By: Adam Niemeyer (FOX19 Sports)
PICKERINGTON, OH(FOX19)—St. Edward ended the reign of GCL South teams winning the volleyball state title by defeating Moeller in five sets, 20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20 and 17-15.
St. Edward became the first non-GCL South school since Centerville in 2004 to play in the state title match, and they capitalized.
"I think the gap is just getting closer and closer in Ohio high school volleyball," said Moeller captain A.J. Eckhoff. "Ohio volleyball is at its best right now and it's only going to get better from here."
In a match that was back and forth the entire night, St. Edward finally broke a 13-13 tie in the final set of the match after a time out.
Moeller was able to tie the match at 15, surviving two match points to do so, but the final tip off the hand of sophomore Casey Pieper fell inches from the line on St. Edward's side of the net, and the Eagles captured their first-ever state title in volleyball.
Centerville's back-to-back state titles in 2001 and 2002 were the last times a non-GCL South school won Ohio's volleyball state title.
It was also Moeller head coach Greg Ulland's final match as head coach of the Crusaders.
"We wanted it really bad for him," said Moeller senior Tucker Skove. "With a big senior class too, we definitely wanted it for all of us too. We came up a little short tonight but it's not the win or the loss that is going to make us or define Greg's success.
"It's a lot more about the relationships we've made throughout the year. We sent him out on the right note."
St. X lost to St. Edward also in five sets in their state semifinal match earlier in the day.
In fact, in 2003 Moeller and St X played for a state title, so since 2003 no one but Elder, Moeller or St. X has been in the title match.