Meeder receives All-State honors

By on July 31, 2019

Joins Lobb, Miller on All-District Three Team

Chad Meeder, of Warwick’s Class of 2019, had a good laugh recently with Warrior boys volleyball coach Nate Gajecki.

Having been selected to the PVCA 2019 AAA Boys Volleyball All-State Team, Meeder saw that he was listed at a height of 6-foot-3.

In reality, that’s probably being a little generous.

“Chad and I joked about that,” Gajecki chuckled. “He said, ‘Coach, I’m finally 6-3,’ and I was like, ‘Sorry dude, no.’”

The fact that Meeder played way bigger than his height suggests he could have confused the voters.

“His athletic ability to be able to jump and to be able to put the ball away (is impressive),” Gajecki said. “He created some offense that kids six inches taller than him couldn’t do.”

Two other recent Warwick graduates — Foster Lobb and Noah Miller — also turned heads this spring and joined Meeder on the PVCA 2019 AAA Boys Volleyball All-District Three Team. It was Meeder’s 2nd straight selection to the District Team.

Those three played key roles this spring in leading the Warriors to their their first Section One championship in 24 years. From there, they advanced to the Lancaster-Lebanon League finals and then to the District Three Triple-A quarterfinals, completing the campaign with an 18-3 mark.

Hard to believe that just two years earlier, the Warwick boys finished just 2-14.

“It’s not a coincidence that these guys are getting rewarded for having a great season,” Gajecki said. “They’ve worked extremely hard in the off-season. They play outdoor volleyball in the summer time, then put time into getting their body in the best position possible and playing club volleyball in the winter, plus coming to open gyms and being great leaders. We put a lot of effort into this year changing that personality of going from 2-14 to having all but a 20-win season in just two years. It just shows you what type of character these boys have.”

As Gajecki described, the Warriors’ 3-1 win over Section One rival Hempfield on April 4 — in which Meeder picked up a match-high 23 kills — was a “great example” of how dominant the outside hitter could be. It was Warwick’s first win over Hempfield since 2010.

“The other times we played Hempfield were more of a team effort,” said Warwick’s coach, “but he took over that night for us.”

It’s not just Meeder’s athletic abilities which earn rave reviews. His love of the sport is also evident every night he’s on the court.

Meeder is headed to the University of Alabama, where he hopes to play on the Tide’s club team.

Chad Meeder soars high above the net to get a kill for the Warriors against Hempfield in the L-L League finals this spring.

Warwick’s Foster Lobb focuses while hitting the ball over the net in a Section One match against Manheim Township this year.

 In the Warriors’ Section One-clinching win over Hempfield, Noah Miller steps up with a crucial kill.

“I can’t say enough about Chad,” Gajecki said. “Chad’s been part of the program as a middle school player going on six, seven years and just works extremely hard. He’s a great all-around player.

He’s such a competitor throughout the year. (I tell him), ‘Chad, I just love the passion you play with. You are focused on every point and you want to do the best for your teammates and you don’t want to let your teammates down. That comes across as passion and a love for the game.”

Lobb, according to Gajecki, is a leader on and off the court. He will continue his career playing volleyball at Eastern University, located in St. Davids, near Philadelphia.

“Foster just brings a presence about himself. As a coach, you can’t ask for a better personality to be part of your program,” Gajecki said. “He represented what I’m trying to teach Warwick volleyball to be. Again, he’s just a hard-working, honest young man and the sky is the limit for him.”
From his opposite position on the right side of the net, Lobb was often matched up with the opponent’s best offensive player, who was swinging directly across from him.

“Not a lot of guys are comfortable on that right side when you’re right-handed — it’s just a little bit awkward,” Gajecki said. “It’s kinda like picking up a golf club with your off-hand or maybe doing a layup with your off-hand. It’s a little bit different and most guys have to get used to doing that and Foster stepped up. He jumps extremely well and he puts up a big block.”

His floor defense also opened eyes on more than one occasion.

“There’s so many times,” Gajecki said, “that we as a coaching staff looked (at each other) and were like, ‘I don’t know how Foster just got to that ball. How did he read that?’ His volleyball IQ is absolutely amazing.”

Warwick’s coach also had high words of praise for Miller, someone he described as “very driven to be a good volleyball player.”

“I don’t know if you can get a more naturally athletic kid,” Gajecki said. “But that’s not where you end with him. He could just take his natural talents and stop there, but he does push himself hard, he’s in the weight room to try to get stronger.”

Much of what Miller does on the court are things the fans don’t see in the box score. Such as receiving the opponent’s serve and making pinpoint passes to his teammates.

“What people don’t know about Noah is he passes phenomenally well,” Gajecki said. “He takes up half, if not a little bit more of our serve receive and dares the other team to serve to him. And that alleviates Chad, Foster, and Mateo (Chacon) to be able to start getting into offense and getting into their approaches. There were countless times where Noah was standing in the middle of the court and other teams were trying to serve away from him and they couldn’t. He really took that as a role that he was going to be the best passer on our team, and that was something we needed him to do.”

The athletic abilities which Miller brings to the floor will now be Warwick’s loss and Lancaster Bible College’s gain. The Chargers will also benefit from adding a player to the roster who delivers a great serve.

“(Noah) has a little bit of a hybrid serve,” Gajecki said. “There were times that the ball would float or times that the ball would have a topspin to it. And it looks the same coming out of his hand. It would be like standing up to bat trying to hit something that might be a fastball or it might be a knuckleball. It all depends how he finishes his swing.”

Although Lobb, Meeder and Miller have played their final game at Warwick, all will compete at the next level, which couldn’t make Gajecki more happy.

“I’m excited that these guys are going to continue to play at a D-III or college club level,” he said. “I got together (recently) with some alumni that are back in town and the fact that these guys are still playing is, I think, the best testimony for me as a coach, that the kids don’t walk away from the program and never pick up a volleyball again. They’re still out playing and want to come back and see the high school kids and what’s going on.”

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