As the Wildcats started off the week, the regular season hit its midpoint for the Saint Ignatius volleyball program.
Heading into the second half of the regular season, the Volleyball Cats are on fire.
After tallying an impressive 2-1 record at the Spike for Tykes Tournament over the weekend, the Wildcats opened the week on Monday evening with a dominant 3-0 victory over the Brunswick Blue Devils – 25-15, 25-18, 25-14.
The men of Ohio City just about dominated from start to finish, trailing only at the midpoint of the second set. The win sets the Wildcats at 7-4 on the year, having won seven of eight contests dating back to early April.
The Wildcats and Blue Devils started a tad slow, exchanging some errors. Even still, the Wildcats managed to build a 6-3 lead, fortified by aces by Matthew Rogers and Teddy Koncelik. Phil Catanzaro and Eric Larsen each tabbed kills to send the lead to 12-6, leading to a Brunswick timeout.
Continued strong play in the front line by Andrew Boeckman and Alex Bender, along with wonderful serves by Rogers, kept adding ticks on the scoreboard, to 21-11. After a few errors by both teams, the Wildcats finished off the Blue Devils down the home stretch, 25-15.
The second stanza proved to be the most difficult of the day for the Wildcats.
Catanzaro and Koncelik helped the Wildcats take a 4-0 lead to start. Then the Blue Devils showed some fight. The hosts tied the contest at 4, and then 6. Errors by the Wildcats then opened the driver's seat door for the Blue Devils.
Brunswick hopped in and took the wheel and peeled out. The Blue Devils sped to an 11-6 lead to take control. The Wildcats worked to wrest the control back from the Blue Devils, tying the set at 12-all. The teams then engaged in a fierce battle with long volleys. The Wildcats managed to kick Brunswick to the curb, winning five straight points.
The Blue Devils narrowed the deficit to 18-15, but the Wildcats drove to four straight points, with Koncelik providing a kill and Catanzaro tallying back-to-back-to-back aces. Leading 22-15, the Wildcats did not look back, as Catanzaro and Boeckman finished off the Blue Devils with a tip and a spike, 25-18.
The Wildcats flew out of the starting gates in the third set like a Thoroughbred racehorse. Catanzaro catapulted the visitors to a 10-2 lead, notching an amazing 5 aces in a row. Strong front line play by Boeckman and Koncelik also aided the early run. Bender stretched the lead to 16-4 with strong serves, adding an ace. Bender and Boeckman kept the Wildcats going, advancing the lead to 22-9 before the Blue Devils came alive.
Brunswick rolled to a 5-1 run, stirring some emotion from the crowd. But in the end, the Wildcats finished off the set with authority. Boeckman notched a kill to get to 24 and Vince Holzheimer issued a block to reach the magic number 25 for a 25-14 set victory and the match.
Across the three sets, the Wildcats tallied an impressive 17 aces, with Catanzaro leading the way with 9. The Volleyball Cats owned an extraordinary advantage in the trenches, too, with 34 kills to Brunswick's 6. Boeckman paved the way with a team-high 11 kills, also adding 7 digs. Rogers tied for the lead with 7 digs and Holzheimer led the squad with 30 assists.
Now 7-4 on the year, the Volleyball Cats will return home on Wednesday. In the final match before Easter break, the Wildcats will host the Massillon Perry Panthers.
JV Cats stretch win streak to 5
Under the direction of Anne Kent, the JV Cats took care of business on Monday.
The Wildcats bested Brunswick, 25-19 and 25-21, for the team's fifth straight win. In seven matches, the Wildcats have lost just three sets, two of those coming in the lone loss of the year to Elder.
The JV Cats will host Massillon Perry before the varsity contest, beginning at 6 pm.