By Paul Adkins
The high school volleyball season for Logan County teams is scheduled to begin on Wednesday with the Logan County Open at the Chapmanville Regional High School gym.
Host Chapmanville is set to battle with rivals Man and Logan during the tri-match, which is slated to get started at 6 p.m.
The Lady Tigers are led by new head coach Johnny Williamson. He’s the fourth volleyball coach in Chapmanville’s history and replaces the outgoing Angie Willis, who resigned just recently.
Logan is led by second-year head coach Chelsey Stockdale, while Man is guided by Logan County’s dean of volleyball coaches, Orlando Washington.
After decent seasons, all three county teams are looking for improvement this fall. Man was most successful last season as the Lady Billies had a breakout 19-11 campaign, their best since a 33-win season in 2000. Man went 4-1 last season against county foes.
On Man’s roster are seniors Sarah Grimmett, Andrea Short and Sierra Schoolcraft; junior Mika McCoy; sophomores Tiffany Belcher, Summer Combs, Jada Harris, Kaitlyn Curry and Hannah Harvey; and freshmen Megan Goodman, Hunter Harvey, Geneva Miller and Tori Wentzel.
After playing in the season-opening tri-match, Man plays Logan again on Thursday night at Logan, goes to Tug Valley on Sept. 10 and then to Greater Beckley Christian on Sept. 12 before opening up at home on Sept. 17 with a tri-match against Mingo Central and Wyoming East, a pair of Class AA teams.
Man later hosts Chapmanville and Lincoln County on Oct. 1 in a tri-match and closes out the regular season on Oct. 24 at home against Logan.
Chapmanville has a very young team with only a pair of seniors on the roster in Ann Abrevaya and Alexandria Baisden. The junior players are: Martha Ellis, Hillary Hainer, Hailey Justice, Katie Lemmon and Bethany Perkins. The sophomore members of the team are: Autumn Blankenship, Hanna Brumfield, Adrianna Lucas, Alyssa Meeks, Katie Neil, Hannah Rakes and Savannah Wiley. The freshmen are: Hali Baldwin, Alyxandra Bush, Carly Cook, Katlyn Fletcher and Abigail Marcum.
After beginning the season with the Logan County tri-match, the Lady Tigers host Poca on Sept. 10 and Scott on Sept. 12 before going to Sissonville on Sept. 17. Later in the season, Chapmanville plays at Man and at Logan in early October.
Coach Williamson, a local basketball coach, is new to volleyball. He has coached at both Harts and Chapmanville. He’s currently an assistant coach under Allan Hatcher on the CRHS boys’ basketball team.
“It’s new to me but I’m very competitive and I hate to lose,” Williamson said of coaching volleyball. “I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve watched a lot of film. I thought that volleyball was a very simple sport but I was wrong. When Angie Willis left she only had eight players at the end of last season. I’ve got 19 girls now but only two seniors — only one of which has experience. We’re young but we’re very athletic. A lot of the girls have played basketball and they have picked up on it real quick. We scrimmaged Man and lost 2-1 and (Man coach) Orlando Washington said he was really impressed with how much they have improved from last year.”
Coach Williamson has set goals for his team.
“My goal is to go to the state tournament. That has never happened before in boys’ basketball before and I feel the same way about volleyball,” he said. “I think it’s possible with how quick the girls have picked it up. I think that we’ll be good by the end of the season if they keep working hard.”
Logan’s netters were 12-12 last season.
The Lady Cats play county rival Man three times this season and also are set to take part in the St. Albans Quad Match, the Mingo Central Quad Match, the Westside Quad Match, the Westside tourney and the River View tourney.
Coach Stockdale said she’s looking forward to another season with the Lady Cats.
“I really think our team is going to do well this year,” she said. “We have everyone back minus the two seniors we lost from last year. They have been working hard at practice and have really come together so far as a team and are working really well together.”
Logan will be led by its three seniors — Summer Napier, Katelyn Grimmett and Haley Meade.
“As for JV, they are looking good too,” she said. “I have mostly everyone back from last year and have some new faces to add into the mix also. I’m looking forward to seeing all of them grow and work together throughout the season because I know they can do great things on the court as well. The only thing I have to make sure of with them is that they talk to each other and communicate. That is one of the biggest things in volleyball and without that a team will have a tough time on the court.”
Coach Washington was unavailable for comment.