NEW MANCHESTER - The Golden Bears are ready for lies ahead.
The Oak Glen volleyball team is headed to Charleston this morning to take part in the West Virginia Class AA State Volleyball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Golden Bears are the defending state champions.
Oak Glen’s Morgan Poling spikes the ball against Fairmont Senior in a West Virginia Class AA Region 1 Section 1 Semifinal Nov. 1 at Oak?Glen. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
Oak Glen will play James Monroe at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning in the first Class AA Quarterfinal of the day.
The winner of that match will play the winner of the match between Frankfort and Nicholas County.
The Golden Bears enter the state tournament with a stellar record of 37-6.
Of Oak Glen's 43 matches, 14 of them have come against teams in the state tournament in all three classes. The Golden Bears are 10-4 in those matches. Oak Glen is 21-7 in the games played in the matches.
"We always want to keep a tough schedule," Oak Glen head coach Ethel Riser said. "You only get better by playing better-tough schools. You learn from playing them what you need to work on. The more competitive the better."
In the 10 wins, the Golden Bears won all 10 matches, 2-0.
So far this season, Oak Glen is 3-0 against Frankfort, 2-0 against Ritchie County and Parkersburg South and 1-0 against Philip Barbour, Hedgesville and Tyler Consolidated.
In the four losses, the Golden Bears won just one of the eight games. The four losses came against Musselman, Williamstown, Cabell Midland and Parkersburg. Musselman, Cabell Midland and Parkersburg all swept Oak Glen.
"A lot of them were rather decent," Riser said. "We beat them, and it wasn't like it was easy. Parkersburg South, we beat them twice. They qualified for the state tournament, and they were the runner-up in their region.
"We played Parkersburg. We played Musselman. We didn't beat them, but we played well against them. As long as we stay competitive and as long as we play at the level we can and play the best we can, that is all I can ask."
Tyler Consolidated and Williamstown are the two schools in the Class A Tournament to face Oak Glen this season. This is the first year the Silver Knights are in Class A. Tyler Consolidated dropped down from Class AA to Class A. Previously, Tyler Consolidated was in the Region 1 Section 1 Tournament along with Oak Glen, Weir and Magnolia.
Magnolia also made it to the state tournament in Class A after dropping down from Class AA this year.
Interestingly, all four of the teams in the former Region 1 Section 1 Tournament advanced to the regional tournament this year.
"Exactly," Riser said. "That just shows how competitive those teams were when in they were in Class AA. They were both very competitive competitive, especially Tyler. We played them, and we beat them too."
Weir ended up losing to Ritchie County in the regional semifinals Saturday down at East Fairmont High School.
The Golden Bears lost to the Yellowjackets, 2-1, in a regular season tournament played back on Oct. 6.
Oak Glen is 6-0 against qualifying teams in the Class AA State Tournament. Frankfort, Ritchie County and Philip Barbour all qualified for the state tournament.
The Golden Bears defeated the Rebels in the Region 1 Final Saturday to win the regional title. Oak Glen defeated Roane County in the regional semifinals.
In Class AAA, Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Cabell Midland and Musselman all qualified for the state tournament. Musselman handed Oak Glen's its first loss of the season in a match played at the VFW Invitational back on Sept. 1 at Oak Glen.
"They beat us in the VFW final," Riser said. "We finished second to them in the VFW Tournament."
Edison defeated Parkersburg South, 25-16, 20-25, 25-22, in the tournament final to win the OVAC Class 5A title. The Wildcats entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed, and Edison defeated top-seeded Indian Creek, 25-23, 27-25, in the semifinals. Parkersburg South, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, defeated second-seeded University, 16-25, 25-8, 25-11, in the semifinals.
Indian Creek defeated University in the consolation final. The Redskins ended up defeating Edison in a sectional co-final to advance to an Ohio Division II Eastern District Co-Final. The Wildcats and Redskins split their four meetings this season.
Oak Glen defeated Edison twice during the regular season. Both of the Golden Bears' victories came in tri-matches. The Golden Bears' first victory over the Wildcats came in a tri-match back on Sept. 10 at Oak Glen. Steubenville Catholic Central also competed in the tri-match. Oak Glen's second victory over Edison came in a tri-match Sept. 29 at Wellsville.
The Golden Bears split their two matches in the OVAC Class 4A Tournament. Oak Glen entered the tournament as the top seed, but No. 4 seed Meadowbrook defeated Oak Glen. 30-28, 25-15, in the semifinals. Oak Glen defeated Union Local, the No. 3 seed, in the consolation final, 25-11, 25-16.
Meadowbrook ended up defeating No. 2 seed East Liverpool, 25-15, 22-25, 25-19, in the tournament final to win the championship. The Potters defeated the Jets, 25-23, 25-23, in the semifinals.
Tyler Consolidated won the Class 3A title by defeating Monroe Central in the semifinals and Shenandoah in the finals.
Parkersburg and Cabell Midland defeated Oak Glen in a tournament Oct. 23 at Parkersburg High School. Those matches were the final two of the regular season for Oak Glen. The two losses gave the Golden Bears their first two-match losing streak of the season.
Oak Glen has won four-straight matches since its two losses. Oak Glen defeated Fairmont Senior in the semifinals and Weir in the finals to win the sectional title.
The Golden Bears went 5-0 against the Red Riders this season.
Oak Glen's other loss came back on Sept. 17 at Beaver Local. The Beavers won that match in four games. Oak Glen and Beaver Local split this season.
With playing such a strong schedule, the Golden Bears should be ready for whatever comes their way down at Charleston.
"Exactly," Riser said. "That is what I am hoping for. I hope they are ready. Unless someone jumps out and surprises us I think they will be fine.
"Frankfort, we beat them three times, and they are probably who we would play second. They are in the match right below us. I hate to go that far ahead. We are focused on the first one. We are going to take them one at a time.
"Someone said James Monroe had beaten Pikeview all year, and then Pikeview beat them in the regional final to finish in first place. Those teams are 1-2 in the regional all the time."
The Golden Bears will hold one final practice this morning before going on the road.
"We practiced today, and we are going to practice tomorrow before we go," Riser said. "We planned to practice in Charleston, but that didn't work out.
"The girls want to practice. We are going to practice at 8 o'clock in the morning. We play at 8:30 in the morning, so we are going to get used to playing at the time. We practice at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. That was the reasoning. We play in the tournament on Friday in the 8:30 game."
The Golden Bears are hoping a good number of fans will go down to Charleston to support them in the state tournament.
"I think they are ready," Riser said. "Hopefully, the fans will come down and support us."