By John Bombatch
BEAVERCREEK — One defending state boys high school volleyball champion, and one state runner-up were in the Ed Zink Fieldhouse to eventually face each other on Saturday night.
Division II champ Kettering Alter, D-I state runner-up Beavercreek, and area team Trenton Edgewood were on hand for a tri-match, with everyone in the gym looking forward to the impending battle between the two powerhouses.
Beavercreek handled Trenton Edgewood in the first match with relative ease, defeating the Cougars 25-9, 25-11 in straight sets.
Alter then dismantled Edgewood 25-10, 25-10 in the evening’s second match to set up the battle that everyone was waiting for, including Edgewood coach Mark Blair, who admitted that he was looking forward to catching the Alter-Beavercreek matchup as a fan of the game.
Despite playing without their top outside hitter, Alec Otto, who was still nursing an injury, Beavercreek played Alter pretty close for most of the first set. Then, the current top-ranked Division II team in Ohio took over the match.
Alter trailed 7-9 in the opening set, then reeled off a 10-4 run and never trailed again. The Knights won over Beavercreek 25-21, 25-14. Beavers coach Carol Bysart said nerves may have contributed to Beavercreek’s loss.
“We need to play better. We did not play to our potential tonight,” she said. “I think their nerves got the best of them. They’re very good friends with a lot of those players. Sometimes those crosstown rivals are tough, but we typically play better than that and we didn’t bring our best game tonight.”
Andrew Rose led Alter with a dozen kills, Michael Von Der Vellen dished out 25 assists and served up an ace, and Dan Nye came up with six kills and a block in the Knights’ win over Beavercreek.
“We knew that this was going to be our toughest match so far this season,” Alter coach Craig Erford said. “Both sides have a lot of young, inexperienced kids. Both sides have a lot of sophomores. We have a lot of young kids as well, so our goal is to try and get better every day as we move through the season.”
The Beavers’ Parker Mikesch smacked nine kills and had five digs, Rob Noss had three blocks, while Noah Buell managed 10 assists in Beavercreek’s loss to Alter. Bysart said Buell’s assist total is usually up in the 30s, and said that was a testament to how her team had failed to play up to its potential.
Bysart said several of the Alter and Beavercreek players know each other from playing club volleyball together during the off season. Several of the two teams’ players could be seen milling about together after Saturday’s matches had ended.
Alter was ranked no.1 in Ohio in the April 10 boys D-II poll, second in the West Region which ranks teams from D-I and II together. They were the DII state champs last season after defeating Columbus St. Francis DeSales for the title.
Beavercreek is currently no. 7 in the Boys D-I poll and fourth in the West Region. They were state runners up in Division I, having lost to Hilliard Darby in the title game.
Edgewood is unranked and now (1-3) overall.
Beavercreek (5-2) will host Clayton Northmont at 7 p.m. today. Alter (9-0) entertains Hamilton Badin today.