For an 11th straight year, the Saint Ignatius varsity volleyball team will play in the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association (OHSBVA) Tournament.
The Volleyball Cats dispatched of the Hudson Explorers in straight sets on Saturday at Walsh Jesuit – 25-14, 25-21, and 25-8.
With the victory, the Wildcats clinch a spot in the OHSBVA State Quarterfinals next Saturday at Capital University at 1:30 pm.
The Regional Semifinal started with a strong message from the Wildcats. The men of Ohio City rolled to a 16-7 start, as kills by Quinn Flanagan, Phil Catanzaro, and David Castele paved the way for a dominant start to the contest. A 9-2 run by the Cats helped power the terrific beginning.
Hudson did manage a 4-3 streak to narrow the deficit to 19-11 before calling a timeout. Key plays by Catanzaro and Flanagan down the stretch, along with a big block by Castele, allowed the Wildcats to roll to a 25-14 victory in set #1.
The Explorers battled hard in the second set. Just as the first set, when Saint Ignatius enjoyed a 13-5 advantage in kills, the Volleyball Cats dominated at the net, winning the kills battle 15-4. However, Hudson forced the Wildcats to make more errors.
A few early errors prevented the Wildcats from sprinting to a large lead, but the Cats still held an 8-5 advantage early on. A 4-1 stretch allowed the Wildcats to extend the lead opened the match a bit. The men of Jacob Layden held a lead of over five points until Hudson roared after trailing 17-11. Saint Ignatius errors and strong Hudson play guided the Explorers to a 7-0 streak.
The home stretch featured a battle for control. Matthew Rogers made a couple critical plays to aid the Wildcat effort, with an ace and a few digs. Aidan McCaffrey's passing ability proved to be important, too, as the senior set up Teddy Koncelik on multiple occasions to kill the set for the Cats.
The Wildcats pulled away in the third set. The Cats started off with a 5-1 lead and built it quickly to 13-4. Hudson burned a timeout, but it did not help. Koncelik played a hugely important role in the win, setting the tone early on with a definitive kill. The junior, along with Catanzaro, racked up the kills. Catanzaro's masterful serving escalated the lead further, helping to orchestrate a 7-0 run down the stretch. Flanagan finished off the Explorers with a kill at 25-8.
Catanzaro led the Wildcats with 13 kills and 5 aces on the day. McCaffrey tallied 33 assists in a great day. Vince Holzheimer topped the team with 12 digs. Flanagan added 8 kills.
The Wildcats advanced to 19-4 on the year heading into next weekend's State Tournament. A full tournament preview will be posted this week.