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Area volleyball teams ready for Regional Saturday

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Roane County’s Mahailey Nicholson serves during a Little Kanawha Conference semifinal last month against Ritchie County. The Raiders are in regional action Saturday and play against host Philip Barbour.

PARKERSBURG — Regional Saturday finally has arrived for Mountain State volleyball programs.

There are 16 teams in each class hoping to win their regional semifinal match and advance to next week’s state tournament in Charleston.

Parkersburg High School will be the host site for the Class AAA, Region IV tournament. Triple-A regionals are set for 2 p.m. with double-A starting at 10 a.m. and Class A at 6 p.m.

The host Big Reds of head coach Erin Thorpe finished runner-up to Hurricane in the sectional. The Redskins will take on Huntington and the Big Reds will tangle with Spring Valley, which is 0-1 versus PHS this season.

The only area Class AA program to advance from sectionals was Roane County. The Raiders take on host Philip Barbour in Region II. The Colts finished state runner-up in 2020 to Shady Spring.

“If we can play our game like we have for most of our season we have a good chance to advance to the regional championship,” noted Gilmer County head coach Chelsea Stickelman, whose squad will be in action at Buffalo against Tolsia. The host Bison square off against Ravenswood, which was runner-up in the sectional to the Titans.

Doddridge County also will be a host site for Region II, but no local programs advanced. East Hardy plays South Harrison and Clay-Battelle faces Moorefield.

What many consider the top two programs in Class A could meet once again in the Region I championships in Ellenboro.

Host Ritchie County will play Wheeling Central and Williamstown takes on Magnolia, which bested the Maroon Knights to win a sectional title. Ritchie County has most recently topped Williamstown in the sectional final and during the Little Kanawha Conference finals.

“We didn’t get out of sectionals last year,” said Rebel Olivia Cress. “Williamstown is really great competition and they are a very tough team.”

Cress and fellow masher Rebekah Rupert know they can’t take anything for granted and have to focus on the Maroon Knights before worrying about possibly playing the Yellowjackets again.

“As long as we keep good attitudes and play together that’s all that matters,” said Rupert, who added of playing back row “it’s exciting especially when they get a big kill. I want to be up there, but as long as they are getting kills I don’t care.”

What Rebel boss Matt Carpenter cares about is his program continuing to improve along with surviving and advancing.

“That’s been a chip on our shoulder all year,” coach Carpenter said of not making the regional at home in 2020. “It ended up that no team from our section got to go to state because of the (color) map.

“That was very unfortunate. A lot of great teams being Magnolia, Paden City and (Parkersburg) Catholic and Williamstown. They weren’t able to go last year.”

Despite being on a roll and having the advantage of playing in their own gym, the Rebel boss has stressed to his team to take nothing for granted.

“We’re looking at nothing right now but Wheeling Central,” said the coach. “That’s all that’s on our mind. That first game at 6 o’clock. We haven’t seen them.

“Sometimes we don’t take care of our business. I told them it’s not my wife or my child that’s giving me gray hairs, it’s watching them playing these tight sets.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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