Prep volleyball teams to open season

Philip Barbour will begin its quest for a 12th straight state tournament appearance today with the arrival of the high school volleyball season.

The Colts will host Elkins at 7 p.m.

After falling in the semifinals of last year’s Class AA state tourney, the Colts must replace five seniors, including all-state first-team selection Brooke Depoy, to graduation. Seniors Nikki Shriver, who also was a first-team selection last season, and Morgan Stemler are back, however.

The Tigers, who lost to Buckhannon-Upshur in last year’ sectional tourney, have three seniors on the roster – Kayla Simmons, Shirley Fox and Caroline Valdez.

Buckhannon-Upshur, meanwhile, will open the season Thursday at Robert C. Byrd for a tri-match against the Eagles and Preston.

The Bucs are coming off one of their best efforts in school history, compiling a record of 22-5-2 during the regular season.

B-U captured the sectional title before falling to Hedgesville in regional action.

Leah Blend and Mackenzie Leigh are expected to lead B-U once again after both players earned all-Big 10 Conference laurels last season.

Blend also was a second-team Class AAA all-state selection as a junior.

Tygarts Valley will travel to Petersburg at 6 p.m. Thursday for its first game of the season.

The Bulldogs will rely on a strong senior class, led by Charity Lower, Kelsey Arbogast, Abbey Lambert, Rachel New, Emily Pingley and Elizabeth Pritt.

Pendleton County also will begin the season on Thursday, traveling to Eastern Mennonite, Va., while Moorefield will visit East Hardy on Tuesday for its season debut.

Pocahontas County begins the campaign Sept. 12 at Bath County, Va.