The varsity boys volleyball team traveled to Northmont High School on Saturday night to take on the host Thunderbolts in the West Regional Final. The teams knew entering the game, the Elks were seeded fourth and the T’Bolts second, that a trip to Columbus and the state tournament was the prize for the winner. This was the fifth meeting of the year between the two teams and Northmont had won the previous four.
The Elks came into the match wanting to make an early statement and did just that in the first set by jumping to a huge lead en route to a 25-20 first set victory. Early in the second set, the host Thunderbolts jumped out to a quick, 4-0 lead, but the Elks maintained their poise and fought back to take the lead. After several exchanges of points, the Elks went on a huge run which forced Northmont to call both of their timeouts. The Elks used that momentum to coast to a 25-18 second set win and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. In the third set, the visitors jumped out to a big lead again only to see Northmont rally to take a 21-20 lead. The Elks, however, responded and scored four of the next five points to take a 24-22 lead and inch within one point of a sweep and a trip to Columbus and the Elite Eight next weekend. After a controversial call was overturned which allowed the Thunderbolts to stay alive, the Elks fought off one set point before finally falling, 27-25, to face a fourth set. In that fourth set, the Elks made sure there would be no fifth set and buried the hosts early en route to an easy, 25-17 win and 3-1 match victory.
Now 12-13 on the year, the Elks will play next on Saturday morning at Capital University in the State tournament. Their quarterfinal opponent will be a familiar foe, the St. Xavier Bombers. This will be the third time these teams have met this year. St. Xavier has won the first two, but they have both been very close, hard fought matches. That game is set to get underway at 11:45 AM at the Capital Center. The winner advances to the state semifinals on Sunday morning at 10:00 AM against the winner of the St. Ignatius-Westerville South game which will be played immediately before the Centerville-St. Xavier game.