With an undefeated record and a No. 2 national ranking, the Cincinnati Elder volleyball team has a lot going for it this spring. Thursday, the Panthers will have yet another challenge in the
Greater Catholic League South division with a road game at St. Xavier at 7 p.m. Nothing it appears can slow the Panthers march towards a state title.
With an undefeated record and a No. 2 national ranking, the Cincinnati Elder volleyball team has a lot going for it this spring.
Thursday, the Panthers will have yet another challenge in the Greater Catholic League South division with a road match against Cincinnati St. Xavier at 7 p.m.
“We are facing two monster matches this upcoming week,” Elder coach Sean Tierney said. “We recognize that with this season’s success, it only fuels the fire other teams have to want to notch a victory over us.”
The Panthers (21-0, 10-0 GCL), ranked No. 1 in the state poll, closed out last week with a 25-19, 25-9, 25-13 win over Cincinnati La Salle in a match Friday night. Elder recorded eight service aces against the Lancers’ backcourt.
Elder senior outside hitter Andrew Wessels had 11 kills, three aces and seven digs to lead the Panthers.
Senior middle hitter Rob Malone had eight kills, three aces and four blocks. Middle hitter Jake Neiheisel had five kills and two blocks.
“The match against La Salle went very well,” Tierney said. “Playing in La Salle ’s gym always takes a bit of an adjustment. A smaller gym like La Salle ’s necessitates good ball control. Luckily, our backcourt was able to provide that. As a result, we were able to get into a rhythm and run our offense the way we like it.”
Elder, the 2007 state runner-up, moved up to No. 2 nationally in the StudentSportsVolleyball.com National Fab 50 poll. The Panthers, which have four matches remaining in the regular season, had been ranked third the past several weeks.
“Our guys are doing a good job of taking (the national ranking) in stride,” Tierney said. “They recognize the importance of staying grounded and taking each game as it comes. While being recognized on a national level is nice, our goals are set at winning the GCL and improving each day.”
Tierney said the Panthers, which conclude the regular season at Fairfield on May 14, are looking forward to the opportunity this week against their rival schools despite the “tall task” ahead of them. Tierney said Moeller and St. Xavier – ranked Nos. 2 and 3 respectively in the state poll – are playing their best volleyball of the season.
“But the beautiful thing about this Elder volleyball team is that they relish a challenge,” Tierney said. “They thrive on competition.”
The district tournament begins Saturday, May 17.