The Parkway Central Classic boys volleyball tournament has the defending Class 4 and Class 3 state champions in the field this weekend.
Action in the Classic, that is over 20 years old, begins Friday afternoon.
Lafayette won the tourney last year. The Lancers also won the Class 4 state crown last spring. Host Parkway Cental is the defending Class 3 state title holder.
Duchesne is the only new team in the tournament. St. Louis University High, Lindbergh and Parkway North were all out just last year because the tournament was held on Easter weekend.
“They are all back in this year,” Parkway Central coach Tom Schaefer said. “The field is very strong again. With SLUH, Lafayette De Smet, Marquette, Kirkwood, Pattonville and Lindbergh among others, it will be a very challenging tournament.”
Teams in Pool A and their seeds are: 1. Lafayette. 2. Parkway South. 3. De Smet. 4. Parkway North.
Teams in Pool B and their seeds are: 1. Parkway Central. 2. Fort Zumwalt West. 3. Lindbergh. 4. O’Fallon Christian.
Teams in Pool C and their seeds are: 1. Marquette. 2. Kirkwood. 3. Duchesne. 4. Parkway West.
Teams in Pool D and their seeds are: 1. St. Louis University High. 2. Pattonville. 3. Oakville. 4. Ritenour.
The action begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The action resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday. Championship matches are set for 2 p.m.
Schaefer said the competition will be keen.
“The team that comes out on top will have to play several challenging matches,” Schaefer said. “The set-up filters teams of like ability together, and should get the top four into the Gold bracket. To come out on top in that bracket will definitely mean the champion has earned their title.”
The favorites to be playing for the Gold bracket title are the usual suspects, Schaefer said. However, with so many good teams involved, there may be a suprise or two.
“SLUH and Lafayette are the perennial front-runners and this year is no different,” Schaefer said. “There are a lot of other teams that can give them a run for their money though.”
Schaefer is pleased with how his Colts been playing heading into the tournament.
“We have had a good start to the season,” Schaefer said. “The (Francis) Howell Central Tournament was a nice tourney to win, but we know there will be a lot of challenges for us in this tournament and throughout the season.”
That title in the Howell Central meet was good for his squad, Schaefer said.
“It was nice to build our confidence with that win, but we know that every tough match comes down to making a few extra plays if we want to come out on top,” Schafer said.
To win the Gold bracket title, his Colts must play exceeding well, Schaefer said.
“We will need to sustain a very high level of play,” Schaefer said. “Every team has players who can make outstanding plays, but it comes down to consistency. The good teams don”t give you very many free points, so you have to work hard to earn every point.”
His team is looking forward to hosting this event. It’s a point of pride for the program.
“We like hosting a very strong event and bringing in most of the top teams in the area,” Schaefer said. “Our athletic directors and the rest of the staff at our school really help to make the event run smoothly. We also get a lot of help from the younger players in our program to make sure all the logistics of the event are under control.”