The Volleyball Cats got their revenge Thursday night vs. the Jackson Polar Bears inside Sullivan Gym. Last week on April 15, the Wildcats traveled down to Massillon for the first of two matches against the Polar Bears. The Cats were outmatched as Jackson would take the match in three sets: 17-25, 14-25, 23-25. The Blue and Gold turned the tables on Jackson to return the favor and sweep Jackson in three sets: 25-20, 25-13, 25-14.
Saint Ignatius came out the gate with high intensity against the Polar Bears. After a double hit by Jackson, the Wildcats jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. Through the whole night, the Cats did not let their foot off the gas pedal. The Wildcats took their largest lead of the first set after a William Kander kill that the Polar Bears could not get over the net, making the score 18-11 Cats. The Polar Bears would threaten with a comeback cutting the Wildcat lead to 22-18. The Cats were not fazed and were able to close the first set with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Patrick O’Neill.
“This is going to be a big turning point for us,” explains O’Neill. “This game helped our confidence moving towards the end of the regular season.”
In set number two for the Wildcats, it was all about defense. Jackson put together significant spikes on the Cats, but the defense continued to dig and not allow a Polar Bear run. In set two, the Blue and Gold totaled 22 digs as Jackson could not find a rhythm on offense. The Wildcats maintained a substantial lead throughout the second set as they ran away with the set. After an errant serve by Jackson, the Wildcats took a 2-0 match lead.
The Wildcats’ fire brought to the match continued in the third set as they would climb out to another early lead. After an O’Neill kill, the Cats climbed to an 11-6 lead in set three. After a Polar Bear timeout, Jackson cut the Cats lead to 12-10. This would spark a fantastic finish by the Wildcats as they would finish the match on a 13-4 run. After an errant serve from Jackson, Saint Ignatius was victorious after three sets.
“Energy is one of the most important things when you’re playing Volleyball,” says O’Neill. “We had that on our side in the entire match, and we didn’t look back.”
The Wildcats improve to 5-5 on the regular season and travel to Centerville High School for the Elite 8 Tournament. The Cats will open up play at 10 a.m. on Saturday as they’ll play the Elks of Centerville. The Wildcats look to build off their impressive 3-0 win against Jackson from Thursday night.