Just one game separates the Wildcats from the playoffs.
The Saint Ignatius JV and Varsity Cats swept Normandy on Wednesday, 9-0 and 7-0, to enter Saturday with a chance to do something special in the regular-season finale.
Entering Saturday's JV B / JV A / Varsity tripleheader, all three teams are undefeated. The varsity squad stands at 13-0-2, the JV A Cats sport a 12-0-1 mark, and the JV B Cats sit at 13-0.
History could be made on Saturday. The Soccer Cats have never gone undefeated across all three programs. That speaks to the talent level in the Saint Ignatius soccer program at the moment. The Wildcats are showing no signs of slowing down.
Wildcats best Invaders
Wednesday evening marked a special day for the soccer program, as the Soccer Cats celebrated Senior Night.
For every team, Senior Night is always a special occasion. But this night was extra special, as the team saluted 15 seniors. It's not so often that a stacked class of 15 men comes through the soccer program, especially special young men like the 15 members of this class.
"To have 15 seniors is special. To have 15 really good young men is even more special," said Head Coach Mike McLaughlin '85. "It was nice to get a win and a shutout. It was nice to get goals from some different folks. It was a nice mid-week game, and great for our seniors to be able to celebrate with their parents. The energy was great amongst the guys."
The Invaders fought hard all night, but the Wildcats' talent rose to the fore again and again. Everett Shorey enjoyed another profitable game, lighting the scoreboard twice, including on the first goal. Several other seniors got in on the action, too.
Ryan Notarianni netted a perfect goal at the back post in beautiful fashion. The talented backline player is a hard worker and great young man, it was nice to see him have success. Gavan Richards also found twine, scoring off a perfectly placed free kick.
"Gavan has a wonderful free kick. It's nice that he's healthy and back on the field," said Coach McLaughlin. "Austin was involved in some nice activity, and Ryan Notarianni as well. Everett has been scoring a lot of our goals, but it's important that others are finding the back of the net, too."
Olentangy Liberty looks to spoil Cats' national title hopes
The regular season concludes on Saturday for the Wildcats with a big challenge.
Olentangy Liberty carries a 12-1-1 mark and the distinction as the No. 3 ranked team in Ohio according to the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association (OSSCA). The Wildcats are No. 2 in the statewide poll, despite a win over the former No. 1 team in the country and a tie with the current No. 1.
The Patriots are undoubtedly tough team. Liberty will look to spoil the Wildcats' hopes of running the table and earning state and national championship trophies.
Liberty's sole loss came at the hands of Dublin Jerome, currently unranked in the state poll. The Patriots have not strayed far beyond Columbus this season, with the team's longest trip being a 33-mile jaunt to play Newark (a 10-0 win). The Wildcats hope to have a nice crowd and enjoy a home-field advantage.
"At this point in the season, we've played a bunch of big games and they're looking forward to the playoffs," said Coach McLaughlin. "We're in the in-between stage. But Saturday is a big day for sure."
JV A looks for undefeated record
The men of Jim Brennan '85 have performed quite well this season.
The JV A Cats have surrendered just 5 goals all year. Three of those were netted by Massillon Jackson, as the Polar Bears tied the Wildcats, 3-3, in the only game that Brennan's boys have not won all year. Brennan and Dr. Darren Keefe ‘87 have done a phenomenal job coaching.
Carrying a 13-0-1 mark, the Wildcats have not surrendered a goal since the September 17 tie. Olentangy Liberty will look to change that in a 1 pm showdown.
JV B hoping for spotless mark
One of the most exciting stories this season has been the amazing development of the freshmen class.
The JV B squad, an all-freshmen outfit, has transformed into an unstoppable force. The Wildcats enter with a 13-0 mark.
Simply look at the schedule and you'll see. The Wildcats have allowed just two goals all season. Only Dublin Jerome and University School have scored a goal on the Wildcats. Of the 13 games, just two have been one-goal affairs. On the season, the JV B Cats have outscored opponents, 65-2.
"It's an amazingly talented freshmen class. In a way, it's similar to our current senior class," said Coach McLaughlin. "There's a lot of talent and numbers. It's a really nice group of kids. They've only given up two goals, and they've played mostly teams with sophomores and juniors and a few freshmen."
In a game that assistant coach John Rowell '11 has called "our Super Bowl," the Wildcats will look to stay undefeated in an 11 am contest.
SIBN to cover all three games
If you want to follow the Wildcats all day on what could be a historic day for the Soccer Cats, you're in luck!
Gianluca DiGiacomo '22 will anchor SIBN coverage starting at 10:55 am with the JV B game. He'll be joined by some varsity players and other special Wildcats guests throughout.