PARKERSBURG - There will be no rematch of last year's Parkersburg South Fall Brawl volleyball invitational championship match come Saturday evening inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.
That's because defending tournament champion Parkersburg, which tripped up Williamstown in straight sets - 25-11 and 25-12 - last fall, isn't in the field. Head coach Carl Harnish's Big Reds are competing at George Washington's annual invitational on Saturday.
However, the host Patriots of head coach Becky Bennett are hoping to make some noise at their own tournament this weekend, which gets under way at 9 a.m.
The field is set with a dozen teams and the latest entrant was Roane County. The Raiders are taking the place of the PSHS junior varsity team.
"We had several teams pull out and we were trying to pull in another team," said Bennett, who found out Wednesday the Raiders wanted to participate.
The format includes a trio of pools with both courts one and two being used inside the ROAC. Court three, which features Ritchie County, Williamstown, Hedgesville and Oak Glen, will play in the auxiliary gymnasium. Parkersburg South will be up against Preston, Magnolia and Huntington. Court two's pool squads are Roane County, Tyler Consolidated, Parkersburg Catholic and Morgantown.
"We've made improvements and we're still working," coach Bennett said of her Patriots. "Nothing is ever going to be perfect. We try to tell the girls it's all practice leading up to the sectional and regional and state.
"Our goal this year is to make it to state and we have a really good chance this year. The girls are working together and we are trying to improve on the little things on a daily basis."
The top two teams from each pool will advance into the tournament. Pool-play matches are slated as the best-of-three with sets going to 25 and having a cap of 30. All third sets during the pool-play matches will go to 15.
Magnolia, which dropped down to the single-A ranks this year along with Tyler Consolidated, is anxious for Saturday and hopes to qualify out of pool-play action. However, that task won't be easy.
"It's going to be interesting because my number one setter (Lauren Cline) is in a family wedding," said Blue Eagle head coach Pam Chapman. "It's going to be a little adjustment for us come Saturday."
Although Cline actually told coach Chapman about the event last year, it just so happened this was the weekend and the date the tournament wound up on. This past week, Magnolia has been working in Ashley Moore at setter.
"Ashley set when she was younger," said the coach, who watched Moore serve up eight aces and tally 15 assists earlier this week in a three-set sweep of Wheeling Central.