FAIRMONT -The Golden Bears are headed to Charleston as regional champions.
The Oak Glen volleyball team defeated Roane County, 25-9, 25-13, 25-9, in the semifinals and Ritchie County, 25-20, 25-10, 25-21, in the finals en route to winning the West Virginia Class AA Region 1 Tournament title Saturday down at East Fairmont High School.
"It is another step in heading to the state tournament," Oak Glen head coach Ethel Riser said. "Hopefully, it is another step on winning a state title. It means we are right on track. We are where we need to be. We are going to be one of the top seeds in the tournament. We will be playing a No. 2 team instead of a No. 1. It means a lot."
The Oak Glen volleyball team poses with their regional championship trophy on Saturday at East Fairmont High School. (Submitted photo)
Oak Glen defeated Ritchie County in the state final last year. The Rebels had defeated the Golden Bears in the Region 1 Final heading into the state tournament.
"Three of our main starters didn't play varsity last year," Riser said. "The girls filled in, and we didn't miss a beat."
With the two wins, the Golden Bears are now 37-6 on the season.
"Overall, we played well," Riser said. "There were a few mistakes, but nothing major. It was a total-team effort. Everyone played as a team. That is what we need to have happen."
Oak Glen will now play in the state tournament beginning Friday morning down at the Charleston Civic Center.
"We are where I thought we would be," Riser said. "I'm sure some of them thought we were going to be here. Most of the girls were in the same place last year except last year we were not regional champions. We were the runner-up to Ritchie County.
"Being the regional champion makes it a little easier. We won't know until probably Monday who play play on Friday."
For the Golden Bears against the Raiders, Sydney Kell collected 12 points, 48 sets and 11 assists, Morgan Poling produced three points, two spikes, 10 kills, three blocks and two digs and Lacee Porter recorded two points, seven spikes, 11 kills and one block.
Also, Vanessa Hissam added six spikes, five kills and one block, Abby Tice tallied 18 points, five aces, one spike and nine digs and Jessica Stivason ended up with four spikes, seven kills and one block.
Next, Jessica Hutton netted two points and three spikes, Kaitlyn Smith contributed four points and six digs and Carissa Williams chipped in with 18 sets and five assists.
Finally, Madison Juszczak finished with three points, one spike and one kill.
Riser said her players were not nervous heading into the regional tournament.
"No, not really," she said. "The first team was of course much easier. The second team, we already played them once, and we beaten them. I would say no, they were not really nervous."
Against the Rebels, Kell tallied five points, 55 sets, five spikes, two kills and one block, Poling picked up eight points, one ace, four spikes, six kills, seven blocks and seven digs and Porter produced five points, 10 spikes, 13 kills, one block and four digs.
Also, Hissam scored four points to go along with 14 spikes and nine kills, Tice collected five points, one ace, five spikes and 13 digs and Stivason netted eight spikes, seven kills and three blocks.
Next, Hutton ended up with three points, one ace and one spike, Smith finished with 14 points and 13 digs and Williams added 45 sets and 10 assists.
Finally, Juszczak delivered two spikes, four kills and three blocks.
"Yes, the girls were very excited," Riser said about winning the regional title. "This is something we have been planning on. We are looking toward next week. We don't know what the schedule is going to be yet."
The Golden Bears are led on and off the court by their four seniors - Tice, Kell, Smith and Porter.
"The seniors definitely lead," Riser said. "They keep everyone in line. They get everyone enthused when they need to be enthused. They keep everyone calm when they need to keep calm. They are the leaders on and off the court. They take control. They lead by example. That is what they have to do."
Prior to last year, Oak Glen previously won state titles in Class AA-A back in 1997 and 1998 as well the Class AA title in 2008.
The tournament pairings will be determined by a blind draw today.
"We should know Monday morning who we are going to play," Riser said. "They are going to be doing the draw tomorrow night, but we probably won't hear who we play until Monday morning."