The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 21, 2013

Then, there were three

Geneva, PV, Riverside dive into district VB waters this week

Star Beacon

— When it began one week ago, the 10 high school volleyball teams in the Star Beacon coverage area did so, many carrying hope to continue their seasons, several looking for second chances and, yes, a few hoping for a quick ending to a long season filled with not many victories.

After a week of competition across three divisions, only three area teams, one in each of the top three divisions of the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason tournaments, remain alive — Geneva, Pymatuning Valley and Riverside.

Here’s a who at who is where, when and their opponents for district competition this week:

Division II

Coach Annah Haeseler’s Geneva Eagles, champions of the Premier Athletic Conference, will take on second-seeded Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in a semifinal Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Falcon Gym in Jefferson.

The fourth-seeded Eagles (18-4) planted third-seeded Lakeview, champion of the All-American Conference, in a five-game Tong war Thursday night to advance to district play for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

The last time Geneva advanced past this point was in 2009, when it finished as district runner-up to Lake Catholic. Geneva has two district championships in its history, the 1985 and 1986 teams led by then-coach Stan Bielech earning berths in the Sweet 16.

The Eagles’ opponents Tuesday, the Lions of NDCL, have finished as district runner-up the past three seasons.

In the top half of the bracket, top-seeded and five-time defending district champion Lake Catholic will take on sixth-seeded West Geauga (18-6) in the first match Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Cougars of coach Rich Severino have reached at least the district championship match at Jefferson in each of the previous 13 seasons, winning it 10 times, the exceptions being runner-up finishes to NDCL in 2004, to Jefferson in 2005 and to Hubbard in 2007.

West Geauga won its fifth sectional championship at the Jefferson tournament Thursday when it knocked off AAC runner-up and fifth seed Jefferson on its home floor.

The Wolverines have never advanced past the district semifinal level at Jefferson.

The district title contest will be staged Thursday at 6:30 p.m., with the champion moving on to regional play at Stow.

Division III

Coach Rob Wludyga’s Pymatuning Valley Lakers earned the fourth sectional championship in school history by knocking out archrival and No. 4 seed Grand Valley last week at LaBrae.

That win catapulted the ninth-seeded Lakers (15-9) into a district semifinal tonight against state-ranked and top-seeded Gilmour Academy today at 5:30 p.m.

The Lancers have won this district all five years it has been held at LaBrae, not to mention the last two years it was held at its former home, Berkshire, giving Gilmour seven consecutive district championships.

PV’s other sectional crowns came in 1992 under coach Shari McCaslin, in 1998 under coach Dana Berry and in 2008 under Wludyga’s guidance.

In the lower half of the bracket, second-seeded Cardinal will take on third-seeded Kirtland in tonight’s second semifinal, set for 7.

The district championship match will be played Wednesday at 7 p.m., with the winner moving on to the Sweet 16 at Barberton.

Division I

Coach Brandy Thomas’ Riverside Beavers, who were in contention for the PAC championship up until the final week of the regular season when a loss at Geneva greased the skids for them.

However, fourth-seeded Riverside (18-6), runner-up to PAC rival in this district a year ago, will take on top-seeded Mentor in a district semifinal Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Euclid High School.

The Beavers earned their sixth consecutive sectional championship — and their 13th in the last 14 seasons — with a three-game sweep of PAC rival North on Wednesday.

The winner will move on to tangle with the winner of Tuesday’s nightcap semifinal between third-seeded Chardon (15-9), coached by Ashtabula County native Bobby McQuoid, and fifth-seeded Mayfield.

Riverside has won this district twice — in 2009 and 2010 — and finished as district runner-up on three other occasions — the aforementioned loss to South last fall and defeats at the hands of Mentor in 2002 and 2001.

The district championship match will be played Thursday at 6 p.m., with the district titleist moving on to regional play at Hudson.

How they finished

Here’s how other teams in the Star Beacon coverage area finished their seasons: