STEUBENVILLE - The Oak Glen volleyball team showed why it is the two-time defending West Virginia Class AA state champion.
The Golden Bears opened defense of their latest state title in grand fashion Wednesday night at Steubenville Catholic as they earned a 25-15, 25-15, 25-17, victory.
"The girls played really well for our first match," veteran Oak Glen (1-0) coach Ethel Riser said. "They played hard and they played aggressively."
Catholic Central (4-2) battled, but in the end the Golden Bears were just too tough to handle.
"They are a nice team," first-year Steubenville Catholic coach Sherri Barber said. "They hit the heck out of it."
Individually for the Golden Bears, Morgan Poling collected 11 points, six spikes, 11 kills, 11 blocks and seven digs, Vanessa Hissam scored two points to go along with 11 spikes,12 kills, two blocks and eight digs, and Madison Juszczak contributed 13 points, nine spikes, four kills and three blocks.
Also, Jessica Hutton netted five sets, two assists, seven spikes, three kills and three blocks, Jessica Stivason ended up with six spikes, six kills and eight digs and Emmy Delekta delivered three points, 19 sets, five assists and two digs.
The Crusaders mounted a few charges during the match, but each time the Golden Bears had an answer.
"I hope so," Riser said. "I hope we keep doing that."
Individually for the Crusaders, Megan Lloyd tallied five assists, two kills and eight points, Monica Fischer finished with seven kills, nine points and six digs, and Monica Rigaud delivered eight kills, seven blocks and one dig.
Also, Robyn Runkle recorded 15 assists and 19 points, and Kamy Belardine collected 11 digs and 10 points.
The Golden Bears outhit the Crusaders throughout the match.
"The same thing happened when we played Edison," Barber said. "We are not playing well against the good teams, or as good as we need to play.
"We are only hitting 20 percent. You cannot do that and win. You have to consistently hit the ball. They hit the ball well in practice every day. They just need to have more confidence that they can do it."
Oak Glen gained the early advantage in the first set and led 4-1, 8-3, 10-5, 12-6 and 13-7. The Crusaders fought back for the first time in the match and pulled within 14-11.
Oak Glen responded and built its advantage back up to 21-15 forcing Barber to call a timeout. The timeout did not help the cause as the victors scored four straight points after it was called to win the set.