Last year, Wes Post, now in his second season as the head volleyball coach at La Salle High School, was busy re-hauling the Lancers program. According to Post, it was his job to bring structure to a program lacking.
Now, he feels like they’re moving in the right direction. During last season’s overhaul, the Lancers were still competitive but only came away with seven wins. Post has three returning starters from that team, and just two seniors this year.
Returning as starters are senior William Frey, a two-year varsity player and a defensive specialist, and junior libero Joe Walden and sophomore outside hitter Will Goldschmidt.
“The good thing is we’re extremely young,” said Post. “We have five sophomores that play a pretty dominant role on our team.”
Some of those sophomores are Hayden Wood, Jake Kroger and Alex Williams.
The Lancers will be looking up at most opponents. They’re not the biggest team. Post said his biggest guy is junior Anthony Martini (6-foot-3) who’s a middle blocker in his second season playing.
“We are not the biggest team, so we have to play a completely different game than the big guys plays,” Post said. “It’s gonna be amazing to watch them as the season progresses. I don’t know if we’ll beat (Elder, St. X and Moeller) but they will fight and I think we can scare some people.”
La Salle started the season 4-1 with four straight wins over Sycamore, Monroe, Milford and Middletown before losing to Fairfield.
Colerain High School introduced boys volleyball to its sports offerings in 2015 with a club team. The boys, who are playing a varsity schedule in their first year, have started 0-2 after losses to Edgewood and Oak Hills.
As previously reported, while a club sport, they will use the Colerain name to qualify for startup grant money and will use the high school’s facilities for both games and practice around other spring sports.
The “club” title will be in place for five years so the district can identify its popularity.
Upcoming games include a game at Milford April 10 and at Princeton April 14.
Roger Bacon is loaded with seven seniors this year so expect the Spartans to use that experience to their advantage.
Returning as starters for the Spartans are senior setter Alex Brenner, senior right-side hitter Robbie Heywood, senior middle hitter Ben Holt, senior outside hitter Bobby Wilking, senior outside hitter Jack Hausfeld and senior middle hitter Tony Weickert. Ninth-year coach Adam Goller said that Brenner is currently working his way back from an injury but the depth and balance of this team has him excited to see what they can accomplish.
Brenner and Wilking were both first team Greater Catholic League Coed conference selections last season. Holt was second team.
“I’m excited about our balance. I think our team is gonna have great balance,” said Goller. “We have a number of strong players we can go to as needed. It’s difficult right now (because of injuries) there’s been some major changes to our lineup, but we’re still competing and doing well. We’re mostly looking to get healthy again.”
To start the season, Roger Bacon defeated Bishop Watterson, then lost to Walsh Jesuit and Toledo St. Francis DeSales, before beating Fenwick. On April 3-4, the Spartans traveled to Chicago to compete in the Tiger Classic.
There’s another talented, experienced volleyball team out on North Bend Road this year at St. Xavier High School. The Bombers finished runner-up in the state last year to rival Elder, but St. X returns some serious talent and adds some newcomers that could spell trouble for its opponents.
St. X has six seniors on the roster and three are returning starters. Senior outside hitter Nick Talbot is the returning regional and Greater Catholic League South Player of the Year. Senior setter Patrick Beer is another integral spoke in the Bombers’ wheel. Coach Bill Ferris, now in his 14th season with the school, said Beer and Talbot have long been teammates and even though Talbot garnered the accolades last season, Beer was equally important to their success.
Senior middle hitter Michael Hartmann is the third returning starter and Ferris said Hartmann’s athletic and a jumper with a fast arm swing. According to Ferris, Hartmann didn’t pick up the sport until high school, but because of his athleticism he’s been able to catch up in terms of talent.
The other three seniors, all expected to help lead, are middle hitter Eric Spoelker, right-side hitter Greg Martini and defensive specialist Victor Viacava. Another key addition is junior outside hitter Evan Bretel who has the ability to play the front or back row and he’ll be charged with helping replace the hitter spot opposite Talbot who graduated.
“Having that experience (back) is very helpful to us,” Ferris said. “Our other seniors are ready to step in and they’re looking forward to it.”
Every year, St. X trades shots with its conference foes and one of them usually brings home the state title or finishes second. The reason, Ferris said, is that (at least in his experience) he doesn’t have to spend time motivating his guys.
“In my experience, and I presume it’s the same at Elder and Moeller, I don‘t have to do a lot of motivating of these guys,” Ferris explained. “They come in motivated. I don‘t spend any time getting them excited or making them want success, they’re high achievers that already want that.”
The Bombers opened conference play immediately with La Salle on April 7 and then again with Elder on April 10.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
La Salle senior William Frey: A defensive specialist a two-year varsity starter.
St. Xavier senior Nick Talbot: Returning regional and GCL South Player of the Year.
Roger Bacon senior Alex Brenner: Was first team All-GCL Co-Ed last season.
St. Xavier senior Patrick Beer: An important piece of the puzzle for the Bombers, he was second team All-GCL last season.
Roger Bacon senior Bobby Wilking: A big outside hitter who was first team All-GCL Co-Ed last season.
La Salle junior Joe Walden: A libero and important part of the Lancers’ team.