Boys volleyball expands its base By Shanaon Russell The Cincinnati Enquiri!'T'
It happens every summer: Moeller student Derek Boeh introduces himself to other high schoolers at his seasonal waterpark job, and he's promptly asked whether he plays Crusaders sports. Yes, he says. Football, right? Nope. Basketball? Baseball? Uh-uh. Then what? Volleyball. The conversation goes cold unless Boeh keeps talking, and he does because the story is good. He picked up the sport cold as an eighth-grader and discovered in freshman gym class that he had potential.
He's a four-year Moeller player, a powerful outside hitter, and chances are he'll play club ball next season between his Xavier University studies. "I think a lot of people think volleyball is more of a girls sport and real guys do football or wrestling. Volleyball is tougher than it looks," Boeh said. "If more people knew about it, I think boys volleyball would become more popular." In Ohio, 78 schools sponsor boys volleyball programs. The sport is governed by the Ohio High ,School Boys Volleyball Association, which designates four regions: Central, Northeast, Northwest and See VOLLEY, Page D12
Volley~ Boys •
seek OHSAA sanctioning
From Page Dl
Southwest. Eighteen Cincinitati-area schools compose the Southwest Region; withln that, the biggest pres~nces are the Greater Cincinnati League and Greater Miami Conference. : The Ohio High School :Athletic Association will not sanction boys volleyball until 150 schools sponsor the sport, commissioner Clair Muscaro said. · The decision is disappointing to many coaches and players who have been striving for OHSAA approval. This year, OHSBV A president and Thomas Worthington coach Scott Ebright invited schools statewide to sponsor programs; 13 responded. . "Some schools say, 'If it's not OHSAA, we're not going to have it,' " Ebright said. : The volleyball association was set up to regulate rules and ensure an easy transition to the OHSAA, if need be. Boys volleyball rules are similar to the OHSAA's girls rules. There are minor differences: Girls play in the fall and boys play a shorter season in the spring, and the
Boys volleyball State rankings As of April 23 I. Centerville (I 0) ..................... I 09 2. Elder.......................................89 3. Watterson (1) ......................... 83 4. Moeller................................... 68
5. St Xavier................................ 61 6. Roger Bacon .......................... 53 7. Darby..................................... 43
8. Walsh Jesuit .......................... 35 9. Kilboume ................................ l4 10. Stowe...................................... 9
OTIERS (~ 2 votes or more): LaSale (8), Davidson (8), BeeYercreek (6), Picker· ~(6).
Southwest Region Coaches Poll As of April 23 1. Elder(5) .................................. 68 2. Moeller................................... 58 3. St. Xavier (2) .......................... 53 4. La Salle.................................. 45 5. Roger Bacon.......................... 44 6. Sycamore............................... 32 7. Lakota EasL ......................... 24 8. Kings ...................................... l4 9. Lakota WesL ........................ 11 10. Fairtield .................................. 10 Southwest Region Teams E~, Elder, Fai11E1d, Mi115,
Lakota East, lakota Wes~ la Sale, Loveland,
Mason, McNcholas, r.tdclelov.n, - · Qak His, PIRel _,,Roger Bacon, st xavter, Syta'llOre.
boys' net height is 8 feet while the girls' is roughly 7-foot-4. Kings High School coach Laura Minniear, Southwest Region assistant coordinator for the OHSBVA, fears five years will pass before the
state attracts the mandated number of programs. "The OHSAA is where all sports belong," she said. "If we were sanctioned, other schools would be obliged to have teams, and that would help us have more conference games." Moeller won state titles in 1997 and 1998 and is ranked second in a poll of region coaches this year. junior Nick Meyer sat on the varsity bench and took stats for Moeller's state championship teams, which were coached by his father, Dan. A player since fifth grade, the 6-foot-7 middle blocker leads the team in kills (69), digs (35) and serving aces (22). Some of his teammates don't care who governs volleyball as long as they get to play, but the OHSAA's role matters to Meyer. "We're not getting therespect we really need. We're only getting recognition from polls and other teams. That just kind of hurts, that the state of Ohio won't recognize boys volleyball," Meyer said. Elder is ranked second in Ohio avd first in the South-
west Region. For nearly a decade, the school has ernbraced the program in spite of the sanctioning debate. The Western Athletic Conference supports Catholic youth teams from the area middle schools. Many of Elder's athletes have been exposed to boys volleyball before high school. Seventy-five boys tried out for the freshman, reserve and varsity teams this season. Elder won state championships in 1999 and 2000. The Panthers have never had a losing season, and as of Tuesday their overall record was 155-44. Elder attracts as many as 1,000 spectators when playing GCL rivals Moeller and St. Xavier. First-year program Mason lost to the Panthers Tuesday, dropping the match 15-3, 15-9. Regardless of scores, Mason coach Andy Wilson is impressed with the team's improvement in the last month. Wilson, Mason's girls reserve volleyball coach and varsity assistant, had been accustomed to honing techniques and strategies from day one - not explaining bumps, sets and spikes.
"Girls have been learning to play since sixth, seventh and eighth grade. With the boys, we had to work on basics, like character of the game and flow. Most had never really seen volleyball played at this level,'' he said. Ninth-year Elder coach Torn Silbernagel, region coordinator for the OHSBVA, said more new programs are more than welcome. "I think the mix of old teams and new teams is neat," he said. "We've played first-year teams in the past that have kept our hands full." Moeller coach Greg Ulland has seen many changes within the Crusaders program since he played on the school's 1997 championship team. He's impressed by the level of competition that has been maintained. But one thing has not changed. "If we were to get to the state finals and beat (defending champion) Centerville, that would be a newsworthy feat," he said. "That would be a big accomplishment."
UCLA's AI Scates and Peppercllne's Marv Dunphy are the sport's two most successful coaches. Their storied programs have met each other in the national championship match five times. That's more than any other two teams. (For the record, and since there is no room on the magazine voice mail, the Bruins have won four of those encounters). The teams' most important battle takes place annually in
, high school gyms and club tournaments. UCLA and Pepperdine squared off again during a long recruiting season that will ultimately determine national championships two or three years down the road. Both programs can claim victories. The nation's two most-sought-after recruits, David Russell from Royal High in Simi Valley, Calif. and Sean Rooney from Warrensvine-South in Wheaton, Illinois, headline the
Volleyball Magazine 2001 Fab 50. Russell, a polished 6-7 workhorse with a "feed-me" mentality is the top name on UCLA's long list. Rooney, a hitter in the mold of Steve Timmons, will begin his Malibu stay this fall. Most of the nation's top coaches considered Russell and Rooney the. premier catches in the 2001 class. Scates' hasn't seen Russell play in person, but that's not unusual. If there's not a challenging golf course near a prospect's home, ~cates delegates his on-site recruiting responsibilities to assistants Brian Refer and John Speraw. Russell was the prize they wanted to fill an outside hitting void that was exposed during the championship match against BYU last May. "I think our need to add some outside hitters was apparent and David's strengths were our weaknesses," said Refer. "We're going to give him a serious look in the fall and give him an opportunity to earn a starting spot. He's polished already as a player, and I think if you surround him with other good volleyball players, his game is going to improve rapidly." Russell will be in a traffic jam for incoming volleyball freshman at UCLA. If you believe the rumor, UCLA fits all newcomers for ring sizes the first day of fall practice. The jeweler will need to work overtime this year with eight Fab 50 selections scheduled to be in the Bruin gym, plus any walks ons who have elite volleyball resumes. Set to join Russell in the outside hitter derby is 6-7 Kris Kraushaar from Irvine, another player on almost every Division I coaches' wish-list. Three setters could challenge incumbent Rich Nelson: Aaron Dodd (6-5, Clovis, Calif.), Dennis Gonzales (6-3, San Juan, Puerto Rico) and Jeffrey Silber (6-6, Cincinnati, Ohio).
Dodd is no relation to Olympic beach silver medalist Mike Dodd, but he's got similar court savvy. Gonzales is a standout athlete from an island where volleyball is religion. Scates, letting reporters know Puerto Rico was a U.S. Territory during an impromptu geography lecture, said UCLA will get more aggressive in island recruiting. ''You're going to see more players in UCLA uniforms from Puerto Rico:Âˇ he said. "We've had players from
of UCLA's class, but assistant coach Jeff Stork likes the pedigree of his group. In Rooney, the Wave coaches think they have another Midwest impact player. "He's solid fundamentally but also has a big up side," said Stork. ''We're expecting him to make a contribution right away." Ironically, none of Pepperdine's top four recruits are from California, reflecting a pronounced change in the topography
of the sport. Stork, who won a gold medal as the setter on the 1988 USA Olympic team, said Brian Newcomb from Mechanicsville, Virginia, is the top setter in the class. Newcomb has youth national team experience. Stork is also high on 6-8 Andy Webb from Brookfield, Wisconsin, and Arist de Wolff, a 6-5 outside hitter from Hawaii who's considered one of the best pure athletes in the class. Other schools besides UCLA and Pepperdine did well, including national champion BYU. The Cougars scored with 6-6 Steffin Rangel, whose 40-plus vertical jump only pales when compared to his 1500-plus SAT score. The real test for this class will come in 2004 and 2005 during Final Four time. Save your Jist and cross reference against the championship program. 0
\'()I.. I.. [YB ,\I.. I. ~1,\ (;,\ l.l ~ t: I() P Ht:CIHII TI~(; C1.,\SS[S l. IJCJ..A The players: Aaron Dodd, 6-5, Clovis, Calif.; Dennis Gonzales, 6-3, San Juan Puerto Rico; James Jessen, 66, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Kris Kraushaar, 6-7, Irvine, Calif.; David Russell, 6-7, Simi Valley, Calif.; Damian Scott, 6-5, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Jeffrey Silber, 6-6, Cincinnati, Ohio. Comment: Incredible depth for this freshman class, but do they have enough uniforms in Westwood to keep everybody happy?
2. PEI)l)EHJHNE The players: Arist de Wolff, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii; Sean Rooney, 6-7, Wheaton, Illinois; Brian Newcomb, 65, Mechanicsville, Virginia; Andy Webb, 6-8, Brookfield, Wisconsin). Comment: Rooney and Newcomb's success in college is almost a given, but the athleticism of de Wolff may be the steal of 2001.
The players: Jeff Bailey, 6-7, San Diego, Calif.; J.T. Gilmour, 6-7, Santa Ynez, Calif.; Chris McNiff, 6-9, Tucson, Ariz.; Phillip Small, 6-11, Landsdale, Penn.; Jason Spratt, 6-5, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Blake Tippett, 6-3, Newport Beach, Calif.). Comment: Gilmour is a lefty setter from the small valley high school of Santa Ynez, which has churned out Olympians George Roumain and Andy Witt
The players: Russell Holmes, 6-7, Fountain Valley, Calif.; Steffin Rangel, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Trent Sorenson, fl-7, Palmdale, Calif. Comment Some think Rangel is every bit as good as Russell and Rooney.
:i. PENN STATE
The players: Ryan Fisher, 6-4, York, Penn.; Nate Meerstein, 6-9, Pittsburgh, Penn.; Ken Steedman, 6-7, Philadelphia, Penn .. Comment: Mark Pavlik does a good job of keeping the East's best players home .