by Adam Baum, Cincinnati Enquirer
GREEN TWP. - Consistency is something a team learns and hopes to achieve. Over the first third of the Oak Hills High School boys volleyball season, 10th-year coach Chris Morman will tell you his Highlanders have been "consistently inconsistent."
"I think we're still searching to find our identity as a team," Morman explained. "We have some good skill guys, it's just a matter of putting it all together. I'm hoping it will come together and click soon."
Even with inconsistent play, Oak Hills has had a productive start winning six of its first 10 and four of five in the Greater Miami Conference. It's a solid start, but there's no illusions for Morman and his team - they know how tough a road they have in front of them.
Within the GMC, Oak Hills has to deal with Fairfield, Mason and Lakota East, all three of whom are ranked in the top 10 of The Cincinnati Enquirer area coaches' poll. Oak Hills is ranked No. 7 in the third week of the poll.
"It looks like there's some parity in our conference this year," said Morman, adding that he believes the Highlanders will be "equally-matched" to the other top teams in the GMC.
The Highlanders lost to Fairfield 25-21, 25-19, 26-24 on April 14, then defeated Mason 25-19, 25-11, 25-23 April 16.
It's no surprise who's led the Highlanders to this point. Senior outside hitter Tim Laib has been as advertised - really good.
"We kind of thought (Tim) would be the leader and he has," said Morman, adding that Laib is "leaned on" offensively. "Anybody that comes in to play us knows who the go-to guy will be - that's a lot of pressure on one kid."
Laib's handled the pressure. As of April 16, he leads the GMC in kills (124) converting on roughly 52 percent of his attempts. Offensive help has come in the form of Eric Schneider who ranks third in the GMC for kills (65) and junior Owen Appiarius is sixth with 58.
"Things don't get easier, we're gonna have our work cut out for us," Morman said. "We've got a tough schedule coming up with Elder, St. Xavier (May 4) and La Salle (May 5). When we get to those (GCL teams) we're gonna have some improving to do or we'll be in for a wake-up call." [Read More]