Oak Glen makes it a clean sweep at sectional

FAIRMONT — The Oak Glen volleyball team made the most of a two-plus hour trip south to the Fairmont Senior Field House for the West Virginia Class AA Region 1, Section 1 tournament.

The Golden Bears swept their way through the five-team, double-elimination tournament in dominant fashion to retain ownership of the sectional title.

“It was a very successful day,” Oak Glen coach Ethel Riser said. “It was good to see them perform like that because sometimes when you ride that bus for two hours and then try to play games, it can be a little bit rough.”

The Golden Bears did not lose a single set all day and only allowed opponents to score double digits in five sets during the tournament.

“They were really dominant today,” Riser said. “They played really well together today, and they were on so things were happening.”

Alexis Swan led the way with 35 kills, 26 blocks, seven digs and seven aces on the day. Hannah Rogers had 32 kills, 15 digs, 15 aces and four blocks. Jaedyn Hissam had 112 assists, four kills, two blocks, two digs and an ace.

Oak Glen started the day off with a matchup against Ohio Valley rival Weir High. It made quick work of the young Red Riders, winning 25-10, 25-9, 25-10.

On the other court, North Marion — who the Golden Bears would end up facing in the final about seven hours later — picked up a four-set win over host Fairmont Senior 25-10, 25-18, 23-15, 25-18.

Oak Glen’s next opponent would be the other Fairmont school in the tournament, East Fairmont, and the Bees did not fare any better than Weir against the powerful Golden Bears hitters. Oak Glen cruised to a 25-9, 25-13, 25-6 sweep to improve to 2-0 on the day and set up a first meeting with the Huskies.

Simultaneously in the first elimination match of the double-elimination tournament, Weir extended its season to another game by battling out a sweep of Fairmont Senior 25-23, 25-19, 25-22 to earn a shot at East Fairmont and send the host Polar Bears into hibernation as the first team knocked out.

In the first showdown between the Golden Bears and Huskies, Oak Glen made quick work once again, dispatching North Marion 25-13, 25-8, 25-9 to advance to the sectional final. It had to wait about three hours to compete as the remaining three teams battled for another shot at them.

East Fairmont and Weir squared off in the next win-or-go-home match. The Bees started off with a close 25-23 first set win before Weir pulled even with a 25-19 victory in the second set. East Fairmont would take the next two to end the Red Riders season, however, winning the third 26-24 after a Weir rally was nearly enough to give them the advantage. The Bees then closed it out with 25-17 fourth set to advance to face the Huskies.

“A lot of the things that happened today were our mistakes,” Weir coach Carrie Magnone said. “They played hard. They hustled. We have no seniors, so the greatest thing about it is we all get to come back next year and try again. We get to perfect our skills and come back better.

“They got better every time they played. We have to work on some of the mistakes they make, but they are a good team and have the skills to do it.”

In the final matchup of the losers bracket to earn another shot at Oak Glen, North Marion and East Fairmont — who faced each other earlier in the week with the Huskies earning a comeback victory — battled through four sets to determine a winner. North Marion came out on top 25-19, 24-26, 25-23, 25-22 to advance to the final for one more crack at the Golden Bears.

Oak Glen was warming up on the other court for the majority of East Fairmont-North Marion match so the sectional final could underway immediately.

“For me it was a challenge,” Riser said of having to wait. “We sat for three hours waiting for the next game to come. I called them down and told them to get warmed up so we can get right in there and get out of here because it was a long day for everyone. We left home at 7 a.m. It’ll be good to get home.”

The Golden Bears came out ready, jumping out to a 6-1 lead before taking the first set 25-6. They took the second, 25-9, and then closed out the sectional title with a 25-10 victory in the third set to wrap up a day of domination.

“Their hitters are outstanding,” North Marion coach Lisa Spears said. “We’re not where they are quite yet. Within our conference we only see Philip Barbour once a year, and they are about the only thing we see that compares to what Oak Glen does hitting wise.”

Both Oak Glen and North Marion advance to the regional tournament next week at Philip Barbour.

“Our main worry right now is the regional, finding out who is going to be there and who we are going to have to play,” Riser said. “It gets a lot tougher there than it was here. I know from experience over the years it gets harder. It’s going to be a tough competition.”