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Paden City netters loaded for title run

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Paden City's Madi Kline, left, and Hope Weber go up for a double block against Greenbrier West during last year's Class A state quarterfinal match in Charleston.

PADEN CITY — It’s not often prep teams get to make history in any sport at their high school.

However, that was indeed the case last fall when the Paden City volleyball team not only made the Class A state tournament for the first time, but brought back a runner-up trophy to boot.

Now, head coach Jennifer Yeater’s program is just hoping for the opportunity to play and compete.

“There’s nothing that’s going to change the game itself,” Yeater said of Monday’s new modifications for play released from the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.

“It’s definitely simple, doable changes if we are able to play this fall. I accept them and will do it and move forward. It’s not a big deal to me. My biggest concern is we play a lot of games in Ohio.”

Teams in West Virginia are not allowed to compete in tournaments this year currently as the WVSSAC has banned them within the borders.

However, the Wildcats are scheduled to play their first tournament on Sept. 26 at Buckeye Trail, but coach Yeater has yet to hear word on whether that will be allowed to happen or not.

“Right now I think we are good to go,” she said. “For me, it’s trying to keep up with the Ohio rules and the West Virginia rules with the COVID restrictions and modifications.

“A lot of things are going on. Communication is huge. From my end it’s just keeping up with what we are allowed to do and not allowed to do and keeping up with the modifications of playing for a safe environment for all involved.”

Aside from returning a pair of first team all-state selections in daughter Mallory Yeater and Hope Weber, the Wildcats have a plethora of experience back thanks to Madi Kline, Maggi Still, Tanley McEldowney, Brandis Dalrymple, McKenzie Thomas and Hallie McDonald.

“I’m just ready to play,” coach Yeater continued. “We’re ready to get this season rolling. I feel like we are about three months behind losing club season and go from club season right into summer and playing summer tournaments and going to team camp.

“We haven’t been able to do any tournaments this summer and no team camp. That really fuels you for the fall. It gets us fired up and takes us right into fall. We weren’t able to have that, but nobody else did either.”

Perhaps the element of surprise aided Paden City a year ago in reaching the final weekend of the campaign in Charleston, but that’s gone now.

Yeater said they used a couple of flex days this week since they lost two of their three weeks in the summer coaching period due to COVID-19.

As of now, Paden City hasn’t lost any matches and is set to start the campaign on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at Frontier.

“I think this year we are going to have big targets on our back and people know,” Yeater said. “The girls are just excited to get back to business like everybody else. We’re looking to keep that momentum of last season going.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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