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STATES PREVIEW: Volleyball Cats Look to Win 2nd Title in a Row

By Joe Ginley, 06/01/18, 12:00PM EDT


When: State Quarterfinal: Saturday, June 2 at 1:30 pm
State Semifinal: Sunday, June 3 at 10 am* 
State Final: Sunday, June 3 at 4 pm*
*If the Wildcats win 

Where: Capital Center at Capital University

Parking Map: (S1, S2, S3):

Broadcast Info:

Follow on Twitter: @SIHSSports / @IggyVolleyball

After a decade of trips to the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association (OHSBVA) State Tournament, the Saint Ignatius varsity volleyball team finally broke through with a State Championship in 2017. 

The Wildcats turned to a youth movement this season, with only two returning seniors from last year's team. That hasn't stopped the Volleyball Cats from surprising teams all season, dominating the North Region and rolling to a 19-4 record. 

With a hunger for success and a rapidly developing, highly talented team, the Volleyball Cats are ready for the big stage.

The journey to a repeat begins on Saturday morning, as the Wildcats will face Clayton Northmont in the State Quarterfinal. The Thunderbolts beat No. 8 Lakota West in the Regional Semifinal, 25-10, 25-15, 25-15 and then No. 5 Kettering Fairmont in the Regional Final, 25-17, 25-10, 25-17. 

The winner of Saint Ignatius vs. Northmont will advance to face the winner of Hilliard Darby vs. St. Xavier in the State Semifinal on Saturday at 10 am. The Cats beat Hilliard Darby at the Centerville Elite 8 earlier this year (25-17, 25-23, 25-19) but lost to the Bombers on April 7 at Walsh Jesuit (25-12, 25-19, 25-22). Last season, the Cats lost to the Bombers in the regular season, 3-1, before winning in the State Semifinal, 3-1. The Wildcats swept Darby to win the title in 2017. 

The winner from this side of the bracket will play in the State Championship on Sunday at 4 pm. Beavercreek, Massillon Jackson, Archbishop Moeller, and Olentangy are the challengers on the opposite side of the bracket. 

Critical to the Wildcats' success is the team's leader and all-star, Phil Catanzaro. The North Region Player of the Year and All-State first teamer has wowed Wildcat faithful and foes alike, proving to be a force no matter where he stands on the court. A master in the front line with a team-best 164 kills, Catanzaro's right arm is deadly accurate and quick. His skill from the back line with 118 digs and 61 aces are evident each time he steps on the court.

The Wildcats have plenty of talent at the net. Savvy senior David Castele knows how to place the ball perfectly, tabbing 93 kills on the year. Quinn Flanagan's spikes are a thing of beauty. And with 160 kills on the year, Flanagan has treated opponents to the sight of ball meeting court plenty of times. Teddy Koncelik (94 kills) and Andrew Boeckman (85 kills) have burst on the scene this season, forming a tall and dangerous front line.  

Aidan McCaffrey is the heart of the Cats, both on and off the court. An important team leader, McCaffrey holds the position of setter, aiding the offense with his precise passes. The 6'0" senior has kept the squad focused all year on the eventual goal of success in Columbus, notching 513 assists on the year. McCaffrey will be a key cog in the Wildcat machine this weekend.

Matthew Rogers and Vincent Holzheimer have performed admirably at libero this year. The junior-sophomore tandem have combined for 247 digs on the year, turning away opponents' kill attempts all season. 

With a full team effort from players all across the court, the Wildcats have a shot at shocking the state for the second year in a row.