Without a senior on the team and only one junior the Paden City Wildcat volleyball team went into Saturday’s OVAC Championship game with an 18-6 record and the number two seed behind Morgantown Trinity Christian, who was sporting a 21-2 record, with one of those losses coming earlier this season to the Wildcats.
Paden City the defending champions in Class 1A of the OVAC and playing under first year head coach Jennifer Yeater, just finished playing in a Quad match on Thursday night at Tyler Consolidated high school where they lost to a senior laden Silver Knights team in three sets and a good Doddridge County high school in three sets before taking down South Harrison in two straight sets. On Saturday at Union Local High School, Yeater’s Wildcats showed no ill affects from the short layoff and played like a team possessed as they repeated as OVAC Champs winning the match in three straight sets 25-19, 25-14 and 25-15.
The Cat’s got superior play from it’s two sophomore leaders, Hope Weber and Mallory Yeater. The duo combined for 32 kills, with the Cat’s out hitting Trinity 45 kills to 23 as a team to overpower the Morgantown based team, while the Wildcats used an all-out team effort to get the win.
Using four sophomores, two freshmen, and a junior, Coach Yeater has molded them into a solid team who can play with the best Class A teams and are getting better with each match. Saturday’s performance was perhaps their best of the season as they played great position, and returning nearly everything hit their way. They ended with 57 team digs and 41 assists. Between setters Yeater and Maggi Still they combined for 114 sets.
Set one saw the Wildcats jump on top by five with a 12-7 lead and it went back and forth form their until the Cat’s took a 19-13 six point lead. However Trinity didn’t go away easy as they cut the lead to three at 22-19 before the Cat’s got the next two points to get the first set win.
Set two had Trinity jumping out to a quick 7-2 lead before the Wildcats rattled off 11 straight points for a 13-7 advantage. With the score 14-9 in the Cat’s favor they scored the next five points for a 19-9 lead. Both teams then traded points before the Wildcats leading 24-14 got a kill from Weber to end the set.
In the third set the teams traded baskets and with the score tied at 14-14 the Wildcats outscored the home team 11-2 the rest of the way to get the win 25-16 and take a three set match victory to bring home their second straight OVAC Title.
“We are a very young teamwith no seniors this year. So we had to prove that we deserved to be here. These girls wanted it really bad to say, hey we might be young, but we can get the job done,”Coach Jennifer Yeater said.
Weber had 18 kills and eight blocks, plus three digs and a point in the match, Yeater added 14 kills, 17 assists, 14 digs, and six points, including an ace. Cora Anderson came up big for the Wildcats with a match high 23 digs and a match high 15 points.
Maggi Still added eight points, three kills, 22 assists, two blocks, three digs and an ace. Abbe Stackpole got four points, three kills, and 11 digs, while Madi Kline a promising freshman ended with four points, six kills an ace, and one block. Brandis Dalrymple helped out with one kill, two assists and two blocks.
“We just came out and played hard, we hit the ball well and kept our mind on the game. It was a total team effort we wanted the win, we came to play and we were ready,” said Wildcat Mallory Yeater.
“We just concentrated on playing like we know we can. We hit the ball hard and accurate and played tough at the net. We had great setting and we kept them off balance with our volley’s. I think we just wanted it more then they did,” said Hope Weber.
Coach Jennifer Yeater said, “We have played well all season, but now we are playing more consistent and with more intensity. We have improved immensely since the beginning of the season and are looking forward to winning some more matches before the post season. We feel real good about are chances in the sectionals. As a ream we have started to really come together. We will continue to work on positioning and eliminating some mistakes. It feels really good to get this win and I am very happy for the girls and our high school.”