MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon boys volleyball coach Alan Cassell is always looking for tests for his Yellow Jackets. Cassell schedules some of the toughest teams in the state, giving the Jackets an opportunity to see where they are and what they need to work on to reach the promised land.
On Monday, St. Charles visited the Hive. The Cardinals, which won a state title two years ago, came in to the game ranked third in the state in Division II. They also brought with them Andy Sellan, one of the best players in the state.
Mount Vernon battled the Cardinals for four exciting, intense matches before finally falling, 28-26, 22-25, 26-24, 25-20.
“They are a good team. They have enough pieces to go around the big guy,” said Cassell. “I thought we did OK. The thing we let get away is we gave up a run of points. We needed to get that stopped after one or two.”
The first game saw the teams battle it out from the opening serve. St. Charles had three three-point runs, including a final one that finished off the game, 28-26.
Mount Vernon (4-3) got off to a great start in the second game, scoring 10 straight points. But, they allowed a five-point run, as well as two three-pointers, to let St. Charles back in the game. The Jackets were able to hang on for the victory, though.
A seven-point run midway through the third helped MV take a 11-9 lead. But, the Cardinals were able to score six of the last seven points to grab the game.
“We got a little lackadasical (in the second) and let them back in,” Cassell said. “In the third set, we had the right guys swinging, we just couldn’t get the ball down on the floor.”
Sellan was a big key in the success of the Cardinals all night, as he had seven kills in just the third game alone. Most of St. Charles’ offense ran through the 6-foot-3 senior, especially in crunch time.
“He’s probably one of the best in the state. We started to block him some. We’ve not played a kid of that caliber before,” Cassell said.
St. Charles was able to take control in the fourth game, posting the victory.
“There’s a reason we play teams like this. We’re trying to get better for the end of the year,” Cassell said.
Chris Omahan led the Jackets with 18 kills and five blocks. Steve Barcus added 36 assists, six kills, three blocks and two aces, Ethan Beckholt had nine kills, six blocks and three aces, Josiah Burney had eight kills and three blocks, Aaron Nixon had five blocks, four kills and two aces, Korey Beliecki had six blocks and two kills, Bryan Downs had four digs and Ben Robinson three aces.
“We started Josiah on the outside tonight. He did a real nice job,” Cassell said. “Obviously, we try to feed Chris Omahan the ball. But, others, like Ethan Beckholt had a nice game.”
The Jackets will play at Pickerington Central today. Their next home game will be Thursday, when they host division rival Hilliard Bradley.