mecca of the sport. He'll also be carrying with him a great opportunity for Greater Cincinnati volleyball. Silber, an unusually tall6'6"setter,isn't the first local prep boys volleyball player or the first Moeller player to sign with an NCAA Division I program. Former Crusaders stars Mike Carter and Matt Jurkowitz were signed within the last three years by Ohio State University. But Silber is the first local boys product to sign with an elite college program in the state that is considered the capital of volleyball in this country, California. UCLA, the defending national champion, has won 18 national titles. "We've had a bunch of great volleyball players come out of Cincinnati;' said Moeller coach Tom Brinkman, who guided the Crusaders to state championships in 1997 and 1998. "But Ohio hasn't been on the map when big-time colleges come recruiting. They go to California, Florida and the northeast, maybe Chicago, to find players:路 That's starting to change with some of the successes Ohio teams have had at national Junior Olympic tournaments, for example the Cincinnati Attack, a team Jeff has played on. "Jeff going to UCLA is a big thing, not only for him, but for the area, too, as far as local players getting more notice;路 said Brinkman. Last summer, UCLA coach AI Scates noticed Silber playing for the U.S. Development Team in California tournaments. UCLA's interest in Silber not only is unique for a Greater Cincinnati player,
Development Team. "Most of the kids were from California;路 Silber said. "I think there was a kid from New York, but nobody from the Midwest. I got the nickname "Cincy'' because people couldn't believe somebody from here was good enough to play with them;' he said. "I realize that if I do
Silber is a 6'1ia setter.
well out there, that will only make it better for Cincinnati players coming out in the future." Said Brinkman: "Somebody will say,'Hey,this guy can really play. Maybe we should go back and give Cincinnati another look: That would be a very special development:' What makes Silber so special is the precious commodity he possesses that all college volleyball coaches are looking for height. Silber is huge for a setter. Additionally, he employs a rare blend of skills for a setter in that he also is a strong
kind of height now at all the positions. Being a 6'2" setter just doesn't cut it any more;' Brinkman said. "You've got to be 6'4:' Middle hitters are getting to be 6'10:" Jeff's major attribute in college will be his ability to block the strong side hitter, because not only is he tall but he can jump, and he's very agile. Outside hitters have been hitting the ball over the setter's head." UCLA's current starting setter, Rich Nelson, is 6'4." Nelson is adept at getting the ball to the Bruins' two All-American power players, 6' 10" middle hitter Adam Naeve and 6'7'' outside hitter Mark Williams. However, the prospect of what Silber can do as a setter with a well-rounded game who also is two inches taller than the incumbent, could land him in UCLA's starting lineup as a freshman. "They give players the option to redshirt," Silber said. "But they told me they want me on the team, and I don't think they're ruling it out that I could pass (Nelson):' Silber, an honors student who played center on Moeller's basketball team this season and was named boys golfer of the year in the GCL South, isn't the only major talent on the Crusaders' volleyball team. Chris Pennekamp, a 6'5" senior, is being looked at by Division I schools. Moeller, along with fellow GCL stalwarts St. Xavier and Elder, are favorites to win the state title this season. Last season, Moeller was eliminated by St. Xavier in the regional semifinals and finished the year with a record of 23-3.
Jeff Silber is a 6'6" four year varsity letter winner for the Moeller Crusaders Volleball team. Jeff is the setter/mi8rUe hitter and has signed a letter of intent to play for the 18 time NCAA champion UCLA Bruins to play volleyball in the fall. Jeff was highly recruited by many division I programs and choose to play for the premier program in the country. In his freshman year Silber played on Moeller's 1998 state championship volleyball team with his brother Greg, who also was a setter/aWI:ttk: hitter. Jeff has received numerous volleyball awards including, MVP for the state-wide tournament, All-District, All-GCL, All-State and was named Underclass Player of the Year for Ohio last season. In the summers Jeff competed in the Junior Olympic volleyball as a member of the Cincinnati Attack and Cincinnati River Bandits. Jeff is a three sport athlete competing in golf, basketball and volleyball for the Crusaders. Jeff is looking for one last shot at another volleyball state title with his Moeller team.
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top team By Dave Schutte T!te Cincinnati Enquirer :
Moeller, St Xavier and tw<r . time defending state champion Elder . have dominated Cmcinnati-area boys volleyball the past four seasons and the same will be true this year. Based on the return of UClA-bound Jeff Silber and major college prospect Chris Pennekamp, Moeller is the top choice in The Enquirer's preseason coaches' poll Elder; St ~Xavier, - Roger Bacon and Lakota West round out the top :five. "Cmcinnati graduated a lot of seniors, but Moeller has about everybody back," St Xavier coach Donna Mechley said. 'They will be great They're tall, quick, jump well and are smart hitters." 1. Moeller: Coach Tom Brinkman has the luxury of six seniors, plus an outstanding group of underclassmen. The Crusaders - who won state titles the· two seasons previous to Elder's titles- not only have Silber and Pennekamp, · two of the best hitters in the state, but also setter Jude . Hueber, junior middle hitter Joe Ryan, sophomore Nick Meyer and senior Mike Walsh. "We have a lot of experience, but don't ever underestimate Elder," Brinkman said. 2. Elder: Although Elder lost 10 seniors to graduation, the Panthers junior varsity matched the varsity team last season, recording an undefeated season. ' Coach Tom Silbernagel will rely on returning veterans Chris Morman (outside hitter), Scott Benken (middle hitter) and Pat Niel).aber (setter). "We will be strong up the middle and at the setting posit:ion," Silbernagel said. 'The toughest job will be teaching the kids to play defense." Silbernagel pointed out although Columbus teams have several outstanding' players, they will have difficulty competing against Cmcinnati' because of deP,l:h. :,. t
3. St. XaVier: An Injury to Aaron Meirose, a 5-foot-11 senior outside hitter, will hamper coach Mechley's Bombers early in the season. Meirose injured his index finger in a blocking drill and will miss the first :five weeks of the season. Setter Kevin Bruner, a 5-10 senior, returns and is expected to proyide leadership while VladanJovanovic, a senior transfer will take over as middle hitter. Bruce Endres, . Paul 1(>ogood and Keith Haun also are expected to contnoute for the Bombers. 4. Roger Bacon: Coming off a 13-12 season, the Spartans return :five starters, including setter Dan Combs, a senior with a 94-percent setting pro:fi• ciency laSt year. Coach Sally Veatch also will rely on Beckham and Nate Wyrick, along with RJ. Post and Cha.d StockmaiL "Outside hitting and middle blocking will be our strengths," Veatch said. "Serve ieceiXion and defense are the weaknesses." 1 5: lakota West: Coach Jenny Schwar-Z. has a veteran team as the Fkebirds return 10 seniors, several who started the past two seasons. Three-year starters Matt Knollman and Lukas Graham, alongwith tw~startersJake Butman, Thomas Le and John · Felini, will provide the leader' Ship for a lakota West team that could move up in the poll 5. Purcell Marian: Because of construction, the Cavaliers will play every game at the opponents' gym. Hitters John Anderson and Josh Robertson, along with defensive specialists Nick Horton and Nate Pucke. and freshm~ setter Rob Ryan will be the main ·players. Darrell Brown is expected to develop into a solid hitter. ' · 6. Princeton: Frrst-year Vikings coach Jon· Bennett faces ~a rebuilding season with Marquis Wofford and Dave Wemersbach the only ing veterans. ' .. I· 7. lakota East: Coach • Dave McKain's team will rely : on a freshman/sophomore , · lineup. Matt Williams and Mike Inel Lander are the returning seniors, and Brad Williams, Jarrod Mahaffey and Jeff Flaig are the returning juniors. '~,:j -ti ~