Posted on 10/14/2019 at 1:29 p.m.

Bombers Finish In Six Of Top Seven Spots Saturday, Led By Race Winner Mountain

Junior Nathan Mountain set the pace Saturday morning, covering the 3.1-mile course at Christ’s Church In Mason in 16:19.8 to lead a deep and talented group of runners from St. Xavier to yet another victory in the annual Greater Catholic League / Girls’ Greater Catholic League Championships.  The Bombers claimed six of the top seven spots in the race to earn their ninth consecutive league title, finishing with 19 points, followed by Elder with 46, and Moeller and La Salle with 90 and 91, receptively.  

Runner-up Elder is the last team besides St. Xavier to win the GCL South meet, that coming in 2010.  Senior Cooper Mullen of Elder came in second place behind Mountain, finishing in 16:32.1, and was named first team All-Greater Catholic League South Division.

Mountain earned his second consecutive GCL South Runner of the Year honor, also winning the same race last year.  St. Xavier’s Andy Wietmarschen was named GCL South Coach of the Year.  Joining Mountain and Mullen on the All-GCL South first team, listed with their finish in the race and finishing time, are Tim Foster, St. Xavier (third, 16:33.8); Thomas Walters, St. Xavier (fourth, 16:34.8); Conor Bohrer, St. Xavier (fifth, 16:40.6; Jonathan Vonderhaar, St. Xavier (sixth, 16:54.7); and Andrew Gebhart, St. Xavier (seventh, 17:00.8).

Runners who finished from No. 8 to 14 were named to the second team.  They are in order:  Connor Magness, St. Xavier (17:09.0); John Dillon, St. Xavier (17:16.5); Nicholas Lanter, La Salle (17:21.3); Alex Brady, Elder (17:22.2); Ben Wimmers, Elder (17:25.8); Mark Schweinberg, Elder (17:29.8); and Cannon Spelman, Moeller (17:51.6). 

In the GGCL, Ursuline Academy captured its fourth consecutive league title.  Senior Hannah Doerger was named GGCL Runner of the Year after leading the Lions to the crown, finishing with a time of 18:55.55.  UA wound up with 26 team points, followed by St. Ursula, 37; Mercy McAuley, 90; Seton, 91; and Mount Notre Dame, 125.  Like Mountain, Doerger also won the race for the second straight year.

Up next for the GCL South teams is the Division I District Championship that is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Voice of America Park in West Chester.  Qualifiers will advance to the DI Regional the following Saturday, October 26, at Troy High School.

Posted on 10/13/2019 at 1:32 p.m.

GCL South Soccer Teams To Begin Their Postseason Journeys With Matches This week

After closing the regular season with three victories in five days, including  1-0 win at Dublin Coffman on Saturday night in the finale, the Moeller soccer team is now setting its sights on repeating the postseason run of last season that carried the Crusaders to the Division I state final.  Moeller also earned its third straight Cincinnati city championship, is ranked No. 4 in the latest Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Division I state poll, an is ranked No. 9 nationally by MaxPreps.

Moeller (13-1-2), which clinched its third consecutive Greater Catholic League South Division championship with a 1-0 win at St. Xavier last Tuesday, takes an eight-match winning streak into its sectional tournament opener against Harrison at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Gerry Faust Athletic Complex on Moeller’s Montgomery Road campus.  The Crusaders’ have outscored their opposition, 37-9, this season while recording nine shutouts.

The three other GCL South teams also begin their postseason journeys this week, with sectional matchups.  St. Xavier is vying for another solid tournament run like it has posted the last three seasons, with a combined 8-3 record in the tournament during that period.  The Bombers went 3-1 each of the last three years, advancing to the regional semifinals before falling to  Anderson, 2-1, in OT in 2017 and Turpin, 2-1, last October.

Here is a chronological look at the GCL South games this week:

Moeller – The Crusaders literally allowed one goal in eight postseason matches last season, and it wasn’t allowed until OT n the state final.  Moeller outscored the opposition, 24-0, in the previous seven tournament games.  Senior keeper Cal Collins is back in the nets this year, including when coach Mike Welker’s team opens the state playoffs by hosting Harrison Tuesday.

La Salle – The Lancers, who snapped a 14-match winless streak by knocking off Elder, 2-1, last Tuesday in the GCL South finale, hosts West Clermont in the opening round of sectional play Thursday.  Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Lancer Stadium on the La Salle High School campus.  La Salle enters postseason play with a 2-10-4 record.

Elder – The Panthers are looking to regain the momentum they had in the early season, opening with four straight victories and seven wins in eight matches.  Elder (9-5-2) hosts Middletown at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Panther Athletic Complex.  The Panthers are looking for their first victory in six matches, posting two ties and three losses in their last five.

St. Xavier – The Bombers have played solid all season, including four wins in the last five matches and 8 victories in their last 11.  St. Xavier (9-5-2), which dropped a 1-0 decision to Moeller last Tuesday to finish one game behind the Crusaders in the final GCL South standings, will host the winner of Goshen-Wilmington at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Xavier Stadium.

Posted on 10/12/2019 at 12:15 p.m.

St. Xavier Bounces Back In Big Way; La Salle Suffers First Defeat

A week after going on the road and posting a 31-28 victory at St. Xavier in its Greater Catholic League South Division opener, Elder returned to The Pit in Price Hill on Friday night to score seven first-half touchdowns and post a convincing 42-6 win against Moeller to move within one win of capturing the league championship outright.  Elder can wrap up its first GCL South crown in five years with a win at La Salle on November 1, the final night of the regular season.  Elder shared the 2016 GCL South title with St. Xavier, both finishing with 2-1 records.

The Elder-Moeller game was featured as part of the season-long Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown presented by Mercy Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine & Meijer.

GCL South members St. Xavier and La Salle stepped out of league play last night, with mixed results.  The Bombers got another outstanding effort from senior quarterback Matthew Rueve, who completed 20-of-27 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns to help St. Xavier (6-1) score 21 points in both the second and third quarters, respectively, to erase a 6-0 deficit and take a 42-6 lead after three quarters.  Rueve has now thrown 20 TDs and just two interceptions through seven games for the Bombers, who are ranked No. 2 in this week’s Division I, Region 4 Harbin computer ratings and No. 8 in the Associated Press DI state poll.

La Salle traveled to Northern Kentucky to face Covington Catholic in an interstate matchup between two undefeated teams.  The Lancers were looking to stay perfect in six meetings against CovCath, but instead it was the Colonels that remained unbeaten this season and extended their regular-season winning streak to 28 games dating back to October 2016 and a 35-28 loss to ?Scott County.  The Lancers were held to less than 120 yards total offense by a CovCath defense that has held all but one, Lexington Catholic, of its opponents to seven points or less while recording four shutouts.  La Salle entered the CovCath game No. 2 in the AP DII state poll and second in the Harbin computer ratings for Region 8, trailing only Turpin.

CovCath has now outscored its eight opponents, 336-54.

Elder (6-1, 2-0 GCL South) continued its torrid pace on offense against Moeller, thanks largely to the steady play of senior quarterback Matthew Luebbe – who accounted for more than 250 yards total offense and four TDs in two quarters.  TLuebbe connected on 17-of-22 passes for 183 yards and two scores, while also rushing 10 times for 76 yards and a pair of scores.  Sophomore Drew Ramsey and senior Evan Vollmer each caught five passes for Elder, which slightly eclipsed its season average of 40 points a game.

The Elder defense also was solid, limiting Moeller (1-6, 0-3) to just seven first downs and 24 yards passing.  The Crusaders, who have been shut out three times, failed to convert a third-down conversion in five attempts and were 0-of-1 on fourth down.  Elder – which is ranked No. 6 in the AP Di state poll and is third in the Harbin ratings in Region 4 – has a difficult road ahead in its final three games, facing Winton Woods (5-2) next Friday on the road, before returning home to meet Clarkson Football North (3-4) before heading to North Bend Road to face La Salle in the finale.

La Salle (6-1) was never able to get untracked against CovCath – which had lost all six previous meetings with the Lancers, including four consecutive defeats from 2009 to 2012.  La Salle junior quarterback Zach Branam completed 11-of-17 passes for just 31 yards and was intercepted twice – one that was returned 45 yards for a TD by CovCath senior and University of Notre Dame commit Michael Mayer.  Also a standout tight end, Mayer hauled in six passes for 97 yards for the Colonels – who limited La Salle to just 114 yards of total offense.  Senior linebacker Daniel Felix led the CovCath defense with 9.5 tackles, including three for loss, and one sack.  Mayer added nine tackles, including two for loss, to go along with his interception.

CovCath (8-0), ranked No. 1 in the AP Kentucky Class 5A state poll, will attempt to clinch its third straight perfect regular season when it travels to Highlands next Friday and then is at Conner on Friday, October 25.  The Colonels won the 5A state title two years ago, finishing a perfect 15-0, and then carried a 14-0 record into the state final last year before losing to South Warren, 20-16, in the title game in Lexington.

Like Elder, the schedule doesn’t do any favors for La Salle.  The Lancers return home next Friday to host St. Xavier in a game with serious league title implications.  La Salle needs wins over St. Xavier and then Elder in week 10 to win the GCL championship outright.  A loss to St. Xavier nd a win over Elder would tie the Lancers with Elder atop the standings, while Elder can win it outright by defeating La Salle.  In between St. Xavier and Elder, the Lancers host Winton Woods in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown on Friday, October 25.

Posted on 10/11/2019 at 9:43 a.m.

Elder Looks To Maintain Lead; La Salle Travels South For Interstate Challenge

It is a busy Friday night for members of the Greater Catholic League South Division.  Elder, one week removed from a 31-28 win at St. Xavier, looks to remain unbeaten in the league and move one step closer to capturing the coveted GCL South title when it hosts Moeller at 7 tonight at The Pit in Price Hill.  La Salle, which opened league play with a win against Moeller last Friday, heads to Northern Kentucky to face Covington Catholic – which has won 27 consecutive regular-season games dating back to 2016.  Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Wooten Field in Park Hills.  And St. Xavier steps out of league play after splitting a pair of GCL South games the last two weeks to host talent-rich Clarkson Football North Prep Academy at 7 p.m. at St. Xavier Stadium.

Elder, La Salle and St. Xavier are all ranked in the respective division state polls, and the three teams are also in good standing entering week seven to qualify for the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Football Playoffs.  Elder (5-1, 1-0 GCL South) is ranked No. 6 in this week’s Associated Press Division I state poll; the Panthers are third in the Harbin computer ratings in DI, Region 4.  The top eight teams in each region qualify for the postseason, with the top four teams earning first-round home games.  La Salle (6-0, 1-0) is second in both the DII state poll, trailing only Massillon, and also second in the DII, Region 8 Harbin rankings behind Turpin.  St. Xavier is No. 8 in the AP DI poll, but is still second in the Harbin ratings behind Fairfield after suffering its first setback of the season.

Fairfield is the only Cincinnati DI team that is still undefeated.

Elder’s offense, which averages 40 points per game, is led by senior quarterback Matthew Luebbe – who is coming off a career night in the win at St. Xavier.  Luebbe rushed just 21 times for 236 yards and four TDS, with scoring runs covering 65, 5, 83 and 2 yards, respectively.  He leads the league in rushing, having carried 71 times for 649 yards and eight TDs.  He also has passed for 1,080 yards, 11 TDs with just four interceptions.  Elder has the second leading receiver in the GCL South in senior tight end and Ohio State University commit Joe Royer, who has caught 33 passes for 566 yards and a GCL South-best eight TDs.  Also among the league leaders in receiving yards is sophomore Drew Ramsey, who has 18 receptions for 249 yards and three TDs.

La Salle and St. Xavier also have been getting outstanding play from the quarterback position.  Lancers’ junior Zach Branam, a first-year starter, has been solid all season – connecting on 44-of-67 passes for 578 yards, 11 TDs and just one interception.  In La Salle’s 41-20 win at Moeller last Friday, Branam rushed 19 times for a career-best 253 yards and five scores.  Senior Matthew Rueve at St. Xavier is putting up stellar numbers as well.  Rueve, who started the final two games last season before taking over the Bombers’ offense this year, has completed 142-of212 passes for a league-high 1,642 yards, with 16 TDs and just two interceptions.  The Bombers have two of the GCL South leading receivers in junior Liam Clifford, who has 48 catches for 718 yards and seven TDs, with senior tight end and Northwestern University commit Marshall Lang hauling in 37 passes for 412 yards and five TDs.

The La Salle at CovCath game will be one of the most intriguing games of the week.  CovCath, the top team in NKY the last three seasons, is enjoying another outstanding season.  The Colonels have outscored their opposition, 309-47, in seven games – with only one game ending in single digits, that a 39-38, come-from-behind win against Lexington Catholic at CovCath on September 6.  However, since La Salle and CovCath – which also has four shutouts this season and has allowed more than six points only once – started a home-and-home series in 2009, the GCL South has won seven consecutive games against CovCath.  La Salle won four straight meetings from 2009 to 2012, Moeller won in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014, and St. Xavier defeated CovCath, 57-7, as part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at UC’s Nippert Stadium in the season opener in 2015.

Clarkson Football North, from Mississauga, Ontario, enters its game at St. Xavier with a 3-3 record.  For perspective, the North lost to IMG Academy from Bradenton, Fla., 50-0, last week.  However, the week before, Clarkson defeated Cleveland St. Ignatius, 41-40, in Northeast Ohio – its second stop in Greater Cleveland, also losing to Mentor, the state’s top-ranked DI team, 27-15, earlier in the season.  After facing St. Xavier tonight, Clarkson will travel to defending DI state champion Lakewood St. Edward on October 18 before returning to Cincinnati to oppose Elder on October 25 at The Pit.

Posted on 10/10/2019 at 7:00 a.m.

Crusaders Edge St. Xavier On Final Night Of League Play To Capture Title Again

Junior midfielder Kade Tepe scored the game’s only goal off a pass from senior Sam Hegge with just 10 minutes remaining in regulation to give Moeller a 1-0 victory over St. Xavier Tuesday night in a match that determined the Greater Catholic League South Division soccer championship.

Moeller and St. Xavier entered the match with identical 4-1-0 records against league competition this fall, with the winner of the second meeting between the two teams determining the outright champion.  The title was the third straight for Moeller (11-1-2, 5-1-0 GCL South), which won the earlier meeting against St. Xavier, 2-1, at Xavier University’s Soccer Complex back on September 17.

The Crusaders, ranked No. 3 in this week’s Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Division I state poll and now winners of six straight matches, posted a 3-0 record the second half of the GCL South schedule – with all victories coming on the road.  Moeller won the three matches by a combined 6-0 score, with senior Cal Collins in goal for all three shutouts.

During its three-year run atop the GCL South, Moeller has a 14-1-3 record against league opponents, outscoring the opposition, 46-12.  Collins and the Moeller defense have recorded shutouts in eight of the 18 matches.  The league championship is Moeller’s ninth overall in its soccer history.  St. Xavier (9-5-2, 4-2-0) won outright or shared the league crown five straight years, from 2011 through 2015.

Tepe and Hegge are both tied for the league lead in goals and assists, respectively, with two games remaining.  Tepe’s goal against St. Xavier was No. 10 of the season, tying him with Elder senior Connor Ammon.  Hegge’s assist was his eighth this fall, tying him with teammate Parker Grinstead with two matches left on the Crusaders’ schedule.  Moeller hosts Lakota West at 5 p.m. Thursday before closing the regulatr season at Dublin Coffman at 5 p.m. Saturday.

In Tuesday’s other GCL South match, La Salle notched its first conference win of the season with a 2-1 win over Elder at La Salle’s Lancer Stadium.  Junior Matthew Gagnon broke a 1-1 tie with 13 minutes remaining to give La Salle the lead and senior goalkeeper Nathaniel Fanetti stopped Elder (9-5-2, 2-4-0) on a penalty kick with 11 seconds remaining to give La Salle (2-10-4, 1-5-0) its first GCL South win of the season.  The win alsp stopped a 14-match winless streak for the Lancers. Sophomore Charlie Pearson scored on a header in the first half to give La Salle a 1-0 lead, before Ben Witsken’s goal for Elder in the second half made it 1-1.

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