When The Going Gets Tough …
I became a high school volleyball fan several years ago after noticing the quickness, toughness, athleticism, speed and reflexes many of the girls possess. Some of the teams I have watched over the years have had tremendous players. Individuals who sometimes could control a match and there wasn’t much the opposition could do about it.. It seems they just keep getting better and better!
As each year goes by players come and go and you often wonder how certain ones can be replaced. We have been very fortunate this season to have three of the states best Class A teams right here in the local area. The smallest school locally ended their season last Wednesday, when they fell to Ritchie County another small school powerhouse in three straight sets. The Cat’s may have lost that battle but they fought very hard and gave a great effort as they have all year. Paden City finished the season winning 29 games against 10 defeats, not bad for a school who has limited numbers and relied heavily on two of the areas best freshmen.
Look for the Wildcats to be a powerful force next season as they have plenty of talent coming back and a good group moving up from the eighth grade team that went 14-3.
With all that being said, the best match I’ve watched all season also took place last Wednesday, when Magnolia and Tyler Consolidated played for a spot in the Region One, Section Two championship against Ritchie County. The Paden City Gym was at full capacity, with standing room only to see these four teams.
Magnolia who has only one senior on the squad, and a freshman who may be the hardest hitter I’ve seen all season. They also have a strong front line that is about four deep when it comes to blocking and hitting. But as the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights have shown they can play with the best. Not one senior on their team but a talented group of juniors and other underclassmen. In this particular matchup, the Blue Eagles seemed to be in control when they took a 2-0 lead.
The Silver Knights however had other ideas and they knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I asked one of the players how they managed to get out of the hole they were in and overcome the hard hitting of the Blue Eagles.
“We got mad, I took a shot to the head and it took me to my knees, I shook it off and that was the turning point. We had a time out and Coach told us to play hard and never give up. We felt they were getting tired and that our conditioning was paying off,” said Knights junior Cora Grimm.
Tyler won two straight sets to tie the match and send it to a deciding fifth set. In set five the Lady Knights jumped out to a 6-0 lead but on a service fault Magnolia got a point and then rattled off five more to tie it at 6-6. Tyler however got the momentum back and ended up holding the Eagles off for a 15-10 victory.
There is no doubt that these four teams would make for a great state tournament by themselves and it’s a shame they all had to play in the same sectional.
The sectional championship was held on Thursday night at the Wildcats gym between the two winners Tyler Consolidated and Ritchie County. Tyler played like a team possessed and took the sectional crown in three straight sets.
Both teams however advanced to the regionals held at Tyler Consolidated on Saturday. The Knights took on Weiton Madonna and handed them a three set loss, while Ritchie did the same to Wheeling Central. That set up a rematch of Thursday’s sectional championship as both teams had earned their spot in the state tournament at Charleston starting this Friday.
Even though the Knights had taken the sectional crown on Thursday, Ritchie County turned the tables on them on Saturday to capture the regional title. It should make for an interesting tournament come Friday and Saturday at the convention center.
The Silver Knights are no strangers to the event and if they stay focused, they are capable of beating anyone there. If you want to see some great high school girl athletes, make your way to the state volleyball tournament this weekend. You will not be disappointed.
The Silver Knights football team ended their season on Friday night at the hands of the reigning Class A state champions, the St. Mary’s Blue Devils. Even though the season is over, the Knights provided some exciting moments for the silver and black faithful. With a few breaks here and there they could easily have been 7-3 and in the playoffs. With several skilled players returning next year just might be their year.
Paden City also ended there football season on Friday with a loss to cross county rival Valley. The Wildcats ended at 2-8 but had to fight adversity all season which kept the player count down to between 16-18 for most games. Hopefully next year they will be able to turn things around.
Several winter sports teams have started practice this week. Tyler Consolidated boys have a new coach in veteran Rick Leach and Paden City will start the season under the direction of coach Jeff Hohn. He will be assisted by coach Brent Croasmun. Kelly Sine will take over the Wildcats middle school team.
The Wildcats will also have a wrestling team for the first time in school history. Coach Mike Owens will lead the team and several kids have shown interest. The Silver Knights wrestlers will once again be led by ex-knight all-stater Chad Snider, who also is the schools new Phys. Ed. teacher. Snider says he has 18 signed up and expects more to join.
The Silver Knights girls high school team will again be led by coach Cathy Boggs and assisted by Ben Thomas. Paden City will have coach Allen Miller back at the helm with assistant from veteran coach Jamie Natali.
It’s going to be an interesting season as both schools have some quality players returning and the middle schools have proven to be good feeding programs for the schools. I expect there will be some great moments in local sports over the next few months. firstname.lastname@example.org