long, who looked to be in mid-season form on Saturday. According to TCHS volleyball Coach Tracy Summers, the Knights just finished up with a team camp at Marshall University where the girls performed very well while also learning from some of the best.
TCHS volleyball Coach Richard Summers said he used Saturday to work on rotations and positioning.
“The Knights look like they will be tough around the net and there height and jumping skills will be hard to defend,” he said. “On Saturday they made some great digs and their passing was excellent for this time of year.”
Other teams in Tyler Pool were RCB and River. Pool three featured Brooke High, Ritchie County, Frontier, Parkersburg and Tyler Consolidated B Team.
The tournament was filled with competition and was a very well run tournament with quality officiating. It takes a lot of hard work to put on a tournament of this caliber and everyone involved with Tyler Consolidated’s volleyball program is to be commended for a quality event.