Friday, November 4, 2011

Local high school volleyball action is worth watching. You will be amazed.

It is the first weekend of November and all around the area, “water cooler” talk is about sports, specifically football.

No doubt there is much excitement from watching our local football teams compete in the Ohio playoff process, no matter how flawed, but that opinion is for another time.

I would like to take an opportunity to remind folks that there is another sport heading deep into its own tournament season. Volleyball teams still in competition are wrapping up regional tournaments this weekend.

Many of you may not realize it, but we are fortunate to live in a high school volleyball Mecca.

How many of you realize that Lehman Catholic has made seven trips to the state tournament? They have earned three state titles and three state runners-up.

The Lady Cavs are competing today, at Tipp City, for another trip to the state tournament this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Lady Vikings from Miami East are knocking on the door, hoping for a trip to state.

Our own Piqua Lady Indians earned a GWOC North title followed by their third straight sectional title this season.

As teams from our immediate area work their way through the annual tournament, their toughest competition almost always comes from our next-door neighbors to the north. Versailles, Ft. Loramie, Russia and St. Henry are among teams always in the running for a title.

Anyone who has the opinion that watching area high school volleyball can’t be exciting or enjoyable, maybe because it is a girl’s sport or just because it is not football, really should take the time to come out an watch a match.

I find myself in awe of these young ladies’ athletic ability. The gracefulness of an outside hitter, hanging in the air as she soars above the net to smash the ball with explosive force for a kill is at least as exciting as a high-flying slam dunk by college and NBA basketball players.

What is most awe-inspiring is watching the ladies as the action moves close to the net. I have always been fascinated by reaction time. That is the time that it takes a human being, after seeing or sensing a “danger” to have the information processed by their brain, send the message to the muscles, and then to actually accomplish the action.

These young athletes continually make astounding plays that require top-notch reaction time and then moving their bodies and hands into position to save, or score, a point for their team.

I am not taking anything away from athletes competing in other sports, boys or girls, but have formed the opinion that with the probable exception of hockey and soccer goal-keepers, a volleyball player must have the quickest reaction time and most accurate hands of any athlete.

The season is coming to a close but some exciting volleyball action remains. Come on out this Saturday to watch either the Lehman Cavaliers as they take on neighboring St. Henry in Division IV at Tipp City or you can head down to Kettering Fairmont to watch the Lady Vikings of Miami East as they battle Middletown Fenwick for the Division III regional title.

The winners of these matches will advance to next weekend’s OHSAA state volleyball tournament at the Nutter Center at Wright State University.

Even if you are not directly involved with one of the schools, come out and enjoy a volleyball match. I’ll bet you won’t be disappointed.

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