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Wildcats reach District Final with over Brecksville-Broadview Heights

By Eddie Dwyer, Copyright Credit October 2014

FROM WASMER FIELD: The top seeded Cats took the sting out of the Bees from the get go, as Matt Nigro scored off an assist from sophomore Steve Milhoan with the match not six minutes old. The same combination clicked with just under 24 minutes remaining in the first half.

Nigro's Hat Trick with 13:21 remaining in the first 40 minutes and the first of two authoritative shots by Milhoan had the Cats purring to the tune of a 4-0 lead at halftime.

Milhoan's second scoring blast in the final fifteen-plus minutes of the second half completed the five-goal blanking of Brecksville-Broadview Heights and advanced Saint Ignatius into its 20th consecutive District Final in what is Coach Mike McLaughlin's 20th season as the head of his alma mater's highly successful soccer program.

The Cats (15-2-1) , seeded No. 1 at the University Heights District, will face West Side rival St. Edward (11-3-4) in Saturday's 7 PM District Championship match up on Wasmer Field.

St. Edward, which rode Julian Castro's goal to a "sudden victory" over Normandy in Wednesday night's District Semifinal at the Eagles' Coughlin Field, has won the last two District Final encounters with the Wildcats (in 2012 and 2013), with both of those matches decided on PKs.

The Wildcats and the Eagles played to a 1-1 tie during a regular season match up on Sept. 17 at the pitch on Coughlin Field.


A YOUNG MAN WHO TRULY EPTIOMIZES THE CLASS AND TALENT THAT EXUDE FROM SAINT IGNATIUS' SOCCER PROGRAM: After he produced the first hat trick in his standout varsity soccer career, the amiable, but always humble Matt Nigro said he had two goals in a game before, but that it wasn't on a stage like the three goals he produced in Wednesday night's 5-0, District Semifinal victory over Brecksville-Broadview Heights. "It's a great feeling," he said.

"We have so many weapons and Lawrence is an unbelievable weapon," said Nigro of the Wildcats' outstanding junior forward Lawrence Karpeh. "Lawrence attracts so many defenders it allows wingers like me, Bobby Barsic and Stephen Milhoan to get more of the attention, because he attracts so many defenders for us. There is not a weakness to our offense."

As for his first goal on the night, Nigro emphasized that he got a "beautiful ball from Milhoan" and his job was to take a touch.

"I saw the goalie shifted his weight  and I went near post," Nigro said. "The second goal was also a beautiful ball from Milhoan and I sneaked around near post and just poked it past the keeper." Nigro's second goal came as he was sliding on the Wasmer  Field turf.

"On the third goal, my year round teammate Bobby Barsic, a senior captain with me, made eye contact with me and we knew what we wanted to do," Nigro continued. "Bobby played me through, I looked up and opened my body on first touch.

"To be honest with you, when this team is at its lowest, that's when we step it up," said Nigro. "When we lost  2-0 to Copley (on Sept. 20th on Wasmer Field), we didn't dig down, we dug up. We play best in our games when we know we have to. And now we know we have to prove something and we're not going to stop."

Note: Copley and Saint Ignatius finished first and second, respectively, in the final Division I state poll by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association.

FROM COACH MCLAUGHLIN: "The guys know what's on the line from here on out," said the man who has coached his state and nationally acclaimed program to five state championships, a state runner up, nine regional championships, 13 district titles and two national championships. "We've worked hard all season and it's been a great, tight knit group all season. These guys know what they're capable of. Tonight, they put it out on the field."

THE MATCH UP THEY WANTED: As the Wildcats and the Bees were going through their postgame handshake, it was learned that St. Edward and Normandy were entering overtime in their district semifinal match.

You could see in their every expression that Coach McLaughlin and his Wildcats were not thrilled with that news.

"Yes, I want to play St. Eds," Coach McLaughlin said without any hesitation.

IN GOAL: Saint Ignatius got two saves each from its outstanding keeper twosome of seniors Mikal Outcalt and Clark Gronek and it would be remiss not to mention the effort of Bees' backup goalie Russell Slifcak, who came up with seven saves in the second half off some exceptional efforts. The Bees ended their season with 7 victories, 9 defeats and 2 ties.  

Congratulations to Junior Varsity Head Coach and Varsity Assistant Coach Jim Brennan '85 on being named Greater Cleveland Assistant Soccer Coach of the Year!
Varsity Wildcat Soccer 2014

Varsity Soccer defeats Lincoln West 6-1 in Sectional Final, faces Brecksville-Broadview Heights in District Semifinal on Wednesday
Varsity Soccer prevails over Gahanna Lincoln in regular season finale; Now on to the playoffs!

By Eddie Dwyer

Playing for their inspiration, teacher and great friend of Coach Mike McLaughlin's state and nationally acclaimed program, Mr. Jim Skerl '74, the Soccer Cats overcame an early 1/0 deficit and treated Mr. Skerl, who is ill but was still on hand at Wasmer Field, to the dramatic victory over one of Ohio's tradition rich programs.

In dedicating their efforts to Mr. Skerl, the Cats stormed back behind goals by gifted junior forward Lawrence Karpeh, multi skilled senior Matt Nigro, whose goal off a cross from sophomore Steve Milhoan gave Saint Ignatius a 2/1 lead at the 11 minute mark of the first half, and Milhoan, one of the top underclassmen in the state, who made it 3/1 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half.

Saint Ignatius closes out another outstanding and demanding regular season at 13/2/1 and will now gear up for the University Heights Division I Sectional/District, where the Cats are seeded No. 1 (see the corner's post from Friday).

Coach McLaughlin's team is scheduled to begin postseason play in a sectional final on Oct. 18 at Wasmer Field. The Cats will play the winner of the sectional semifinal between Max Hayes and Lincoln West. The Oct. 18 match up is, as of now, slated for 7 PM.    

Wildcat Soccer will have a number one seed to begin the postseason
Varsity Soccer sweeps the weekend trip to St. Louis with a win over South Kent Prep School on Sunday

By Eddie Dwyer

Standout senior Boby Barsic scores off a PK, Steve Milhoan, one of Ohio's premier sophomores, produces his second goal on the weekend and senior Mikal Outcalt provides the shutout in goal as Coach Mike McLaughlin's Wildcats improve to 12/2/1 by winning both of their games in one of the nation's premier high school soccer events (see the corner's post from Saturday night).

The Soccer Cats will close out their regular season by hosting Gahanna Lincoln on Saturday at 2 PM on the pitch at Wasmer Field

Wildcat Soccer takes game one in Gateway City Soccer Classic over St. John Vianney

Posted by Brendan DeVenney '17

With a long bus ride to the city of St. Louis, Missouri, Coach McLaughlin's Wildcats were set to face some high quality competition in the 10th Annual Gateway City Soccer Classic.

Playing in the "Showcase Bracket", Saint Ignatius went up against the St. John Vianney Griffins from St. Louis, Missouri. The Griffins earlier in the day on Saturday faced Rock Bridge, who defeated Saint Ignatius last year, and defeated the Bruins 2-0. The Griffins you could say looked fatigued as the Wildcats came out on top winning 3-1

The Wildcats came right out of the gate and scored all three of their goals in the first half. 

At the ninth minute it was sophomore Stephen Milhoan putting the Wildcats on the board and in the lead. Then at the twenty-eighth minute, senior Matt Nigro increased the Wildcats lead making it 2-0. And then at the fourtieth minute, senior Jack Wiegandt gave Saint Ignatius a comfortable cushion with a 3-0 lead.

The Griffins only goal of the game came in the second half at the twenty-first minute.

The final would be 3-1 in favor of Saint Ignatius. The Wildcats go up against South Kent High School from Connecticut tomorrow in the Gateway City Soccer Classic. The Cardinals defeated Rock Bridge on Friday.  

Varsity Soccer gets win number ten at ALHS's Memorial Stadium by defeating the Shoremen


Tuesday's shutout victory, which upped the Cats' season record to 10/2/1, was keyed by goals from senior standouts Bobby Barsic and Matt Nigro, along with some solid efforts in goal by senior Clark Gronek.

Barsic scored off a smooth pass from sophomore Steve Milhoan and one of those patent corners by savvy junior Hayden Parente led to Nigro's goal.

The overall victory total for the Saint Ignatius Soccer Program stands at five hundred and twenty one in what is now the 39th season of Wildcats soccer. That overall mark includes 128 defeats and eighty six ties.

Mike McLaughlin, in what is his 20th season as the head soccer coach at his alma mater, now has 321 career victories with five of them being Division I state championships. Coach McLaughlin has also guided his Soccer Cats to two national titles, a state runner up and nine state final fours.

Up next for the Cats is this weekend's Gateway City Soccer Classic in St. Louis. 

Wildcats knock off another top ranked team in Powell Olentangy Liberty on Saturday

By Eddie Dwyer

Coach Mike McLaughlin's Soccer Cats, after handing previously unbeaten Hudson its first loss on Thursday night at Wasmer Field, capped off a big week by defeating another of the state's best in Division I, Powell Olentangy Liberty, 3/1, at Olentangy Liberty on Saturday afternoon.

Olentangy Liberty and Hudson were ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in this week's Division I state poll by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association.

Saint Ignatius, Ohio's third ranked program, improved to 9/2/1 behind a goal by savvy at both ends of the pitch Matt Nigro, and two net finders by gifted junior forward Lawrence Karpeh.

Up next for the Soccer Cats is Tuesday's trip to the pitch at Avon Lake to face the Shoremen at 7 PM.


Varsity Soccer 'Cats knock off previously unbeaten Hudson on Wasmer Field Thursday

By Eddie Dwyer, Copyright Credit September 2014

Ohio City: When Coach Mike McLaughlin's nationally and state-wide acclaimed Saint Ignatius Varsity Soccer Program is at the top of its game, it is a beautiful thing to watch.

In what was a perfect fall night on Cleveland's near West Side, the state's third-ranked Wildcats played to near perfection Thursday in handing Ohio's seventh-ranked Hudson Explorers their first setback of the season, five goals to zero, on the pitch at Saint Ignatius' Wasmer Field.

The Wildcats, who have been outshooting their opponents on a consistent basis, only to see the ball shy away from the back of the net, improved to 8-2-1. Hudson, which was coming off an impressive victory at Strongsville, stands 10-1-2.

"In a lot of ways this was many of the same things we've been doing all season," said Coach McLaughlin, who has guided his alma mater to a record five boys Division I state championships. "But the difference is, we finished our chances. This (Hudson) was a good team, a top 10 team in the state coming in and we shutout them out, which is huge. One of the top players in the state is their forward Trevor Colazzo and they had only three shots on goal the whole game.

"I'm really pleased with how our defense played," Coach McLaughlin continued. "The most important goal is the first goal because it wasn't beautiful, it was just fight and scrapping, and that is what has been missing."

The Wildcats, who will travel to Olentangy Liberty on Saturday to take on Ohio's sixth-ranked Division I team (1 PM JV, 3 PM Varsity), took a 1-0 lead when the ever present JoeMack Leonardo got the best of a flurry in front of the net and sent home the goal with the match up not seven minutes old.

Saint Ignatius' defense made sure JoeMack's goal held up for the first 40 minutes by enabling the Cats' offense to maintain a possession pressure attack.

Hudson's defense, which has also been solid from the get-go this season, had a lot do with keeping it a one-goal game heading into the second half.

But then came the offensive eruption that Wildcats fans have been patiently awaiting.

Scoring three of its four second half goals in a span of sixteen minutes, Saint Ignatius knocked the Explorers off course and had Hudson's defense on its heels the rest of the way.

"It means a lot, the last few games (a tie with St. Edward and a loss to top ranked Copley) have been very frustrating," said Wildcats standout senior Bobby Barsic, who fueled the second half fire with the first of his two goals on the night - a header off a corner cross by soccer savvy junior Hayden Parente. "We've been strong defensively, but our offense has just struggled to put shots in the back of the net. Tonight, we were able to pull it off. I mean five goals against one of the best teams in the state is pretty awesome."  

And describing Saint Ignatius' play over the final 40 minutes as awesome if far from a stretch.

The Wildcats, who made the most of their 14 shots on goal, scored their third goal off a great display of defense, speed, athleticism and power by gifted junior forward Lawrence Karpeh. It was a crowd pleaser by Lawrence, to say the least. Or, as Coach McLaughlin put it, "That's what he does."

"To be honest, I think we have one of the best defenses in the country," said Karpeh, who has the ability to fire up the faithful with his special God-given talents. "It was time for the forwards to show the defense we appreciate all of the hard work it has put in, show them what we can do also.

"The defense did a great job of encouraging us," Karpeh continued. "I think it's (the offense) here now, we just have to be consistent. We have to find a way to score goals, no excuses."

Steve Milhoan, one of the top sophomores in Ohio and one of the Cats who has been consistent offensively, capped the three goals in sixteen minutes with an authoritative tap in from the left side of the net and Saint Ignatius added the five bagger on Barsic's second goal off an assist from senior Dean Miller with just over 18 minutes remaining to be played.

Senior goalies Mikal Outcalt and Clark Gronek, two of the best in the state at their position, combined on the shutout.

****Coach Jim Brennan's junior varsity program improved to 11-0 with a 3-1 victory over Hudson's jayvees. The goal by the Explorers was the first one the JV Cats have yielded all season.


Top ranked Copley too much for Saint Ignatius, Wildcats fall to 7-2-1

By Eddie Dwyer

Copley, the No. 1 ranked team in this past week's Division I state poll by the Ohio High School Soccer Coaches Association, defeated third ranked Saint Ignatius, 2/0, on Wasmer Field Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats now stand 7/2/1 on the season and Copley improves to 10/0/1.

Up next for the Varsity Soccer Cats is Thursday night's match up with the Hudson Explorers on Wasmer Field. The 8 PM varsity match will be preceded by a six bells junior varsity game.

Wildcats are dealt their first draw of the season at Coughlin Field versus the Eagles

By Eddie Dwyer, Copyright Credit September 2014

Lakewood, Ohio: The Varsity Wildcats, who are tied for third with Beavercreek in the latest Division I state poll by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association, yielded a goal to St. Edward's senior midfielder Collin Richards off an assist from senior midfielder/forward Julian Castro with 28 minutes and five seconds remaining in the first half.

Saint Ignatius would come back to tie the score on a picture perfect header by senior standout Matt Nigro off a corner from savvy junior Hayden Parente with five minutes and 21 seconds left in the first 40 minutes.

Although the Wildcats, who now own 7 victories, a loss and a tie on the season, controlled most of the game, the state's ninth ranked Eagles found a way to protect their pitch at Coughlin Field. St. Edward currently has five victories, a loss and three ties on its 2014 slate.

The Eagles of Coach Jim Duffy got a solid performance in goal from sophomore Alex Dudley, who made seven saves, including three exceptional diving efforts.

Wednesday night's match up marked the second consecutive year that the Cats and the Eagles played to a tie in their annual regular season encounter. Last fall on Wasmer Field, the regular season tilt ended in a 2/2 tie. The teams would meet again in the district finals with St. Edward, as it did in 2012, defeating Saint Ignatius in a shootout format, 2/1.


After his Wildcats got the better of the final 28 minutes of the first half and the majority of the second half, Saint Ignatius' nationally recognized Head Varsity Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin said his Cats are still learning who they are as a team.

"Every time we play we're trying to put our stamp on the game," said Coach McLaughlin after Wednesday night's spirited 1 all tie against rival St. Edward on the Eagles' home pitch. "We did, it's just that scoring goals is hard.

"I think we controlled what we wanted to control," Coach McLaughlin continued. "We gave up an early goal and we solved that. These guys are learning what it takes to win as we get into October and November. I'm proud that we were able to come back a goal down. Anytime you come here (the Eagles' Coughlin Field) there is so much emotion involved. We talked all week about staying calm in the midst of a storm and doing what we wanted to do. And we did it.

"You have to put the ball in the back of the net, that will take us to the next level," added the man who has led his program to five OHSAA state championships and two NSCAA national titles. "But we're getting better every time we play and tonight was another step in the right direction."

Coach McLaughlin described Wednesday night's emotional and physical match up with the Eagles as his team's first real test of the season. And that includes the annual Jesuit Cup Tournament, where the Wildcats experienced their only loss thus far, 1/0 to Cincinnati St. Xavier.

"When you get later in the playoffs there is so much emotion that they never felt before until they are in it," said Coach McLaughlin. "And they got to feel it tonight. They handled it and now they realize they can play through it."

The special atmosphere on Coughlin Field started with a pregame prayer, followed by the National Anthem. The starting lineups for each team then took the pitch escorted by the sounds of a bagpipe threesome that included Saint Ignatius' highly successful Head Junior Varsity Coach Jim Brennan.

From there, the play of two of the state's best and the battle of the student bodies provided plenty of entertainment for all of the faithful in attendance.

Speaking of Coach Brennan, his undefeated JV Cats scored the first of their seven goals on an exceptional display of footwork, followed by an authoritative shot, by gifted sophomore Johnny Vrablic with 29 seconds remaining in the first half.

It was Katy Bar The Door in the second half, as Saint Ignatius scored six more times en route to the shutout victory. The JV Cats have now outscored St. Edward's jayvees by a combined total of 13/0 in their past two match ups.

Providing the offense in the second half were Adam Collins, who fired home a score that rattled the crossbar, sophomore Richie Holzheimer, who accounted for the third goal off a nice ball by Vrablic, Vrablic, who delivered again with just under 20 minutes left to be played, and sophomores Jon Popa (two goals) and Tommy Hogan.

Up next for the Varsity Soccer Cats is Saturday's match up with the state's top ranked Copley Indians on Wasmer Field. The 3 PM varsity game will be preceded by a 1 PM JV game.      





An impressive outing by all the Wildcats led to a win over Chardon

Posted by Brendan DeVenney '17

Heading in with a 6-1 record, the Wildcats had to take care of business all the way out in Chardon against the Hilltoppers at Chardon Memorial Field. 

It wasn't much of an exciting game. In the end Saint Ignatius overpowered the Hilltoppers with an 8-0 victory. The Soccer 'Cats move to 7-1-0 on the year, while Chardon falls to 2-5-1.

Goals came from Stephen Milhoan, Matt Nigro, Riley Houde, Nicholas Malik, two frrom Joseph Leonardo, and also scoring two was Bobby Barsic. 

Wildcats goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt only needed one save on the day, as the Saint Ignatius offense took care of the rest. In the secind half, Jonathan Gronek came in the goal.

It was a big win for the Wildcats, but next up is rival Saint Edward on Wednesday night on the Eagles' Coughlin Field in Lakewood. Saint Edward is coming in with a 5-1-2 record and coming off a 1-1 tie with Solon. 

Despite torrential downpour, Wildcats find a way to defeat Kenston on Wasmer Field

By Eddie Dwyer, Copyright Credit, September 2014

OHIO CITY: The goals by seniors Nick Malik and Matt Nigro came during the first half of Wednesday night's matchup with the Bombers.

With both teams battling a swirling rain that was so persistent and heavy at times that it hampered the players' vision in the second half, Coach Mike McLaughlin's Soccer Cats won for the sixth time in seven outings this season and picked up their fourth consecutive victory. Coach McLaughlin now has 317 career wins in what is Mike's 20th season as the head of his alma mater's soccer program.

The Wildcats' only setback this season came during the annual Jesuit Cup, a one goal victory by Cincinnati St. Xavier on August 23.

Kenston, which represented itself well on the Wasmer pitch, lost for just the second time in seven games. The Bombers also have a tie.

Coach Jim Brennan's Junior Varsity Wildcats remained unbeaten with a five goal shutout over Kenston's jayvees. The JV matchup was shortened because of the weather forecast, a forecast that resulted in the varsity game starting forty five minutes earlier that its scheduled 8 PM start.

In case you are wondering, what was a persistent rain turned into an outright visibility hampering downpour on the commute home.

Up next for the Soccer Cats is Saturday's trip to Chardon (1 PM JV, 3 PM Varsity) and the always highly anticipated encounter with St. Edward next Wednesday in the Eagles' pitch on Coughlin Field (Six Bells for the Jayvees and 8 PM for the Varsity).

As for tonight's victory over Kenston in a drenched Ohio City, Coach McLaughlin described it to his Wildcats as probably the best soccer they have played this season.

Controlling the time of possession throughout most of the first half, Saint Ignatius had a header by Nigro off an outstanding cross by senior JoeMack Leonardo wiped out by a penalty.

Kenston, which did a nice job early on with its defense in and around the box, scored the first goal of the night on an alert tap in by senior Harry Vossler with 22 minutes and 39 seconds remaining in the first half.

Keeping their composure, the Wildcats knotted the score on a hustle goal by Malik that went off the left post (the goalie's right) and made itself comfortable in the net with just over fifteen minutes left in the first 40 minutes.

"I've spent three years in this program and to just finally get that goal to tie it up in a big game like this, it means the world to me," said Malik of his first varsity career goal. "It was a cross off the side and then it got kicked up in the air and I just thought no one's in front of me, so I just went after it. I just kind of closed my eyes and headed it in."

With the first half approaching the 8 minute mark, Nigro fired home his difference maker on an authoritative shot from the left side.

"I was sprinting up the left wing and was trying to read the defender on a missed skip ball," Nigro said. "The ball bounced to me and I was able to kick it to the back of the net. It was a lucky ball, but I'll take it."

Saint Ignatius, which in its six victories has outscored its opponents by a total of 12 goals to 2, let its defense and the goalkeeping of University of Pittsburgh recruit Mikal Outcalt do the rest. Mikal handled two free kicks and made a save you have come to expect from one of the top keepers in the Midwest.

The Wildcats' defense, which has allowed just three goals in seven matches, including one in the loss to St. Xavier, turned away everything thrown its way in the final 40 minutes, including Mother Nature's wrath.

With the halfway mark of the regular season on the doorstep and the OHSAA post season just around the corner, Nigro and Malik laid it right on the line as to what the Soccer Cats have to do in order to achieve a record sixth boys soccer state championship.

"Stay strong on defense and finish our chances," said two young men who exude the class that has always gone hand in hand with Coach McLaughlin's nationally acclaimed program.


Stephen Milhoan's goal lifts Saint Ignatius over Twinsburg

Posted by Brendan DeVenney '17

In what was an evenly fought match, the Wildcats and Tigers were neck and neck for two full halves. Until with seconds to spare, the Twinsburg goalie gave in and sophomore Stephen Milhoan put the Wildcats on top for a 1-0 win. 

Saint Ignatius gets back at it on Wednesday when they welcome Kenston for an 8:00 match on Wasmer Field.

Wildcats bounce back to defeat the Titans in consolation match in the Jesuit Cup

Coach Mike McLaughlin's Wildcats have now won three of their first four varsity matches on the season, with all three victories coming by a shutout. The only setback came on Saturday to the Bombers from St. Xavier (see post below).

Saint Ignatius will now gear up for Wednesday's match against Padua Franciscan High School on the Bruins' home pitch. Padua has a loss and a tie in two matches this young season, losing to the Bay Rockets, 8 goals to 1, and tying the Green Wave of Holy Name, 3 all.

Posted By Eddie Dwyer


Wildcats fall to Saint Xavier in first round of Jesuit Cup

The nationally ranked 'Cats were defeated 1 goal to 0 on the pitch at Toledo St.  John's Jesuit High School. Saint Ignatius will face the Titans from St. John's on Sunday at 1 PM.

Eddie Dwyer

Varsity, Junior Varsity take down the Mustangs


Eddie Dwyer



Saint Ignatius 4, Strongsville 0

The JV Cats opened the scoring on a John Duldner header off a corner kick, with the assist from Adam Collins.

After a spirited run down the right side of the Mustang defense, Richie Holzheimer centered a pass that was struck home with authority by John Vrablic.

That ended the scoring for the 1st half.
The second half scoring began with a break-away goal by Alex Gotsky and the scoring ended with a 35 yard strike by Pat Strauss-a crowd pleasing goal with the assist credited to John Popa.
Goalies Lodge Dils and Max Heath shared in the shutout.
The game ended early with 13:44 remaining on the clock as the skies lit up at Foltz Field.
After a scorless first half, Steve Milhoan had the only goal with 34:50 to go in the second half--a long range drive over the arms of the keeper.
Saint Ignatius outshot the Mustangs, 13-2. 
The Wildcats got solid defensive work from Hunter Gordon, Jack Wiegandt, Matt Nigro, and Dean Miller.
Mikal Outcalt recorded the shutout, as he only had to make 1 save against his home town team.
Captain Bobby Barsic returned from injury, but Captain David Sisson (slight concussion) still remains sidelined.
Coach McLaughlin's Wildcats open season with a big win over Solon

By Eddie Dwyer, Copyright August 2014

Ohio City: The savvy Steve Milhoan scores the first goal of the 'Cats' 2014 season, Jack Wiegandt tallies his first varsity goal and the quick and athletic Lawrence Karpeh sends home a left footer for Saint Ignatius' third goal.

The shutout in goal goes to standout senior and George Mason recruit Clark Gronek, as the Wildcats' three center back defense and overall pressure were a bit too much for a talented Solon team.

Coach Mike McLaughlin picks up his 312th career victory in what is now his 20th season as the head of the Wildcats' nationally recognized soccer program. The triumph over the Comets was also Mike's 232nd regular season victory at his alma mater.

Here is a full story on the Soccer Cats' impressive performance, along with some varsity football news.

WASMER FIELD: Okay, it was just game one.

That said, Saint Ignatius, ranked third in the Preseason Fab Fifty ESPN RISE National Rankings, left an impression on its highly successful head coach Mike McLaughlin by shutting down what is always a very sound Solon soccer team, three zip, in Saturday's season opener for both teams.

"In the beginning part of the season, you need to dominate defensively," Coach McLaughlin said. "Things aren't fine tuned in the front third or with your offense yet. It takes weeks to get that sorted out. As a team, we have to focus on making sure that we defend hard everywhere on the field, that everyone's defending hard the moment we lose the ball. If we can defend hard and win the fifty/fifty balls, then we have a chance, we're going to be in games.

"I was really pleased with our defensive energy all over the field," Coach McLaughlin continued. "We have a bunch of creative skilled players and we'll have chances to score. The more they combine with each other, the more chances we'll have moving forward."

The three center back defense, which puts a lot of defensive responsibility on the wings or wing backs, does, said Coach McLaughlin, open up more opportunities for the Wildcats at the center of the field and up top.

Coach McLaughlin also pointed out that his team faced the Comets without two of his standouts, senior defender, captain and Davidson recruit David Sisson (slight concussion) and senior midfielder, captain and Holy Cross recruit Bobby Barsic (sore ankle).  

With its defense leading to a dominate possession time, Saint Ignatius scored its first goal on a rebound shot by sophomore midfielder Steve Milhoan with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first half and went up by two goals when senior defender Jack Wiegandt tapped in a rebound with just twenty six seconds remaining in the first half.

Credit Solon's disciplined defense for keeping the game scoreless for nearly 29 minutes.

"Lawrence (Wildcats standout junior forward Lawrence Karpeh) knocked it off the keeper and I just happened to be there," said the humble Milhoan, who is one of the top underclassmen in the area.

"Steve (Milhoan) hit the corner in, crossed it in and me and JoeMack (talented senior forward JoeMack Leonardo) were rushing near post," said Wiegandt of his goal. "I think JoeMack hit the goalie and I just tapped in on it."

Wiegandt added that he was aware his goal was the first of his varsity career.

Despite some strong efforts by Comets goalie Will Meyer, Saint Ignatius added a third goal in the late going when the strong and quick Karpeh delivered a smooth left footer off an assist from sophomore forward Riley Houde.

Getting back to the 'Cats' defense, Saint Ignatius' outstanding assistant coach, Joe Popelka, pointed out that it was big game tested junior midfielder Hayden Parente who took a header by the Comets off line and saved it. Hayden's effort preserved the shutout.

The Wildcats had 20 shots on goal and Solon had four.

"With the three in the back, it gives us more opportunities to score," Milhoan said of Saint Ignatius' new look defensively. "It gives us more chances, it's a positive."

Wiegandt, who is also a mainstay for Coach Pat O'Rourke's state and nationally recognized ice hockey program, concurs with Milhoan.

"It opens up the field more and gives the three in the back more room, more options to pass it up and allow us to attack the goal," said Wiegandt, who was an Assistant Captain on Saint Ignatius' 2014 State Champion Hockey Team.

"We have to keep the communication up, keep talking out there and keep the pressure up," Wiegandt continued in reference to the Wildcats' goal of a record sixth boys state soccer championship. "We can't let up. For all eighty minutes, just go hard."

And Milhoan couldn't agree more.

"Get our fitness level up a little bit near the end of the game, be a little more organized up top before we score and don't rush it," Milhoan said.

Up next for the Soccer Cats is Tuesday's trip to Strongsville to face the always well schooled Mustangs. Saint Ignatius senior captain and University of Pittsburgh recruit Mikal Outcalt is expected to be in goal in what is a hometown match up for Mikal.

2014 Wildcat Soccer Season Preview


OHIO CITY: Following a morning practice on Wasmer Field last week, Saint Ignatius' outstanding Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin reflected on the past two seasons and the role those outcomes could play as his Wildcats gear up for their 2014 schedule.

"Sports are emotional, they're passionate," said Coach McLaughlin as he prepares for what will be his 20th season as the director of his alma mater's soccer program. "It's a passionate part of life and so I think the more bits and pieces you can attach their emotions to, to get them fired up, the better."

The emotions, or the fire in their bellies, that the 2014 Soccer Cats will carry with them is the fact that Saint Ignatius was eliminated in the district finals the past two seasons in shootouts to West Side rival St. Edward. What made last year's District Final loss (three to two in penalty kicks) on Wasmer Field tough to swallow was that a shot by Colin Cleary '14, last season's Offensive MVP, was ruled a save when in fact it was a goal. The film on the game verified Cleary's goal and the official who made the call, one of the best the state has to offer, apologized. Many of the current Wildcats describe the official who was involved in the call as being a great official and a "great guy."   

Human error is a part of all athletic competition and the above facts are by no means a discredit to the outstanding game St. Edward played on the Wildcats' home field.

"Two years in a row, going out in a shootout to St. Eds, is definitely a huge part of the motivation for everything everybody is doing," said Coach McLaughlin, who will bring a career record of 311 victories, 44 losses and 42 ties, including 80 victories in 94 post season games, five Division I state championships, a state runner up and two national titles into Saturday's season opener versus the Solon Comets on Wasmer Field. The junior varsity action will begin at 1 PM, followed by the varsity encounter at 3. Solon played the 'Cats tough in a 2013 season opener on the Comets' home field before Saint Ignatius prevailed with two goals in a shutout victory.

"We play them (St. Edward) on Sept. 17th at their place (the pitch at Coughlin Field) and we've worked hard all off season and all summer because we don't want that to happen again," Coach McLaughlin continued. "That definitely stays with you and it's (the 2014 Wildcats) a veteran led group, a lot of seniors that have been part of it. They young kids are excited, but they didn't feel as much as some of the older kids from the last couple of years."

Helping fuel that veteran leadership will be three of the finest captains in Saint Ignatius' rich soccer history, a 38 year history that has produced an overall mark of 511-126-85.

"They're amazing kids and they're great leaders on the field," said Coach McLaughlin of senior goalie Mikal Outcalt, a University Pittsburgh recruit, senior defender and Davidson recruit David Sisson and senior midfielder and Holy Cross recruit Bobby Barsic. David was the Wildcats' Most Valuable Defender in 2013 and Bobby was the 2013 Midfield MVP.

"Our best teams have been so because we've had a great group of senior leaders," Coach McLaughlin said as he prepares his Wildcats for what could be an OHSAA record sixth boys state soccer championship. "The story remains to be told, we have to see how we finish. But it's really an exciting moment right now for the program."

Talent wise, Coach McLaughlin believes he has the players at key positions who can dominate games and that his Wildcats will score "a lot of goals this season."

That confidence is also boosted by the fact Saint Ignatius has a group of savvy senior defenders and two of the premier goalies in the state in Outcalt and fellow senior Clark Gronek.

"To really go far you have to have a big time goalkeeper, and we have two, and then you have to have a solid defense and score goals," said Coach McLaughlin. "I feel we have a lot of mature kids in those positions to do that. The talent is there, now I have to see that they're committed to working every day. There is a little grind to the season when you're going every day for three months and if they show that they love to go out there every day and battle, then that's the extra piece that will take us to where we want to go."


MIKAL OUTCALT: "From now on whenever we play St. Eds everyone is going to remember that goal. We have a lot of returning guys, so it's pretty much no excuses. We know our goal and we've known it for awhile now. Everyone realizes what we need to do and now it's just a matter of doing it. When we were freshmen we won a state championship and as seniors we have to show these underclassmen how to get that back.

"People are doubting us after the last two years and now it's our goal to show everyone that Saint Ignatius is still a big powerhouse in the state. We have our whole backline returning, me and Clark at goalie, Dave (Sisson), Matt Nigro, Jack Wiegandt and Hunter Gordon, so we really have no changes there and we're not expecting to give up anything. And up top, in the attack part of it, pretty much anyone we put up there can do something on their own, something special.

"We have a lot of weapons and all of the younger guys are good enough to be impact players. We just need to keep talking and stay on the same page. And Lawrence (gifted junior forward Lawrence Karpeh) and JoeMack (multi skilled senior midfielder JoeMack Leonardo) have to stay healthy.  

"We're excited for it (a season in which many will regard Saint Ignatius as the team to be in the state). There's a new fire in us that hasn't been around for awhile. All summer long we've been champing at the bit to get back to practice."

BOBBY BARSIC: "With the amount of seniors we have, along with just the whole concept of us being more than a team, we're almost like a family out there, I think this year we're going to give it our all every minute and every second of every game. We don't want to even get to that situation again (overtimes, shootouts and PKs). We want to finish strong and win in regulation.

"I think we have one of the best, if not the best backline in the state. All of them are very strong players. As for our midfield, there is no question that even though Stephen (Milhoan) is just going to be a sophomore and Hayden (Parente) is just going to be a junior, we're going to be very dominant in there as well.

"Offensively, we just have to get more numbers going in the attack. Last year one or two people tried doing it on their own. We have to combine more when we get to the offensive third of the field, crossing more and getting numbers into the box."   

DAVID SISSON: "I think we're the team to beat after the heartbreak of two years of losing to your rival. For the seniors who experienced it there is not much else, it is a real motivator to go hard right from the beginning of the season. There's not much else that is as inspiring to play hard as losing emotionally. We don't want to go through that again.

"There is nothing else to blame it on, this is our (the seniors) last chance. There is a lot of fight in us. We're going to go after the fifty/fifty balls and the second and third ball. As talented as you can be, there is still the aspect of how much do you really want to win it.

"Finishing," said David when asked about an area that the deep and flexible 2014 Wildcats have to improve on. "We always have and do have good forwards, but they never took shots last year, it seemed like. When they did it was wide or something happened. We would always seem to get where we needed to get to shoot and then we wouldn't shoot. We would take another touch or do something we didn't need to. 

"Get hungry for the goals. That's how you win the games."

*For a complete look at the Wildcats' 2014 schedule, go to, click on athletics and click on soccer.

Fall Soccer Tryout Information

Tryouts Begin Monday, August 4.  Sophomores - Seniors from 8 - 11 a.m.  Freshman from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.  All Tryouts on Wasmer Field.

Contact Coach McLaughlin with any questions --

Outcalt to become a Panther

Posted By Eddie Dwyer

Saint Ignatius' outstanding soccer goal keeper Mikal Outcalt '15 shared with the corner on Monday night that he will be furthering his education and soccer career at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mikal, who will be entering his third season this summer as a mainstay for Coach Mike McLaughlin's state and nationally acclaimed soccer program, is not only one of the top keepers in the state, but the entire Midwest. He brings size, savvy and athleticism to his vital position.

At 6-foot-4, Mikal is also a key member of Coach Sean O'Toole's varsity basketball team as a post/forward.

The University of Pittsburgh is not only getting an exceptional student/athlete, but a standout young man as well.

Congratulations to Mikal, his family, Coach McLaughlin '85 and the entire Saint Ignatius Soccer Program.



High School Summer Team Camp

High School Summer Team Camp -- for incoming freshmen - seniors CLICK HERE

Justin Morrow blooming closer to his Saint Ignatius roots

Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow '05 was featured in Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is shining in Major League Soccer with some of the nations best. 

Here is the story by Tim Warsinskey: Major League Soccer: Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow blooming closer to his St. Ignatius roots |

Soccer Alumn Vaughn Spurrier Still Shining

Saint Ignatius alumn and former soccer player Vaughn Spurrier is shining at Temple as a soccer star, but also in the classroom. As a result he is being rewarded for his collegiate success. Read the story per American Athletic Conference here:

Saint Ignatius High School Team Camp Information

Coming Soon...

July 14 - 18, 2014 at Saint Ignatius High School from 9 - 11:30 a.m.

Saint Ignatius Youth Summer Soccer Camps

CLICK HERE for the registration form for the 2014 Saint Ignatius Summer Soccer Camps.   The coaching staff is excited once again to provide your child with an enjoyable and competitive summer soccer camp experience.

This summer we will be focusing on the excitement of the World Cup.  We will be sharing with the campers the traditions, language, and interesting facts of the 32 participating countries. Daily prizes will include replica World Cup jerseys, flags, and the usual Saint Ignatius wear.

We will also be spending time working on the critical elements of sportsmanship, character development, and the importance of being your best in everything you do.

Also this summer, for the first time, we will be offering an Advanced Level Camp at the July 14-18 Camp for 5th-8th graders at Saint Ignatius High School.  The camp will be staffed by Dutch National KNVB Coaches, who are coming in from Holland for the summer to work with the youth campers, as well as with the Saint Ignatius High School soccer program.  Of course the campers will also be coached by players past and present from the Saint Ignatius soccer program.