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SPORTS

A8 • HILLTOP PRESS • NOVEMBER 6, 2013

HILLTOP

PRESS

Editor: Melanie Laughman, mlaughman@communitypress.com, 513-248-7573

HIGH SCHOOL | YOUTH | RECREATIONAL

CommunityPress.com

A bright future ahead for Roger Bacon volleyball By Tom Skeen

tskeen@communitypress.com

Members of the St. Xavier High School water polo team show off their state runners-up trophy Oct. 26 at Mason High School after losing to St. Charles Prep 17-13 in the Ohio High School state water polo title game.THANKS TO JOANNE LUTMER

St. X water polo lays foundation for future seasons

By Tom Skeen

tskeen@communitypress.com

SPRINGFIELD TWP. — Jake Westerkamp and his St. Xavier High School water polo teammates were one half away from seeing their ultimate goal come to fruition. The Bombers led St. Charles Preparatory Academy out of Columbus 8-6 at halftime of the Ohio High School state title game, but were outscored 11-5 in the second half en route to a 17-13 loss Oct. 26 at Mason High School. Despite the loss, coach Mike Roberts isn’t focusing on what the Bombers didn’t accomplish; he wants everyone to know what his guys accomplished in just three years since establishing the program. “All we had this year was positives,” Roberts said. “… We beat every team in the state. We beat the team that won last year, we beat the team that won this year and that’s nothing but up for us. This is like the first rung of the ladder.” Roberts believes if it weren’t for Westerkamp, there wouldn’t even be a ladder to climb. As a “little skinny” sophomore, Westerkamp of Loveland started the first water polo match in St. X history and has started the 90-plus games since. “If he didn’t come out or chose to go to a different high school, I’m not sure we could have carried the program through some bumps in the road,” Roberts said of his senior captain. “He’s just been tremendous.” Westerkamp ended his career in style despite not bringing home a state title. He scored eight of the Bombers’ 13 goals

St. Xavier senior Jake Westerkamp works around two St. Charles Prep defenders and puts a shot on net during the water polo state title game Oct. 26 at Mason High School. The team captain scored eight goals in the Bombers’ 17-13 loss to the Cardinals. TOM SKEEN/COMMUNITY PRESS

against the Cardinals to earn himself a 2013 Ohio state AllTournament team honor. “Jake is like a coach’s dream,” Roberts said. “He’s a kid that’s not physically imposing, he’s not exceptionally strong, he’s not exceptionally fast, but he’s very aware. He plays as a good teammate. He’s smart, he’s wily, he’s a great leader and he’ll be missed.” The Bombers (18-11-1) struggled all season long with the Cardinals going 1-4 versus the state champs. Their lone win came Oct. 6 at the Milford Invitational, knocking off the Cards 8-5. “They are a very well coached team,” Roberts said. “(St. Charles coach) Jeff Geers has been coaching a long time and he’s got a system. He’s insistent his kids play within the system; they do that and they do it

well.” Three years ago St. Xavier didn’t have a water polo program, now they have three teams with 28 kids, including 14 who never touched a water polo ball prior to the beginning of the season. This year’s team includes boys from Loveland, Roselawn, Sharonville, Pleasant Ridge, Colerain Township, West Chester, Blue Ash, Middletown, Anderson Township, Hyde Park, Maineville, and Madeira. The foundation has been laid for those youngsters who were exposed to success and leadership early in their careers. “They have grown up playing other sports or swimming so it’s just a great mix,” Roberts said of his underclassmen. “Having them exposed to Jake Westerkamp for 100 days and a season is just going to be great for them going forward.”

ST. BERNARD — As a former player and a 2005 graduate of Roger Bacon High School, Alyssa Carlotta knows how to win on the volleyball court. In her four years as a Spartan, her volleyball team went 103-11, including back-to-back state championships in ’04 and ’05. When she took over as head coach before the 2012 season, her one goal was to reestablish the Carlotta “Never Say Die” attitude that was rampant in the locker room during her playing days. While her 2013 Spartans weren’t able to hang another banner from the ceiling this season, they took huge steps in the right direction achieving the team’s first winning season since 2010. “When I came in as the head coach I kept telling (the team) Roger Bacon is a team that will never give up,” Carlotta said. “We will always push. We may not be the biggest, but no one can outsmart us and no one can work as hard as we do.” The Spartans’ season came to an end Oct. 26 with a straight-sets loss to Versailles, who was ranked No. 3 in the final Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association state poll. “We were prepared for it, but they are a very good team,” Carlotta said of the loss. “Unfortunately we aren’t the tallest team, but we do have good ball control, and we were going up against a great outside hitter in Amanda Winner who is 511 and jumps out of the gym.” Seniors Grace Cunningham and Megan Fulton exemplified the attitude Carlotta is trying to bring back to the program. Both transferred to Roger Bacon (Cunningham from Mercy and Fulton from McAuley) and set the tone for how the program is to be run in the future. “They set the example of where I want this program to go,” the coach said. “They got back to the idea of ‘never give

Roger Bacon senior Grace Cunningham jump serves during a straight-sets victory over league rival McNicholas Oct. 10. TOM SKEEN/COMMUNITY PRESS

up, continue to push and to work hard.’ Both of them are disciplined and work hard and pushed their teammates to do so, too.” Junior Lexy Hoffman will be the leader going forward. Already a two-time team captain, the setter finished second in the Greater Catholic League Coed with a .394 efficiency rating and 457 assists. “Lexy is one of those players who will give you 110 percent,” Carlotta said. “She will run through a wall for anyone, especially for her volleyball team. … She’s just one of those players who works hard and is a good player to coach.” Despite the loss of Fulton and Cunningham – the lone seniors on the roster – talent is rampant throughout the Spartan roster from the freshmen team up through varsity, leaving a bright future for Carlotta. “Those two seniors set the bar high, but they showed the rest of the program what it means to be a Spartan and what I expect of them. If the rest of the girls continue in their footsteps, I really see a bright future.” Roger Bacon senior Megan Fulton waits for the ball as her teammates look on during the Spartans’ straight-sets victory over McNicholas Oct. 10. TOM SKEEN/ COMMUNITY PRESS

PRESS PREPS HIGHLIGHTS By Tom Skeen tskeen@communitypress.com

Football

» Aiken (0-9) lost to to Withrow 27-0, Oct. 31. » Gamble Montessori (3-6) pounded Hillcrest 50-8 Oct. 26 behind 294 yards and five touchdowns through the air for junior quarterback Tim Andrews. » St. Frances DeSales took down La Salle (3-6) 34-6, Oct. 26. Senior wide receiver Derek

Kief finished with 10 receptions for 120 yards in the loss. » A Trevor Bechtold 28-yard field goal lifted St. Xavier (5-4) to a13-10 victory over Cleveland St. Ignatius Oct. 26. Quarterback Nick Tensing threw for 240 yards in the win. » Winton Woods (7-2) shut out Anderson 26-0, Oct. 24. David Sparks returned one of three Anderson fumbles for a touchdown. » Finneytown (2-7) lost to Madeira 17-7, Oct. 25. Bryce Butler’s 35-yard touchdown

pass to DeMarco Flowers was the lone score for the Wildcats. » Mount Healthy (8-1) outscored Edgewood 33-7 in the second half en route to a 47-19 victory Oct. 25. Combined with Northwest losing to Harrison, the Owls are alone in first place in the Southwest Ohio Conference. » North College Hill (4-5) lost to Cincinnati Country Day 35-6, Oct. 26. Franklin Steward scored the lone touchdown for the Trojans. » Roger Bacon (3-6) lost to

Badin17-7, Oct. 26. Quarterback Ruggeiro DeLuca tossed for 181 yards and a touchdown in the loss. » For Nov. 1 high school football scores, visit cincinnati.com/preps

Fall senior moments

» Senior Night is an important time in an athlete’s high school career and the Community Press & Recorder, along with cincinnati.com, would like to highlight those moments. Please send a photo from

your Senior Night to presspreps@gmail.com. Include the names of the people in the photo as they are shown, the school and the sport by Friday, Nov. 22. The photo can be of all the team’s seniors or a photo of athletes with their parents. Photos relevant to the Community Press weeklies will run in print sometime in December and all will be used in a cincinnati.com photo gallery. Questions can be directed to mlaughman@ communitypress.com.

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Hilltop press 110613