Howell Central spikes Tigers in state semifinal


After graduating five seniors from last year’s 25-4-1 squad that reached the Class 4 state semifinal game, many believed this season would be a rebuilding year for the Oakville Senior High School boys’ volleyball team.

But Oakville went 28-5-0 overall with a Suburban West Conference championship.

The Tigers once again reached the Class 4 state semifinal game on May 20, but dropped a 25-20, 21-25, 26-24 decision to Francis Howell Central.

“I think we were a lot closer to getting to the championship game this year than last year,” Oakville head coach Morgan Lucas said. “We were very young this year in terms of experience and had two middle hitters who didn’t have any varsity experience. We were disappointed in our loss, but not disappointed in our play.”

Seniors Pat Austin, Matt Vogler, Tony Munsell, Bryan Condra, Jake Nenninger and Jason Maniaci were the foundation to the Tigers’ success in 2009.

Austin led the Tigers with 402 attacks and 223 kills. The senior outside hitter also recorded 22 aces, 43 blocks and 141 digs.

“In my opinion, Pat’s the best outside hitter in the St. Louis area,” Lucas said. “He’s a great kid and a hard worker who was a huge asset to the Oakville volleyball program.”

Vogler manned the setter’s position and led the Tigers with a total of 416 assists for the 2009 campaign. He also racked up a total of 207 digs, 38 blocks, 143 kills and 11 aces.

“Matt’s an extremely smart player that ran the offense really well this year,” Lucas said. “The thing about Matt is that he played with a lot more confidence on the court this season.”

Libero Tony Munsell was a true defensive specialist for the Tigers as he racked up a team-leading 512 digs.

“Tony was our emotional leader on the court this season,” Lucas said. “His solid passing really kept us in so many games.”

Condra also played setter and was second in assists with a total of 331 after sitting out his junior season. He also led Oakville with a 95.56 serve percentage.

“Bryan was our most consistent server on the team,” Lucas said. “He really stepped into the other setter’s position after not playing since his sophomore year.”

Outside hitter Jake Nenninger and defensive specialist Jason Maniaci are two seniors who also were instrumental in the Tigers’ success this season.

“When Pat (Austin) was out earlier in the season, Jake and Jason filled into his position really well and got a lot of playing time in,” Lucas said. “They both were our go-to players coming off the bench when things were not going well for us.”