Paden City Lady ‘Cats On Nice Winning Streak
The Paden City volleyball team continues to make noise within the ranks of Class A of West Virginia with three more wins over quality opponents in the past week.
Bishop Donahue, John Marshall and Wheeling Central all had their chance at the Wildcats, but each time the Paden City netters found a way to win.
As a result, they qualified for the OVAC tournament and will play Bellaire St. Johns Saturday at Union Local.Their first match came against the Lady Bishops on Wednesday, and both teams entertained the crowd to a 5-set evening.
Paden City starting off winning games 1 and 2 by scores of 25-23 and 25-14, but the Marshall County Catholic school would even things up with 25-10 and 30-28 wins.
In the fifth game though, Paden City came out and took an early lead that would propel them to a 15-10 win to take the match 3-2 over a team that previously defeated them this season.
Three girls scored in double figures for points with Dominique Craft leading the way with 11 and Shauna Durant and Amanda Tallman scoring 10. Tallman also tallied 12 kills, second only to Alli Bertozzi who finished with 24 in addition to her four aces. Kim Davis and Amy Toman had seven and six kills respectively.
Defensively Amber Palmer led the ‘Cats with 10 digs. Durant had seven and Bertozzi had eight. Amanda Sellers was credited with 42 assists on 108 sets.
The very next evening, Paden City entertained Wheeling Central and John Marshall. That’s correct. John Marshall. It’s not often when single A schools schedule triple A schools. It’s even more rare when they involve one of the smallest schools and one of the biggest schools in the state with a difference of over 1,000 students in population.
Still, the Wildcats played John Marshall in the first match of a tri on Thursday. The outcome looked grim initially as the ‘Cats dropped the first set 25-17.
They would roar back in the second winning 25-19 and came from behind in the third to win 25-23.
Sellers had a strong game with 11 points. Craft had nine, Tallman had six, and Palmer had four. Bertozzi and Davis both finished with double figures in kills.
“We’re playing a Quad-A team (in the OVAC) and inside their mind, they didn’t really think about how good John Marshall was, they thought ‘this is one of the biggest schools, and they’re at our place so let’s see what we can do to them,'” said Coach Fred King. “It’s a win-win situation, because we’re the smallest team in the OVAC and they’re the second largest. It’s a true David vs. Goliath matchup. The mindset that we had to have was that this can only make us better.”
Wheeling Central was up next for the Wildcats. Despite their athletic excellence in many sports, the Maroon Knights were no match for Paden City.The ‘Cats made quick work of their Class A counterparts, winning 25-19 and 25-12 for a sweet of both teams.
Offensively the hosts were led by Bertozzi with 12 kills and Tallman with nine. The points were spread around in a total team effort along with the digs. Durant and Palmer each had four digs. Bertozzi and Tallman had three each, Craft had two, and Amanda Heasley and Taylor Parsons each got into the scoring column with one each. Heasley also added an ace.
The wins put their record at 16-4 which includes a 14-game winning streak. They will play Bellaire St. Johns in the OVAC tournament on Saturday at noon with the winner taking on the survivor of the Beallsville-Bishop Donahue match.
“The only concern I have is maintaining focus,” King mentioned about the streak. “I told the girls to enjoy it while they can. Remember, if you start getting full of yourself, you better be thinking about how it was, and that’ll keep you focused.
“It’s one of those things that’s there and we have to live with. I’m glad it’s a streak this way and not the other way. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. We’re figuring out a way to come up big.”
Despite everything positive that has gone on during the Lady ‘Cats matches, King still thinks his team has to peak at the right time and they are working towards that achievement.
“We have to serve with 90 percent accuracy and we must play free balls and playable balls. We have to be consistent with our serving, with our passing game, and with our communication.”
On a side note, King really appreciated the students coming out to cheer for the volleyball team and believes it was a driving force that helps the psyche of the team.
“We never initiated that,” King said of the student section. “That was initiated by the kids in our school. It’s a good thing that we’ve got here with the chemistry between our student body. I think it started last year in the sectional tournament with boys basketball and they’re thinking ‘hey, that’s fun so let’s do it again.’ It’s kind of how the girls came up to bat for us last year, the boys are coming to bat for the girls.”