For one of the first times all season, the Saint Ignatius varsity volleyball team was fully healthy, with each member of the team playing.
The result? A 3-0 sweep of Walsh Jesuit, one of the best teams in the North Region.
The Wildcats rolled past the Warriors on Senior Night, 25-17, 25-18, and 25-17. All five of the team's seniors contributed in a complete victory.
"All five seniors got in and contributed in big ways. We played arguably the second best team in the region and we won pretty handily," said Head Coach Jacob Layden. "We had good energy. It was awesome."
After a nice ceremony honoring seniors on both teams, the Wildcats and Warriors got to work. The teams played very evenly to start, with neither team enjoying a clear advantage. The Wildcats led midway through the opening set, 16-15, as each team showed off strong all-around play.
Then Teddy Koncelik stepped up to the service line.
With the senior dealing great serves, the Wildcats sat down in the driver's seat. Koncelik tallied a pair of aces and spurred the Volleyball Cats to a 7-0 run. The Warriors called a timeout, but it was too late. The men of Ohio City captured a 25-17 win in the first set.
The second stanza also began on an even plane. Then the team's seniors stepped to the fore and began dominating. Eric Larsen produced several blocks and tips. Phil Catanzaro unleashed his cannon for a number of kills. Matthew Rogers helped with a host of digs. Koncelik tallied a flurry of kills and aces.
The Wildcats again pulled away in the latter stages of the set. The squad earned a 25-18 victory to advance to the third set.
The teams took a 5-minute break for a fun serving contest for free T-shirts. Following the fun giveaway contest, the Wildcats took the court and played with a purpose.
The Volleyball Cats demonstrated a will to win and a killer instinct. Matthew Stankewicz entered the game in one of his first appearances of the season after suffering an injury earlier in the year. The popular senior played a clutch role in finishing off the Warriors in the third set, 25-17.
"Matt coming in and getting two big blocks and a couple kills in the third set to turn us loose in the third set was awesome," Coach Layden. "We just need to continue to execute – we executed really well today. We struggled with errors from the service line and in attack for the whole year. We've started to smooth that out and that's a good sign moving forward."
Moving forward, the Wildcats need two wins to clinch a spot at the State Tournament in Columbus. The Volleyball Cats will play host to the St. Edward Eagles on Wednesday at 6:30 pm in Sullivan Gym in the Regional Semifinal. Should the Cats win, they would face the winner of Stow-Munroe Falls vs. Medina next Saturday at Massillon Jackson.
The Wildcats carry a 15-7 record and a 4-game winning streak heading into the postseason.
JV Cats keep rolling
The Wildcats kept up the long winning streak on Friday, 25-11 and 25-21. The men of Anne Kent have an incredible 17-1 record with a 16-game winning streak.
The JV Cats will cap off the season on Saturday at the JV Year-End Tournament at Jackson.