skip navigation

Volleyball Cats off to a Hot Start

By Joe Mertens '15, 04/06/22, 4:45PM EDT


After a 3-1 match win over St. Vincent-St. Mary Tuesday night, the Wildcats are 4-1 to open the season with a big match-up coming up against Hudson.

OHIO CITY, Oh - The Volleyball Cats have opened their new campaign strong and that continued on Tuesday night inside Sullivan Gym as Saint Ignatius played host to the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish. The Wildcats would win in four sets as it was a tight battle all night long against the Fighting Irish, but with solid play coming from Sam Brown, Billy Kander, Patrick O'Neill, JT Thomas and Patrick Maly, the Cats improved to 4-1 on the young season.

The night's first points came from a Sam Brown spike after a beautiful set-up by sophomore Patrick Maly. The first set summarized how the match would be as the advantage would bounce back and forth between the Cats and Irish, neither team building a comfortable margin. The Wildcats would trail 16-15 midway through the opening set but began to build a rhythm, climbing to a 20-17 after an ace by Liam Walsh.

St. Vincent-St. Mary would climb back to tie the first set at 20 and the Wildcats and Irish would go back and forth with the lead. The Cats would get the setpoint, leading 24-23, but a block by the Cats would push the ball out of play to make the score even at 24. The Cats would stare at another set point at 25-24, but the Irish would not go away quietly. The Irish would rally and claim the following three points to take set one of the match.

Set two would be the most dominant of all sets for the Wildcats. 6'4" Middle Blocker Christopher Slater showed authority on a kill to put the Cats up 6-2 early in set two. After a Brown spike, the dominance would continue; the Wildcats would lead 12-5. The Wildcats would equalize the match at one set apiece with a 25-15 victory in set two.

The following two sets would be a fight to the finish between the Cats and Irish, with both teams taking control of the lead. After a Patrick O'Neill ace, the Wildcats would climb to an 8-4 early advantage in the third set. Another ace, this time coming from Jack Kanzig, gave the Cats a 10-5 advantage; however, the Irish would gain momentum and fight right back into the set and tie the Cats at 12.

At 18, all in set three, the Cats began to build momentum leading to the end of the set; with an ace by Maly, the Cats took a 21-18 advantage. O'Neill would put set three into the books with a tremendous spike to win 25-21. Saint Ignatius took a 2-1 match advantage heading into set four.

St. Vincent-St. Mary would come into set four with a chip on their shoulder, playing with more aggression as they tried to force a set five. The Irish climbed out to an early 7-4 advantage over the Cats. Sean Bingle would help regain the lead in set four with a serve as the Irish spike would go wide and out of play. William Kander extended the Cats lead to 21-18 after a monstrous kill that forced the Irish to take a timeout in the late stages of the fourth frame.

The Irish began to rally out of the timeout, similar to how the first set ended, as they would tie the game at 22 and even take a 23-22 lead over Saint Ignatius. Another spike by Brown knotted the game back at 23. The Irish had an opportunity to take set four with a 24-23 lead, but the serve would go out of play to make the score 24 all.

A Kander block gave the Wildcats a 25-24 advantage to the match point. After a tremendous battle by both sides in the final volley, Maly set Kander up for the kill and the Wildcats would come away with set four with a 26-24 victory.

Brown and Kander would lead the way for the Wildcats with 15 kills. O'Neill would have 12 kills as well. Brown had a team-high five aces. JT Thomas was a force on the Wildcats' defensive scheme as he would rack up four blocks. Maly was all over the court as he would total 18 digs and an impressive 50 assists.

With the match win, the Wildcats improve to 4-1 on the season and continue their hot start. The Volleyball Cats have another big match coming up as they'll travel to Hudson on Thursday to take on the Explorers at 7 p.m. The SIBN will have live coverage of the varsity contest as the Wildcats look to continue their hot start.