If the 10-foot line on the volleyball court at De Smet High needs to be repainted over the summer, the person who gets that chore can thank Drew Steiner. The senior has been wearing that stripe out this spring with missile after missile in practices and games. He credits weight training, which has strengthened his upper body and lower body in making him a more dominating attacker capable of hitting the ball explosively and on a vertical plane. “In the past, I always hit through the block instead of hitting over the block,” Steiner says. “Now I’m doing more of (the latter).”
His attacking statistics are proof of that. The 6-foot-4 outside hitter was averaging 3.51 kills per game through last week’s play, which ranks him among the best in the area. “I think he’s one of the best hitters coming out of St. Louis this year,” De Smet coach John Hawkey says. “He may not have the height and size of some guys, but his experience and his abilities are some of the best I’ve seen. How hard he can hit the ball is fun to see.”
The four-year starter is the Spartans’ go-to hitter this season. He’s one of the main reasons De Smet, which started the week with a 30-2 record, has held the No. 1 ranking in the STLhighschoolsports.com rankings from late March when the season started to now. “We’ve been able to dump the ball over to him,” Hawkey says. “Knowing what he can do gives our players confidence.”
Steiner put on a show at the Class 4 District 1 tournament at Oakville. He collected 12 kills to help the Spartans win a tough three-game match in the final with Mehlville. The district title was De Smet’s fourth consecutive. Steiner also made 19 passes with only four errors against the Panthers and was tough on the block, which helped him demonstrate once again that he’s not a one-trick pony. “I feel I’ve come a long way during my career,” Steiner says. “I’m a pretty complete player now.”
That’s why he plays for the High Performance 18 Gold select team, which features several of the top players in the area, including Webster Grove’s Ryan Mahl and Francis Howell Central’s Jack Gamache. That also is why he will play for the prestigious New York University volleyball program next year.
Steiner’s main reason for wanting to go to NYU is the school’s film school, which he has been accepted into thanks to his impressive 4.65 grade point average. However, being able to play volleyball there is a big plus for him, as well. “It should be great,” he says. “It’s a real good program—one of the best in Division III.”
Steiner played a big role on the 2009 De Smet squad, which was the last Spartans team to win state. He came into this week hoping to lead De Smet, the No. 1 overall seed in this week’s Class 4 state tournament, to another title. “It’s been a team effort all year,” Steiner says. “It’s not like I have to play awesome every single night. We have so many good attacking options.”
The Class 3 and Class 4 championship matches are scheduled for May 18 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, at Lindenwood University.