The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 10, 2013

AAA South sweeps annual North-South tournament

By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer

BECKLEY — Woodrow Wilson volleyball coach Shirley Brown is used to seeing Kaitie Shaver and Ellen Henthorn on the other side of the net.

But Sunday, in the annual North-South All-Star Tournament at Woodrow, Brown had a chance to coach the Greenbrier East all-staters.

And she loved it, as the duo from the Class AAA state runner-up Spartans, along with Shady Spring’s Rhae Eisenman, helped the AAA South All-Stars to a sweep of the AAA North, AA-A South and AA-A North teams.

“Kaitie is a wonderful, all-around player who can play any position — one of the top, if not the top player I’ve seen this year,” Brown said of Shaver, a 5-foot-10 setter and right-side hitter who earned first-team all-state honors. “I told her I wish she’d been on my team.”

Brown was also very impressed with Henthorn, a 5-8 hitter and defender who was named to the all-state second team, and Eisenman, the playmaker for the Lady Tigers.

“Ellen is like the inspiration of the team. She’s always positive, always excited, trying to get everyone up,” Brown said. “Rhae did really well. She’s an excellent server and a very good setter.”

The AAA South team, which was also coached by Greenbrier East’s Matt Sauvage and Brown’s assistant at Woodrow, Sharon Pinardo, rolled to 2-0 victories over AA-A South and AA-A North, and a 2-1 win over AAA North.

“Everybody played well. Sharon, Matt and I were pleased with all of them,” Brown said. “They practiced Saturday, and on Sunday, within 10 minutes, they were playing like they had played together all year.”

Independence hitter Anne Bass was another player who impressed Brown.

Standing just 5-7, the Class AA second-team all-stater hit with authority.

“Anne played dynamite,” Brown said. “She’s also a great defensive player. She did an excellent job.”

Sunday marked the 12th consecutive North-South tournament to be held at Woodrow.

Despite the forecast for ice and snow, the games went on. Only one player who practiced Saturday was unable to return.

“Everything went really well. Thank God the weather held out,” Brown said. “It was good to recognize the girls.”

— E-mail: dstillwell@