Pocahontas County High School Volleyball Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Dunmore, WV – As the Pocahontas County High School Volleyball season came to an end this past weekend, it wasn’t so long ago that the sport didn’t even exist at the school; in fact volleyball celebrated only its 20th birthday this year at Pocahontas County High School.
In 1990, Pocahontas County High School realized that they were out of compliance with Title IX, a law that bans sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funds. One way for the school to become complaint with the law was to add a girl’s sports team to the athletic department. Parents in Pocahontas County began petitioning the school board to see if they could add a volleyball team because there was enough interest in the sport that a team could be formed and compete.
After the School Board approved of creating the team, the next step was finding a coach who had volleyball experience and who could teach the newly introduced sport to high school students. Enter former Head Coach Ruth Bland.
“I had played volleyball for a Quad-A high school outside Pittsburgh, PA,” says Bland, “then played college volleyball at the University of California-Pennsylvania for four years. When I came to Pocahontas County, volleyball was my life and I was hoping the high school would eventually get a team.”
As with any new sports program, the 1990 Pocahontas Volleyball team hit a lot of bumps on the road in their inaugural year according to the current Green Bank Elementary/Middle School Principle.
“Now our first year we really didn’t do very well with winning games,” says Bland. “It took us about four years to get going. Also in that first year, I remember traveling all the way to Keyser, WV to play because the sport was new in rural areas and no one had teams.”
One player on that first year team was Monica Green, who was a sophomore in 1990. She talks about what brought her to the sport.
“I just enjoyed sports,” says Green, “and the only thing available at the time was basketball. I was really interested in volleyball and was glad when it came to the school.”
Green credits Bland with making that first year very memorable despite the lack of wins.
“I remember it being a lot of fun,” says Green, “she definitely made it really enjoyable. Of course no one really knew much about the sport but she did a great job of teaching it to us.”
Twenty years later Pocahontas County High School Volleyball is as strong as ever as evident from the successful season that just recently came to an end, and Bland credits current Head Coach Melvin Lindsey with furthering the program and establishing a top team year-in and year-out.