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Golden Bears will play for state title

CHARLESTON, W.Va.–The Oak Glen volleyball team is one step away from competing its ultimate goal.

The unbeaten Golden Bears rolled to straight set victories over Independence and Bridgeport in the West Virginia Class AA State Volleyball Tournament at Charleston.

Top-seeded Oak Glen (37-0) will play for the AA state title against second seeded Shady Spring at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.

The Golden Bears started their day by plowing through eighth-seeded Independence 25-12, 25-15, 25-10 in a quarterfinal match.

Skye Stokes led the way with 15 kills, while Hannah Rogers added nine kills. Jaedyn Hissam handed out 27 assists.

“I feel really good about the way we played,” Oak Glen coach Morgan Poling said. “I think we were feeling a little bit of nerves at first, but we got settled in and started playing with a lot more confidence.”

After a break, it was on to the semifinal against fourth-seeded Bridgeport. The Golden Bears punched their ticket to the title match with a 25-19, 25-9, 25-20 victory.

Stokes again had a big match with 16 kills. McKayla Goodlin finished with eight kills. Hissam kept everything running smoothly with 30 assists.

“I was really proud of our teamwork today,” Poling said. “Everyone is really buying into their roles and we are playing with a lot of positive energy right now.”

The Golden Bears will be gunning for their seventh state championship to go with AA/A titles in 1997 and 1998 and AA titles in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Shady Spring won AA/A state titles in 1992, 1993 and 1994 to go with AA titles in 2002 and 2003.

Shady Spring rallied in the final set to defeat third-seeded Philip Barbour 25-16, 18-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-9 in a thrilling second semifinal match Saturday.

The Golden Bears did not face Shady Spring this season and beat Philip Barbour three times, including a five-setter at regionals last week. Poling said her team had no preference on its opponent.

“It doesn’t really matter to us,” Poling said. “Whoever we match up against, we’ll show up ready to play and see how it goes.”