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Wildcats Finish Strong to Complete Undefeated Season

By Gianluca DiGiacomo '22, 10/19/21, 1:30PM EDT


For the fourth time in program history, the Soccer Cats complete an undefeated regular season.

OHIO CITY, Oh - Your Saint Ignatius Wildcats tallied three more wins in their final three matches to complete a perfect 16-0-0 season; only the fourth team to do it with all sixteen games, and the second consecutive year that the team finished the regular season without a loss or draw.

The season has been incredible in so many aspects (which I will cover in another story), and the Wildcats are looking more potent than ever entering the playoffs.

Saint Ignatius Wildcats 6, Western Reserve Academy Pioneers 1

The Wildcats had this matchup back on October 6, with a Western Reserve team that had been on quite the run before, only losing one match before the faceoff.

The Wildcats prioritized starting strong, especially after their struggles at the beginning of their first match in Kentucky. The Wildcats did just that, knocking in all their goals in the first half, with great counter-attacking football and some very nice finishes. Josip Rimac finished with a hat trick and two assists in an incredible performance (with a beautiful chip), Zsombor Onodi secured a brace with an excellent goal, breezing past defenders, and Nolan Spicer scored the last.

The second half was not necessarily noteworthy for the Cats; with the reserves in for the majority of the half, not much offense was generated with a continuously gritty Western Reserve side.

Western Reserve’s single goal was an own goal with just 90 seconds remaining in the match. Overall, the Wildcats had an outstanding performance, and things continued to turn out for the side.

Saint Ignatius Wildcats 4, Massillon Jackson Polar Bears 0

Two days later, on Friday, the Wildcats would travel down to Massillon Jackson to play the Polar Bears, the #3 ranked team in the state. With a historic rivalry between these two programs, we were in for a very entertaining match from the beginning.

The first quarter of the match was scoreless, with good end-to-end football and good chances from the Wildcats. In the 24th minute, the Wildcats finally broke through, as a lovely corner came from the Wildcats right to the head of Zsombor Onodi to place it nicely into the top left corner. With a beautiful goal, the Wildcats finally broke the seams leading 1-0.

The second goal came from Nolan Spicer after a ball was played from Owen Sullivan, and Spicer did a solid job of eluding defenders to break free in the box and narrowly poking the ball past the keeper.

The third goal came from Onodi again. The Wildcats broke free on a counter-attack after a stellar defensive breakdown of Massillon’s attack. Rimac running down the wing, plays a powerful low cross to Onodi, who hits an excellent half-volley into the top left corner in splendid fashion, bringing the Wildcats further clear of a win.

Finally, Luciano Pechota knocked in another goal with a tremendous offensive buildup to bring it to 4-0.

Although Massillon did not give up, they applied good pressure and drew a penalty not long after the fourth goal. Patrick McLaughlin stepped up and read the taker, saving the penalty with a minimum of fuss.

The final whistle blew, and the Wildcats had overcome one of their biggest domestic competitors.

Men of the Match vs. Dublin Jerome: Owen Sullivan and Nathan Trickett

Saint Ignatius Wildcats 3, Dublin Jerome Celtics 0

The Wildcats would step into their final match of the season on Saturday. Cold, breezy weather was finally coming as a clear sign of the upcoming playoffs. The Cats had a great sense of hunger but also more relaxed, looking to finish the regular season strong against the Celtics, who are always a solid program looking to clash with the Cats.

With the priority of starting strong, the Wildcats did just that.

Dublin Jerome would commit a foul along the right-hand flank. Just one minute into the first half, Nathan Trickett played a ball into the box. Zsombor Onodi would get his head on it and get it past the keeper with the header.

Dublin Jerome handled the pressure well, continuing good force and energy and getting more looks in the attacking third than the average Wildcat opponent.

After a good bit, the Wildcats would have a corner, one of many in the first half. Nathan Trickett would again be on top of it as he played a ball into Owen Sullivan. Sullivan headed it in powerfully into the bottom corner, making it 2-0.

Dublin Jerome kept up their solid game plan and executed it quite well. The Wildcats would still have an advantage in chance creation, but the Celts on the backline made sure to bend, not break.

The Wildcats’ final goal came in the second half, as Nolan Spicer was through on goal. He tried to slot the ball in past the keeper, but Ethan Ogden made a great save with his leg. Unfortunately for Dublin Jerome, the ball would fall right to Onodi, who blasted the ball into the top right corner off the post to tally the final goal of the regular season.

The Wildcats brought glory this regular season, being only the fourth team in Wildcat history to have a perfect 16-0-0 season.

The Wildcats will be back in action on Saturday, October 23, playing against the match-winner between Barberton and Akron-Kenmore Garfield on Wednesday, October 20. The game will be at 1:00 p.m., so stay tuned. Also, watch out for a regular-season recap and analysis. Stay tuned, and Go Cats!