PHILIPPI - Building a top-notch high school program not only takes talent, but dedication by the individuals who participate in that given sport during the offseason.
Those elements have made Philip Barbour one of the premier volleyball squads in the state for over a decade - the Colts have participated in the past 11 state tournaments, winning the Class AA crown in 2005.
"We've a lot of experienced girls this year to go along with some younger talent," Philip Barbour coach Heather Halfin said after her team opened the season with a Big 10 Conference home win over Elkins on Wednesday night. "The thing I like about this team is that the older players are showing the new players a lot of guidance. They line them up at the right spots on the court and display a lot of leadership."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joey Kittle
Philip Barbour’s Carmen Kline returns the ball in front of Elkins’ Taylor Miller during Big 10 Conference play Wednesday night in Philippi. The Colts’ Mariah Davis, left, is also shown. Philip Barbour won the match in three straight games.
Halfin experimented with several lineups in the three-game win (25-5, 25-14, 25-16) over the Tigers.
"We were able to play everyone, which is good because you never know when you'll need somebody to step in and contribute," Halfin said. "We'll take some notes from this one and try to continue to get better as the season goes on."
Cori Carpenter paced the Colts in points with 14. She also added four aces and six kills.
The scoring sheet was balanced for Philip Barbour on this night as Hannah Stewart tallied 11 points, three aces and 17 digs, Shelby Daugherty 10 points, one ace and 13 assists, Nikki Shriver, a returning all-stater, 12 kills, Mariah Davis seven kills, Morgan Stemler nine assists, Katie Mahoney eight assists and Hailey Stewart 10 digs.
Elkins, meanwhile, lost seven seniors from last year's squad and returns only one this season with varsity starting experience.
"We're very young but we can't use that has an excuse for losing," Tiger coach Penny Crawford said. "We just need to continue to improve each game and gain some experience as we go."
Philip Barbour will return to action at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Doddridge County tournament, while Elkins will visit Lincoln at 7 p.m. Tuesday for another conference matchup.
The Colts also won the junior varsity contest, 25-8, 25-12.