BEAVERCREEK — Experienced talent beat raw talent in a battle of state-ranked boys high school volleyball teams, Tuesday April 3.
Host Beavercreek, ranked No. 6 in the latest Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association state poll, won nearly every long rally to claim a 25-10, 26-28, 25-13, 25-18 win over No. 9 Northmont on the Beavers’ Ed Zink Field House floor.
“That’s, I think, one of my guys’ strongest points is that they never give up,” Beavercreek coach Carol Bysak said. “It looks like the ball’s dead or the play is over, but they keep going after it. Better yet, they make something of it. Rather than just tipping the ball over or worrying about keeping it in play, they’re attacking the ball hard, and they’re having fun doing it.”
Very unofficially, 6-foot senior Parker Mikesch led the Beavers (3-0) with eight kills and a service ace. Six-foot-3 sophomore Simon Ricks had five kills and at least two blocks, while 6-2 senior Michael Abbitt unofficially came up with six kills, a block and three service aces to lead Beavercreek to the win.
“Whenever we play Northmont, it turns into a battle between two really solid volleyball teams,” Bysak said. “We’re both state ranked for a reason, and it showed tonight.”
Bysak said Mikesch was the catalyst for the Beavers’ success Tuesday night.
“Parker Mikesch did a great job all around. He is definitely our leader on the court, and he does a good job of keeping everybody fired up and playing hard,” she said. “And both Mike Abbitt and Simon Ricks played outstanding tonight. They’re both hitters. We asked Simon to make some adjustments, and he executed those right away and got 3-4 straight points for us. They both did very very well for us tonight.”
After an upset win over Gahanna Lincoln to start the season, Northmont, now 1-1, lost its first match of the season. Thunderbolt coach Jim Smith said consistency was the key to the match’s outcome.
“They play with a lot of solid consistency. We don’t,” he said with a smile. “This is just our second match of the season and so we have a lot of room to grow, a lot of improvements yet to make. We do show a lot of promise, though. We’ll learn from this and build off it.”
Hitter Abdihafid Abas is listed by a basketball recruiting website as being 6-foot-1, but they must’ve been measuring him from his ankles up. Abas, Devin Blankenship and Dawson Walker made hitting the ball over the net rather tough for the Beavers, who often had to resort to lofty dinks over the players’ outstretched arms, or late misdirection hits, to keep the seemingly taller Thunderbolts off balance.
The ‘Bolts recorded a dozen blocks against Beavercreek. Abas and Blankenship stopped four shots each, with Abas also having four kills, to three for Blankenship. Walker had one block to go with a team-best six kills.
Northmont is back in action on Thursday, April 5 when they will travel to Centerville. Then on Friday, April 6, they’ll host a tri-match with Fenwick and Hilliard Davidson.
Tuesday’s match with Northmont was the first time a team had pushed Beavercreek beyond three sets. The Beavers opened the season with 3-0 wins over Fairmont and Edgewood. Their next match is expected to be their toughest battle yet.
The Beavers will host the best in Division I — No. 1-ranked Cincinnati Moeller — at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 in the Zink Fieldhouse.
“We’re expecting a good crowd for that match as well,” Bysak said. “And the team is fired up. We’re ready to give them a good battle. We can’t wait!”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.