NEW MANCHESTER - The Golden Bears are looking to repeat.
The Oak Glen volleyball team plays at 8:30 a.m. this morning against James Monroe in a West Virginia Class AA State Tournament Quarterfinal down at the Charleston Civic Center.
Oak Glen enters the tournament this year as the defending state champions. Oak Glen defeated Ritchie County in the state final last year to win the school's fourth state title. It was the second time Oak Glen captured a state championship by defeating Ritchie County in the state final.
Oak Glen’s Morgan Poling goes for a block against Edison’s Katie Davidson during a match played Sept. 29 at Oak Glen. Also pictured are Oak?Glen’s Sydney Kell, Kaitlyn Smith and Vanessa Hissam and Edison’s Kylie Smith (2), Victoria Freeland (8) and Caitlin Brenstuhl. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
The Rebels defeated the Golden Bears in the regional final leading up to the state tournament last season.
The Golden Bears also won state titles in 1997, 1998 and 2008.
In 1997, Oak Glen won the Class AA-A title by defeating Ritchie County in the finals. The next year, Oak Glen repeated as Class AA-A state champions by defeating Wirt County in the finals. In 2008, Oak Glen won the Class AA championship by defeating James Monroe in the state final.
Wirt County turned the tables on oak Glen by defeating the Golden Bears in the Class AA State Final back in 2000.
Winfield defeated Oak Glen in the Class AA State Final back in 2006.
This year, Oak Glen enters the state tournament with a stellar record of 37-6. Of the Golden Bears' 43 matches, seven have come against schools in the local area. Oak Glen ended up going 6-1 in those matches.
Oak Glen swept East Liverpool and Edison this season. Oak Glen split with Beaver Local. Oak Glen won its lone match against Wellsville.
Both of the Golden Bears' victories over the Wildcats came in tri-matches. The two teams first meeting came during a tri-match Sept. 10 at Oak Glen. Steubenville Catholic Central also competed at the tri. The Golden Bears defeated the Wildcats in four games, and they defeated the Crusaders in three.
Edison defeated Catholic Central to earn a split that night.
The second tri-match in which Oak Glen and Edison faced off against each other was held on Sept. 29 at Wellsville. The Golden Bears swept both the Wildcats and the Tigers.
Edison defeated Wellsville to earn a split in the tri.
Oak Glen played at home and on the road against East Liverpool and Beaver Local.
"Defense is their strength," East Liverpool head coach Bob Shansky said. "They are a great-defensive team. They make a play out of every ball.
"They are well coached. Ethel (Riser) does a nice job over there. She always has. They have had a lot of good years. They won the state last year. She does a good job with them.
"Some of their players play on the same team as some of my players in the offseason. They know each other well. We are pretty excited for them. We always support them like we support all of the local teams.
"They have been there before. They know what to expect. If they keep their cool and their composure they have a chance to win it.
"They are a good group of kids. They can win it if they want it, and I think they do."
The Golden Bears defeated the Potters in four games in a match played Sept. 11 at home. Then on Sept. 18, Oak Glen defeated East Liverpool and Weir in a tri-match played at Potter Fieldhouse.
The Golden Bears defeated the Potters in three games, and they defeated the Red Riders in two.
The Potters defeated the Red Riders to earn a split that night.
"We had good battles with them this year," Shansky said. "We took a game over there. We had a chance in the fourth game, but we made we made some untimely mistakes and they capitalized.
"Then at our place, we played in a tri. The match came down to the third game. It was very close. We competed with them, and that was important for us. They are good team to play. Playing them makes our kids play better. The girls got up to play them. Obviously, they are one of our local rivals. We play Beaver Local. We play Wellsville, and we play Oak Glen.
"I don't know a lot about the teams they are playing in West Virginia, but it seems like they are blowing people away. That is pretty impressive.
"They have a real-nice libero in (Abby) Tice. She is a nice ball player. She covers the floor well, and if I recall she has a very-nice serve too.
"If they win it, it is because they are consistent. They were very consistent when they played us. We couldn't afford to make mistakes against them. When we made mistakes, the capitalized on them. That is what a good team does."
Oak Glen opened the season Aug. 29 at home with a sweep in a tri-match over Beaver Local and Weir. The Golden Bears defeated both the Beavers and the Red Riders in two games.
Oak Glen went 5-0 this season against their Hancock County rival. The Golden Bears did not lose a game to the Red Riders this season.
Beaver Local handed Oak Glen its second loss of the season when the Beavers defeated the Golden Bears in four games in a match played Sept. 17 out at the Beaver Dome.
Oak Glen's first loss of the season came against Musselman in the VFW Invitational Final played on Sept. 1 at Oak Glen.
Oak Glen advanced to the state tournament by defeating Fairmont Senior in the semfinals and Weir in the finals of the Region 1 Section 1 Tournament played Nov. 1 at Oak Glen. Then, Oak Glen defeated Roane County in the semifinals and Ritchie County in the finals of the Region 1 Tournament Saturday down at East Fairmont High School.
The Golden Bears have not yet lost a game during the postseason.
"I wish them the best of luck," Shansky said. "They are all friends. All of the kids know each other. I'm sure they will be texting each other back and forth."