Rarely does an area athlete possess the skills necessary to earn All-Ohio honors and a scholarship to compete at that sport in college.
Count Eastwood senior outside hitter Elise Wolff among that distinct group. She is the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Volleyball Player of the Year, and is the fourth Eagles in a row to get the honor.
Press Coach of the Year goes to first-year Clay boss Dave Conley, whose Eagles were state-ranked in Division I part of the season and lost Three Rivers Athletic Conference matches only to Notre Dame and St. Ursula, which was ranked No. 1 in the final poll and reached the state final.
Clay seemingly had the visiting state runner-up Arrows on the ropes early in their first meeting, eventually losing 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-12. Clay also defeated Eastwood 25-19, 23-25, 25-12, 25-13 in a non-league match.
No local team won a league title, but Eastwood, Clay and Cardinal Stritch Catholic came about as close as a team can get, finishing behind Elmwood, St. Ursula, and Toledo Christian. Three Clay players, because of the competition they faced, are first team All-Press. The honors are taken straight from league voting, with adjustments based on district voting.
At Eastwood, Wolff concluded her prep career and led the Eagles to a 15-4 record, a second place finish in the Northern Buckeye Conference and a sectional title. She set a school record for kills, both in a single season (360) and in a career (913), both impressive feats in a successful program like Eastwood’s. She also set a state all-time record for kills in a single match, getting 34 in a match versus Otsego this year. In addition to her kills, Wolff finished the season with 289 digs, 40 aces and 38 blocks.
As an underclassman, Wolff was instrumental in leading Eastwood to three league titles and a spot in the Division II regional semifinals last year.
Wolff, a four-year letter winner, earned All-Ohio honorable mention and was the NBC and District 7 Player of the Year. An outside hitter, was joined on the All-Press team by junior setter Jaci Juergens, senior middle hitter Cassidy Rolf, libero/defensive specialist Mackenzie Albright, sophomore outside hitter Bri Hoddlebrink and senior middle hitter Emily Hayward. All six Eagles earned all-league status, too, which is more than any other team in the conference.
Coach Jeff Beck, Press Coach of the Year the past two seasons who has won four league titles in five years at Eastwood and led Perrysburg to the Division I state semifinal in 2006, knows a thing or two about great players.
“(Wolff) had an outstanding year,” said Beck, the 2009 District 7 Coach of the Year. “I’ve been coaching Elise for four years (and) this was her best year. She was our captain, our go-to player. When we need a side out, we go to her. She works hard in practice, and when the whistle blows, she’s going to give it her best. She’s a gamer. She’ll give everything she’s got. She loves playing the game.”
Beck sais Wolff is a leader and that rubs off on her teammates.
|Eastwood senior (6) Elise Wolff, who broke all-time state
records this year, goes for the kill. (Press photo by Russ Lytle)
“She’s great in practice,” said Beck. “Her fight, her desire to win is infectious (and) the other girls see that. They know she’s been playing varsity for four years. She leads by example. She has high energy on and off the court.”
Wolff will play volleyball next year at Alderson Broaddus University, a Division II college located in Philippi, West Virginia. Another area volleyball player, St. Ursula’s Lauren Daudelin, will be joining her there in 2014.
Wolff plans on majoring in exercise science at the small liberal arts college which has an enrollment of 1,100 students. The Battlers compete in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, a league that features 11 schools in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Wolff is also a fine track athlete, evidenced by her success in the 100-meter hurdles and the pole vault. She set an NBC meet record in the pole vault last May by clearing the bar at 10 feet, 3 inches and also set a meet record in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.41 while leading Eastwood to its 13th consecutive league title. Wolff also qualified for regionals in both events, missing out qualifying for state by just two spots in the pole vault.
As for now, Wolff will likely prepare for the track season by competing in indoor track this winter. Last season, she placed 12th in the pole vault at the state indoor meet in Akron.