Friday, November 05, 1999

St. X, Elder, Moeller carry GCL flag




BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Steve Klonne doesn't think three teams from the GCL South will make the playoffs every year. He thinks in some years you'll see four.

        Moeller, Elder and St.Xavier from the four-team Greater Catholic League South all qualified for the Division I playoffs this year, the first year the format was expanded to include eight teams from the region.

        “I think LaSalle is going to contend for a spot some years,” said Klonne, Moeller's coach.

        LaSalle was the only GCL South team left out of the playoffs. The Lancers finished 5-5 and beat Oak Hills, which made the playoffs, so Klonne's theory is not so farfetched. If the eight-team format had been used the last 10 years, the GCL South would have qualified three teams six times and two the other four years.

        “It's a good league,” Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. “Every year, we're going to have one or two teams in the top five in the city.”

        This year, it's three of the four top. St.Xavier is No.1 in the city, Elder No.2 and Moeller No.4.

        “I don't think there's a better league in the state,” Klonne said. “The league is very balanced.”

        St.X and Moeller meet in the first round of the playoffs Saturday (7p.m.) at X. Elder is at home against Oak Hills at 7p.m. Saturday.

        With three of the eight teams in the playoffs, GCL South first-round matchups are inevitable.

        “It's similar to basketball,” St.X coach Steve Rasso said. “A lot of times you play a team twice in the league, then have to play them again in the tournament.”

        Moeller is in a somewhat familiar situation.

        “We've played Princeton in the regular season,” Klonne said, “then played them again in the playoffs a couple of times.”

        Saturday's matchup is an interesting one. Moeller gave St.X (9-0) its biggest scare of the regular season. St.X won 21-19.

        Moeller (6-4) was the GCL South team on the bubble. Things had to break just right the final week.

        “But with the schedule we played, we were hopeful,” Klonne said. “We knew after we lost twice before the GCL schedule that there was the possibility that we'd finish 6-4. We got some breaks.”

        The GCL coaches hope the expanded format will help ease their scheduling problems. Elder and St.X both played only nine games this year because they couldn't get a 10th. Moeller played two out-of-state teams.

        A lot of schools don't want to risk a loss that would ruin their playoff chances.

        “We just can't get schools to play us,” Klonne said. The GCL South teams have the burden of trying to get seven non-league games because the league is so small.

        The Greater Miami Conference expansion has worsened the problem.

        “They have so many league games,” Ramsey said. “... We're lucky we have two rival games — West High and Oak Hills.”

       



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