The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 14, 2013

Postseason Volleyball Preview — Geneva, Grand Valley, Riverside, Jefferson the top seeds in the area as spikers hit tourney trail


Star Beacon

— For the area’s 10 Ohio High School Athletic Association member schools that field volleyball squads, the second season begins over the course of the next few days.

The area’s squads — Conneaut, Edgewood, Geneva, Grand Valley, Jefferson, Lakeside, Madison, Perry, Pymatuning Valley and Riverside — are spread across three separate sectional-district tournaments.

The area’s other team — coach Stephanie Kubec’s 20-1 St. John Heralds , champions of the Lake Effect Conference — is one of the area’s best teams, but is not a member of the OHSAA.

Following is a look at where and when the area’s 10 OHSAA-member squads will dive into the postseason waters.



Division II

At Jefferson, this long-standing tournament has five area teams among its 11-team field.

The highest area seed belongs to the Geneva Eagles. Coach Annah Haeseler’s Premier Athletic Conference championships have a first-round bye and will play the winner of a sectional semifinal between 10th-seeded Conneaut and third-seeded Lakeview — champion of the All-American Conference — in a sectional championship match Thursday.

The match between coach Mo Ritari’s Spartans (10-11) and the Bulldogs (19-3) of Scott Taylor — who has announced he is retiring from coaching after this season, his 17th, with 277 wins, to date, including five 20-win campaigns — will be played Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Falcon Gym. The first match Tuesday will pit 11th-seeded and winless Harvey against second-seeded Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin.

When Geneva (17-4) takes on either Conneaut or Lakeview on Thursday, that match will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Lakeview is ranked 15th in the latest Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association state poll.

Three other area teams are in the top half of this bracket.

Coach Don Palm’s Jefferson Falcons (18-4), the tournament’s fifth seed and runner-up to Lakeview in the AAC, have a first-round bye and will meet the winner of a first-round match between sixth-seeded West Geauga and ninth-seeded Streetsboro in a sectional championship match.

The West Geauga-Streetsboro match will be played Tuesday at 6:30, with the winner moving on to meet Jefferson on Wednesday at 7:30.

The first match Tuesday will pit two area squads — coach Dave Fowler’s seventh-seeded Edgewood Warriors (15-9) and coach Katy White’s eighth-seeded Perry Pirates — against one another in a sectional final, which will start at 5 p.m.

The winner of that contest will move on to meet top-seeded Lake Catholic in a sectional championship match, which will be played before Jefferson’s contest on Wednesday, starting at 6 p.m.

The district semifinals will be played a week from Tuesday at 6 and 7:30, with the district championship match slated for a week from Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

North Coast League rivals Lake Catholic and NDCL have met in the last three district championship matches, the Cougars winning all three times.

In fact, coach Rich Severino’s Cougars have won this district for five consecutive seasons. The last time Lake Catholic did not win this district was in 2007, when Hubbard defeated it in the title match.

The winner moves on to the regional tournament at Stow.



Division I

At Euclid, this tournament includes area schools Lakeside, Madison and Riverside among its 12-team field.

Two of those area teams — Lakeside and Riverside — will be in action tonight.

Coach Alyssa Hill’s 10th-seeded Dragons (2-20) will play ninth-seeded Brush in a sectional semifinal at 5 p.m.

Coach Brandy Thomas’ fourth-seeded Beavers (16-6) will square off against 12th-seeded Cleveland Heights in another first-round match at 6:30 p.m.

The Lakeside-Brush winner will move on to meet top-seeded Mentor in a sectional championship match Wednesday at 5.

The survivor of the Riverside-Cleveland Heights contest advances to meet sixth-seeded North (7-14) in a sectional final Wednesday at 6:30.

Coach Norm Potter’s seventh-seeded Madison Blue Streaks (11-11) have a first-round by and will play the winner of a first-round match between third-seeded Chardon and 11th-seeded Shaw in a sectional championship match Thursday at 5.

The bottom sectional in the bracket has fifth-seeded Mayfield meeting eighth-seeded Euclid in a sectional semifinal, with the winner moving on to meet second-seeded South in a sectional championship match.

The district semifinals will be played a week from Tuesday at 5 and 6:30, with the district title match being staged a week from Thursday at 6.

South is the defending district champion, having defeated PAC rival Riverside in the title match last fall.

The district champion moves on to regional play at Hudson.



Division III

At LaBrae, area squads Grand Valley and Pymatuning Valley are part of the 12-team field.

Coach Rob Wludyga’s ninth-seeded Lakers (13-9) will take on host LaBrae, the tournament’s seventh seed, in a sectional semifinal today at 7 p.m.

The winner will move on to play the fourth-seeded Mustangs (14-6) of coach Kelly Henson in a sectional championship match Wednesday at 7. These squads are all in the top half of the bracket, which includes No. 1 seed Gilmour Academy.

Also in this field are top-seeded second-seeded Cardinal, third-seeded Kirtland, fifth-seeded Hawken, sixth-seeded Brookfield, eighth-seeded Newton Falls, 10th-seeded Garfield, 11th-seeded Champion and 12th-seeded Berkshire.

The district semifinals will be played a week from tonight at 5:30 and 7, with the district championship match being held a week from Wednesday at 7 p.m.

It’s no surprise Gilmour Academy is the top seed here as the Lancers have won this district all five years since it moved to LaBrae from Berkshire in 2008. In fact, the Lancers also won this district the last two years it was held at Berkshire — in 2006 and 2007 — giving Gilmour seven consecutive district championships.

The last time a team other than Gilmour Academy won this tournament was back in 2005, when third-seeded Chagrin Falls upset top-seeded Berkshire on its home floor to win the title. Gilmour was felled in the district semifinals by Berkshire, representing the last time the Lancers did not win the district crown.

The district titleist will move to the Barberton regional tournament.