By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
The Greater Catholic League South Division certainly will be well represented at the Ohio High School Boys’ Volleyball Association State Tournament next week at Capital University in Greater Columbus, with three league members earning spots by winning regional finals Saturday at St. Xavier High School. Moeller easily won its final in straight sets, La Salle came back after losing its first set to win three straight, while St. Xavier needed five sets to eventually emerge with a victory over league rival Elder in what definitely will be a match to remember, prevailing, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23, 32-34 and 15-9 to move on to the state tournament.
Moeller and St. Xavier will be competing in the OHSBVA Division I bracket, while La Salle will compete at the DII level. Moeller (23-1), which has only lost to St. Xavier this season and captured the South #1 Region, will play East #2 winner Olentangy in the first round at 11:45 a.m. Saturday. St. Xavier (20-3), which has won seven straight matches and captured the South #2 crown, will oppose East #1 champ Hilliard Darby in the first match of the day at 10. La Salle (11-10), which moves into the DII state semifinals with a four-set win against Hamilton Badin in the region final, faces St. Charles from Columbus at 6:45 Saturday evening.
Moeller, a near-unanimous selection at the top spot in the final OHSBVA state rankings, has coasted through the postseason to date – defeating Fairfield and Loveland in straight sets. The Crusaders are in search of their first state championships since 2012. Moeller senior Chris Kiser, the GCL South Player of the Year, also was named the region’s top player. He was joined on the first team All-South Region by senior Ryan Devolve, while teammate and senior Donovan Reed was selected second team all-region. Moeller has won seven state volleyball crowns in its history.
St. Xavier, which won for the third time this season in four matches against Elder (the last GCL South team to win a state title, in 2016), is looking for its third state title and first since 2006. The Bombers won their first in 2003, with Moeller winning the next two years before they won another state title – giving the GCL South four straight state titles. Seniors Henry Huber and Kevin McCarthy were both named first team all-region, while senior Ryan Hilvert earned second-team honors.
La Salle, which was ranked No. 5 in the final DII state rankings, placed junior Zach Harvey on the all-region team. Senior Brandon Grosleim and junior Zach Guethlein were named second team, while Lancers’ coach Kelly Schumacher was named the DII South Region Coach of the Year after leading the Lancers to a berth in the DII Final Four.
Elder, which wrapped up its season at 20-6, has won six state championships – including three since 2010 and four since 2008 under coach Sean Tierney. In its last four state final wins, the Panthers have knocked off a GCL South team in the final – beating Moeller in 2010 and 2016 and St. Xavier in 2008 and 2014. Elder also was state runner-up in 2009 and 2013 under Tierney, who notched career victory No. 300 earlier this season.