New champ to be crowned at Fall Brawl

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South's Emma Leach spikes the ball while Patriot teammate Cassie Fink covers from behind during a match earlier this year at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center. The annual Parkersburg South Fall Brawl starts at 9 a.m. today. Photo by Jay W. Bennett.

PARKERSBURG — A new champion will be crowned sometime today as the 12-team field in Parkersburg South’s annual Fall Brawl will begin action at 9 a.m. inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

Defending champion Woodrow Wilson isn’t in the field, but PSHS head coach Becky Bennett will have three courts going with four squads in each pool.

“Everything is going OK,” expressed Bennett, whose Patriots will tangle with Parkersburg Catholic, Brooke and St. Albans on Court 1. “We are having some issues with staying competitive all the time and remembering that we need to play together. We have the talent. We just need to get our heads around on it.”

First-year Parkersburg Catholic head coach Amanda Weatherwax’s Crusaderettes are coming off their second win of the season on Thursday following a three-set sweep of St. Marys.

“Our record (2-10) doesn’t show how much we’ve really improved,” Weatherwax said of her young squad. “We have certainly continued to get better each game we’ve played.

“The girls are really starting to improve. We’ve had to make some adjustments and a few lineup changes here and there. Like I said at the beginning of the season, we’re going to make changes until it works.”

Court 2 features the Big Reds of Parkersburg High School head coach Erin Thorpe. The Big Reds’ pool also consists of Hampshire, Riverside and Nitro.

A pair of local Class A programs — Williamstown and Magnolia — highlight the final pool that will play on Court 3. Joining the Yellowjackets and Blue Eagles will be John Marshall and Herbert Hoover.

“We’ve been trying to work on some of the things we’ve been lacking so far this season,” said Williamstown head coach Rachelle Cole of her 11-10-2 ‘Jackets. “I think we were much improved (during a four set loss at Warren on Thursday), but I think there’s room for us to get better.

“We just have to buckle down and decide on something (lineup-wise). We have to go with it and try to perfect it the best we can.”

All pool play matches are best-of-three with a cap of 28 in sets one and two and a cap of 18 on any third sets.

The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single elimination tournament.