2010 WILDCAT SOCCER PRESENTED BY HEAD COACH MIKE MCLAUGHLIN AND HIS STAFF
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 8/10/10.
With the pain of a disappointing finish in the state championship game last fall (a 1-0, 4-3 shootout victory by Gahanna Lincoln) transformed into a firm determination to avenge the loss, this year’s Wildcat Soccer team is poised to make another run at the state title.
Typical of the ‘Cats in all sports, the soccer team dodges no one in the regular season and will take on the best competition the state, and region, have to offer.
Within the first week of the season the team will look to defend its Ohio Jesuit Cup championship in Toledo against perennial rivals Walsh Jesuit, St. Xavier and St. John’s Jesuit. Later in September the Wildcats will travel to Indianapolis for the Brebuf Jesuit Tournament, where they will face St Louis University High School and Louisville St. Xavier. Pennsylvania’s Erie Cathedral Prep will visit Wasmer renewing a rivalry which dates back to the ‘90’s.
Closer to home the Ignatius side will face their traditional rivals and playoff opponents Strongsville, St. Edward and Massillon Jackson.
A tough schedule indeed, made more difficult by the graduation of 13 of last year’s seniors. But this year’s senior class is more than ready for the challenge.
Led by Luke Blades, Ryan Ivancic, Yanni Saris, Greg Kurtz, Cody Dawson and Matt Petrella, the seniors are prepared to take up the mantle of leadership. They will be supported by a talented group of underclassmen headed by juniors Zach Martin, Matt Foldesy and Brendan Cash, and sophomores Ty Sanda and Nate Fahey.
The last several years have been characterized by the best fan support in the area from the student body and the wider community. The players and coaches ask for your continued support and in return promise to play some of the best, most entertaining, competitive soccer in the state.
Coach McLaughlin ’85 is assisted by Danny Crew ’99, Mark Blades ’06, Joe Popelka ’84, Jim Brennan ’85, Tara Henderson, and Paul Kobe ’79.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY SOCCER RECAP.
POSTED ON 8/26/10 AT 12:57 A.M.
A GREAT START TO A NEW SEASON AND A VARSITY CAREER.
MATT FOLDESY'S MEMORABLE NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS A DOMINANT PERFORMANCE BY COACH MIKE MCLAUGHLIN'S WILDCATS.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, August 2010
As a full moon was making a glowing appearance near the Lorain Avenue goal in Wasmer Field on Wednesday night, Saint Ignatius' soccer team was putting the finishing touches on a performance of starlight proportions.
And no one shined brighter than Wildcats' junior forward Matt Foldesy.
Foldesy, playing in his first varsity high school game, scored four goals in helping Saint Ignatius to an 8-0 victory over University School in the season opener for both teams.
In putting together an impressive display of relentless defense and attacking, yet unselfish offense, the Wildcats showed everyone in attendance why they are again ranked among the nation's best, why ESPN Rise chose them as one of the Top 5 teams of the decade and why they continue to be a program that will make a serious run for state laurels every season.
“I didn't realize it was as strong as it is,” said a smiling Foldesy, referring to his left foot, which produced two of his goals. “I'm a right-footed player. Fifty-fifty, so not bad, not bad.”
Saint Ignatius head coach Mike McLaughlin '85 couldn't find anything bad about his team's opening-night effort, as the Wildcats ran, passed and defended their way to a 3-0 lead by halftime.
Junior defender Zach Martin got the offensive fire started by scoring off an impressive header with just six minutes and 14 seconds gone in the first half.
Controlling the field and the time of possession, Saint Ignatius made it 2-0 on Foldesy's first varsity goal at the 17:57 mark and, just 28 seconds later, sophomore forward Tyler Sanda tallied the 'Cats' third goal.
The first half also featured an outstanding save by junior goalkeeper Brendan Cash, who dove full extension to his left and, with one hand, knocked away a shot by University School's senior midfielder and captain Tom Poplar, who was coming full speed on a breakaway.
“Completely reaction,” said Cash. “He shot it and I figured I got to go for this, because I don't want to give up a goal in the first game. So I went all out and luckily I was able to get my hand on it. It wasn't as clean as I would have liked, but we'll take a save.”
It was Foldesy's show for most of the second half, as he came up with his second and third goals in a span of less than two minutes. After sophomore defender Nate Fahey made the score 6-0, Foldesy rocketed home number four with 25:46 remaining to be played.
Senior midfielder Phillip Buzzelli finished off the eight is great night by scoring with 14 seconds left.
“You have to play with an energy, an excitement and a passion,” said Coach McLaughlin, who has guided the Wildcats to three Division I state championships (2004, '05 and '08), a national championship in 2005 and a state runner-up finish last season. “We wanted to do that from the first moment of the game, and we did.
“We want to try to dominate teams, when we have the ball and we don't have the ball. And we did it for 80 minutes. And that's the first game of the season, so you hope it is going to be there and you hope that we can keep it tuned in like that for 80 minutes. Because we didn't do that in the preseason for 80 full minutes.”
And what did the coach think of Foldesy's dream night?
“We're going to set up and try to create things as a team and do things as a group,” Coach McLaughlin said. “But then when you get an individual who can do things special by himself, nothing matches tonight. That's a game changer, a difference maker. It was nice to see him out on the field.”
The Wildcats will now gear up for the annual Jesuit Cup Tournament, which will be played on Saturday and Sunday at Toldeo St. John's Jesuit High School.
WILDCATS SOCCER TEAM LAYS DOWN THE D AND YIANNI SARRIS TAKES CARE OF THE OFFENSE.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 8/29/10.
Coach Mike McLaughlin's varsity soccer team came up with another outstanding defensive effort on Saturday, as the Wildcats defeated host Toledo St. John's Jesuit, 2-0, in the first round of the Jesuit Cup Tournament.
After blanking University School, 8-0, in the season opener on Wednesday and allowing the Preppers just four shots on goal, the 'Cats limited the Titans to three shots against junior goaltender Brendan Cash.
Senior midfielder and co-captain Yianni Sarris accounted for both goals on Saturday, including an authoritative 20-yard free kick with 20 minutes remaining in the second half.
YIANNI SARRIS SHOWS THE WAY TO ANOTHER JESUIT CUP TITLE.
RYAN IVANCIC AND CODY DAWSON ALSO FIND THE NET, AS COACH MIKE MCLAUGHLIN'S VARSITY SOCCER TEAM DEFEATS WALSH JESUIT IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND IMPROVES TO 3-0.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 8/29/10 AT 7:40 P.M.
Did someone ask Yianni Sarris what he was going to do for an encore on Sunday afternoon?
After accounting for both goals in Saturday's shutout victory over Toledo St. John's Jesuit in the semifinals, Sarris put together another solid all-around performance in leading Saint Ignatius to a 3-1 victory over Walsh Jesuit in Toledo.
With the triumph over the Warriors, Coach Mike McLaughlin '85 and his nationally ranked varsity soccer team successfully defended their Jesuit Cup Tournament Championship.
Sarris, a senior midfielder and co-captain, completed his big weekend with a goal and two assists against Walsh.
Senior co-captain and midfielder Ryan Ivancic scored his first goal of the young season off a pass from Sarris, and senior defender/midfielder Cody Dawson tallied his first varsity goal courtesy of a throw in by Sarris.
Coach McLaughlin's Wildcats will now prepare for their Labor Day Weekend trip to Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, Indiana. The trip will feature a game against Louisville St. Xavier on Friday at 6 p.m., and a matchup with St. Louis University High School on Saturday at 11 a.m.
VARSITY SOCCER TEAM LAYS DOWN THE "D" IN INDIANAPOLIS.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 9/4/10.
Congratulations go out to Coach Mike McLaughlin's varsity soccer team, which traveled to Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis (Ind.) this weekend and came away with two hard-fought, impressive victories.
The Wildcats, ranked fourth in the nation, defeated 37th-ranked Saint Louis University High School, 1-0, on Friday night as senior midfielder and co-captain Luke Blades provided the goal. Blades is a Davidson recruit.
On Saturday morning, the 'Cats registered another 1-0 triumph, this time over 30th-ranked Louisville Saint Xavier. Senior defender Greg Kurtz found the net off an assist from Blades.
Saint Ignatius (5-0), one of the premier defensive teams in the nation, got another solid performance from junior goalkeeper Brendan Cash in recording its third and fourth shutouts of the season.
Up next for Coach McLaughlin '85 and Co. will be a high noon showdown at Dublin Jerome on September 11th. The 'Cats' next home game is Sept. 16th against Hudson at Cleveland State University. It will be an 8 p.m. start.
NO ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN.
WILDCATS VARSITY SOCCER TEAM STRIKES EARLY AND GOES ON TO SHUT OUT THE CELTICS.
POSTED ON 9/11/10.
Continuing its outstanding play on defense, the nationally ranked Saint Ignatius varsity soccer team defeated host Dublin Jerome, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon in a matchup of two of the top five programs in Ohio.
Coach Mike McLaughlin's Wildcats scored twice in the early going, as sophomore forward Tyler Sanda made it 1-0 and a cross by senior co-captain and midfielder Ryan Ivancic found the net after being directed that way by a Jerome defender. Saint Ignatius closed out the scoring in the second half when senior co-captain and midfielder Yianni Sarris tallied his fourth goal of the young season.
The Wildcats (6-0), who have outscored their opponents, 18-1, got another solid performance in goal by junior Brendan Cash. Jerome slipped to 3-2-1.
Saint Ignatius will take on the Hudson Explorers on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Cleveland State University.
SAINT IGNATIUS VERSUS HUDSON VARSITY SOCCER RECAP.
THE WILDCATS TURN BACK THE FIRED UP AND UNDERRATED EXPLORERS.
RYAN IVANCIC AND MATT FOLDESY KICK IT HOME, AS THE 'CATS IMPROVE TO 7-0.
POSTED ON 9/17/10 AT 12:47 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
As the rain and wind were swirling across Cleveland State University's Krenzler Field late Thursday night, Saint Ignatius head coach Mike McLaughlin '85 summed up the previous 80 minutes in a right-on-the-money, no excuses manner.
“In a game, you are going to get chances,” said Coach McLaughlin after his Wildcats varsity soccer team defeated the Hudson Explorers, 2-1. “And if you don't put those chances away, especially early on, it's going to be a difficult game. That's a good Hudson team. They were really good.
“We knew they were going to get their chances, too, especially on a sloppy night when you expect there will be crazy things happening in the back. But we got the win, your learn from things and we walk away from this realizing that we're human beings and we have to work.”
The opportunities came early and often for Coach McLaughlin's team in the first 40 minutes, but only a strong follow by senior midfielder and co-captain Ryan Ivancic hit home at the 25:32 mark of the first half.
It stayed that way until junior forward Matt Foldesy fired his fifth goal of the season into the net off some clever footwork. Foldesy's effort came with less than six minutes gone in the second half.
It was pretty much an aggressive defensive struggle for the next 26 minutes, before junior midfielder Ike Pouliot put the Explorers on the right path by scoring with 8 minutes and 8 seconds remaining. Hudson is a team much stronger than its 2-2-2 record would indicate.
Saint Ignatius (7-0), which has now outscored its opponents, 20-2, entered the game ranked third in the POWERADE ESPN RISE FAB 50 national team rankings and second in the state coaches' poll.
Thursday night's encounter featured a Hudson program that produced a state and national champion in 2002 and a Coach McLaughlin-led Wildcats program that has won three state championships – 2004, '05 and '08 – a national crown in '05 and was a state runner-up last season.
“I like these games in a way, because they are humbling for us,” Coach McLaughlin said. “They make us realize that you can't take anything for granted.
“I'm pleased that we were able to play with a new lineup. Zach Martin (junior defender) didn't play tonight because he has mononucleosis. So we dealt with the things that made the night difficult and got through with the win.”
Up next for the 'Cats is Mentor (5-3-1), which pays a visit to Saint Ignatius' Wasmer Field on Saturday at 3 p.m.
SAINT IGNATIUS SOCCER DEFEATS MENTOR
POSTED ON 9/19/10 AT 4:37 A.M.
Congratulations go out to Saint Ignatius head varsity soccer coach Mike McLaughlin '85, who picked up his 250th career victory as his Wildcats defeated Mentor, 9-0, on Saturday afternoon in Wasmer Field.
Saint Ignatius (8-0), the nation's third-ranked team, got goals from junior Matt Foldesy, sophomore Tyler Sanda and seniors Luke Blades and Ryan Ivancic during an 18-minute stretch of the first half.
Senior co-captain Yianni Sarris scored three times in the second half as the 'Cats left no doubt. It was Yianni's first career hat trick. Saint Ignatius has now outscored its opponents, 29-2. Mentor slipped to 5-4-1 on the season.
'CATS' SOCCER TEAM GETS A SCARE IN MASSILLON
POSTED ON 9/25/10 AT 11:54 P.M.
Trailing at halftime, the nation's third-ranked soccer team displayed its savvy and skill down the stretch and went on to defeat the upset-minded Jackson Polar Bears, 2-1, on Saturday night.
Taking control of the final eight minutes, Coach Mike McLaughlin's Saint Ignatius Wildcats tied the score on a goal by senior defender Greg Kurtz and, with just 14 seconds remaining, junior forward Matt Foldesy sent home his eighth goal of the season. Foldesy's game-winner ties him with senior midfielder Yianni Sarris for the team lead.
Up next for the 10-0 Wildcats is Tuesday's encounter with the Twinsburg Tigers at 8 p.m. on Wasmer Field.
TWINSBURG VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY SOCCER RECAP.
MATT FOLDESY CONTINUES TO SPARK THE OFFENSE.
'CATS TAME THE TIGERS IN THE SECOND HALF AND IMPROVE TO 11-0.
POSTED ON 9/29/10 AT 12:46 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Sept./Oct. 2010
Matt Foldesy is going to tally many memorable goals before his soccer career at Saint Ignatius comes to an end.
It's a good bet, however, that the gifted junior forward will always remember the Wildcats' past two games, and the mark he left on both of them
Foldesy, who scored the game-winner with 14 seconds remaining in a thrilling victory at Massillon Jackson on Saturday night, returned to his home turf on a rainy Tuesday evening and again took command.
Saint Ignatius, with Foldesy scoring the 'Cats' second and third goals, broke open a game that was tied at halftime and went on to defeat the hungry-for-an-upset Twinsburg Tigers, 4-1, on Wasmer Field.
The Wildcats, ranked third in the Powerade ESPN Rise Fab 50 national poll, improved to 11-0 and have now outscored their opponents, 38-4.
“Definitely, it's a team effort,” said Foldesy, after he tallied his team-leading 9th and 10th goals of the season. “If my teammates aren't out there, I don't get those chances. They find me in good spots. The Jackson goal was memorable for sure, just looking up at the clock you never score with 14 seconds left in an outdoor game.
“You have to put it all out there for the team, because you remember how heartbroken they were last year (after a 1-0 shoot-out loss to Gahanna Lincoln in the state championship game),” Foldesy continued, emphasizing that his purpose is to help the seniors reach the championship game again.
Saint Ignatius had plenty of chances in the early going on Tuesday night, before senior midfielder and Davidson recruit Luke Blades made it 1-0 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Twinsburg (4-2-5), which got an outstanding effort in goal by the versatile Jacob Russel, did a nice job of crashing the net as a team in tying the score late in the first half.
“He's a special player,” said Wildcats coach Mike McLaughlin '85 of Foldesy, who is a son of former St. Edward High School and Cleveland State University All-American and Hall of Fame wrestler Dan Foldesy. “He can do things with the ball that are enjoyable to watch. He's tricky and a good finisher.
“It was hard tonight. That's a team (Twinsburg) that is really well organized and they haven't let up too many goals this year. I think the most they let up in a game was two (at Strongsville). So to put four on them was a good thing.
"But we had to work for it. Their goalkeeper is one of the better goalies in the state.”
With the Tigers riding the momentum of their game-tying goal, it was imperative for Coach McLaughlin's team to regain control in the second half.
And no Wildcat realized that more than Foldesy, who scored the go-ahead goal at the 17:22 mark of the second half and less than a minute later made it 3-1 with an authoritative shot off the hustle of senior midfielder Ryan Ivancic.
Saint Ignatius left no doubt, as junior forward Preston Spurrier scored with 1:59 to go.
“Ryan (Ivancic) and Luke (Blades) on the wings. When we throw them both out there, they run the whole field,” Foldesy said. “They're constantly running by me. They work hard in practice, they're great captains and they get us going. Yeah, they're awesome guys. I have a lot of respect for them.”
Ivancic's hustle didn't go unnoticed by the soccer-savvy Mark Szwejkowski '11 and Mike Watts '11 of the Saint Ignatius Broadcasting Club, or the eyes of one of the top coaches in the nation.
“Usually you get a kid who works hard, but maybe he doesn't have great skill, or has great skill and doesn't work hard,” McLaughlin said. “But Ryan is a great combination of skill and work ethic. He's that way in the classroom, he's that way in everything he does.”
LINE OF THE NIGHT: It came off the colorful commentary of Mark Szwejkowski, who described multi-skilled senior defender Greg Kurtz as the "Swiss Army Knife" of the team.
THE WILDCATS' VARSITY SOCCER TEAM MOVES TO 12-0.
RYAN IVANCIC AND MATT FOLDESY SET THE TONE AS THE 'CATS SOLVE THE RANGERS' TALENTED GOALIE KYLE SHOCKEY.
POSTED ON 10/3/10 AT 12:22 A.M.
Not even Mother Nature's adverse conditions could dampen the spirits of the nation's third-ranked soccer team on Saturday afternoon, as the Saint Ignatius Wildcats splashed through a torn field and shredded the nets for a 5-0 victory at Eastlake North.
In helping their team improve to 12-0, senior captain Ryan Ivancic and red-hot junior Matt Foldesy staked the 'Cats to a 2-0 lead in the first half. It was Ivancic's fourth goal on the year and Foldesy sent home his team-leading 11th score of the season.
North goalie Kyle Shockey rebounded from the early assault and was outstanding for the better part of sixty minutes. However, Saint Ignatius was able to take command down the stretch on goals by Nate Fahey, Preston Spurrier and Nick Shreve (a header). Junior goalkeeper Jackson Morgan recorded the shutout in what was his first varsity start.
Heading into Tuesday's home matchup with North Royalton, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents, 43-4.
Mike Watts '11 and Mark Szwejkowski '1 , whose kick-by kick and color commentary would bring a smile of approval from John Harkes, will provide live audio and video coverage of Tuesday's 8 p.m. encounter with the Bears.
NORTH ROYALTON VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY SOCCER RECAP.
SETTING THE TONE EARLY.
WILDCATS DOMINATE THE FIRST HALF AGAINST THE BEARS AND THEN REST THE STARTERS IN PREPARATION FOR SATURDAY'S REGULAR-SEASON SHOWDOWN AT STRONGSVILLE.
STORY POSTED ON 10/6/10 AT 12:56 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Oct. 2010
For the past few games, Saint Ignatius' veteran soccer coach Mike McLaughlin '85 has urged his team to come out strong and take advantage of the early opportunities.
Tuesday night on Wasmer Field it was mission accomplished, as the skilled and savvy Wildcats dominated the first 40 minutes and cleared their bench in the second half of a 5-1 victory over the Bears from North Royalton.
Ignoring the brisk and tricky winds that accompanied a cold, swirling rain, the nation's second-ranked team by ESPN Rise improved to 13-0. It is a mark that has seen the 'Cats post eight shutouts and outscore their opponents, 48-5.
In what senior midfielder and co-captain Ryan Ivancic described as putting the foot on the pedal, Saint Ignatius took a 1-0 lead with the game less than four minutes old. Senior co-captain and midfielder Yianni Sarris did the honors by scoring his ninth goal of the season off a corner.
The Wildcats, who travel to Strongsville (9-1-2) on Saturday for a 5 p.m. matchup with the program they defeated, 1-0, in last year's state semifinals at Rocky River, continued to control the Bears at both ends of the field.
Junior defender Zach Martin rocketed home a penalty kick at the 26:12 mark of the first half, senior co-captain and midfielder Luke Blades shook the net off a free kick at 10:13 and less than a minute later, Ivancic scored his fifth goal of 2010 off a pass from Sarris.
Gifted junior forward Matt Foldesy closed out what was a 40-minute clinic with his team-leading 12th goal of the season. It came with just over four minutes remaining in the half.
North Royalton (5-5-2), which was coming off a 4-0 loss to Strongsville and a 2-0 setback to Medina, got on the board in the second half when senior Brian Beckrest found the back of the net at 17:27.
Among those braving the damp conditions at Wasmer Field were Strongsville's highly successful coach Tobey Cook and more than a few of his Mustangs.
As for the 'Cats, who finished as the Division I state runner-up to Gahanna Lincoln last season, they realize there is little time to savor the triumph over the Bears.
And, although they follow the weekly polls, rankings are, said Ivancic, something that need to be put in the proper perspective.
“We do pay attention to it,” said the young man with the endless hustle. “But we have to act like we've been here before. We are aware of it (the rankings), but we're not obsessed over it. Our team goal is a national championship.”
Fans attending Saturday's game at Strongsville are encouraged to arrive early. As part of the Mustangs' pre-game, Bullseye Activewear will be supplying rally spirit towels to the first 150 people to enter the game. Saint Ignatius leads the all-time series, 14-9-6, and the 'Cats and the 'Stangs are 2-2 in postseason encounters.
“It will be a huge game,” said Coach McLaughlin. “Can't wait to battle.”
SAINT IGNATIUS DEFEATS STRONGSVILLE
POSTED ON 10/10/2010 AT 3:18 A.M.
Ranked second in the nation by ESPN Rise, Saint Ignatius' varsity soccer team shook off some early offensive threats by the host Strongsville Mustangs and went on to a 4-1 victory on Saturday evening.
The Wildcats (14-0) took a 1-0 lead on an authoritative 12-footer by sophomore Tyler Sanda off a mis-defended corner and pushed their advantage to 2-0 on a goal by senior co-captain Yianni Sarris. It was Yianni's 10th goal of 2010.
Saint Ignatius took command in the final 10 minutes, as junior Matt Foldesy delivered his team-leading 13th net finder and Sanda followed with his second goal of the night. Strongsville is 10-2-2.
Up next for the 'Cats is Tuesday's 8 p.m. encounter with the Padua Bruins on Wasmer Field. The Wildcats will enter the game having outscored their opponents, 52-6.
PADUA VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY SOCCER RECAP.
POSTED ON 10/13/10 AT 12:46 A.M.
A STUDY IN PERSEVERANCE.
NOAH TOUMERT HAS A NIGHT TO CHERISH, AS THE NATIONALLY RANKED WILDCATS IMPROVE TO 15-0.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Oct. 2010
It was getting late on Tuesday night and some of the lights in Wasmer Field were being dimmed.
Nothing, however, could faint the brightness that accompanied Noah Toumert's every word.
Toumert, who experienced a season of frustration in 2009, sparked a dominant second half by Saint Ignatius' reserves and put a special seal on the Wildcats' 8-0 varsity soccer triumph over the Padua Bruins.
Entering the game with one goal this fall, Toumert came up with a hat trick in a final 40 minutes that saw the Wildcats score five goals and display the depth that has helped them to a second-place ranking in the nation by both the Coaches' poll and the ESPN Rise Fab 50.
Saint Ignatius (15-0), the No. 1 team in Ohio in Division I, will look to wrap up its third perfect regular season in six years when it welcomes Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep to Wasmer Field on Saturday at high noon.
The 'Cats experienced perfection in 2005, the year they brought home a national championship. Last year, before finishing as the big-school state runner-up, Saint Ignatius put together an unblemished regular-season campaign.
And no Wildcat recalls last season more vividly than Toumert.
“This definitely means a lot,” said the junior forward from Gesu. “Last year I was out all season with an injury. I had shin splints. This year coming out I worked really hard to get on to the team.
“It's awesome just to be on the team. To come out and be able to do something like this, I mean scoring goals is what I am supposed to do. And now that I can get the chance, it is just awesome.”
Although a young Padua team had some early defensive moments that it can build on for the future, Saint Ignatius' savvy and skilled starters eventually broke down what was in front of them.
Sophomore forward Tyler Sanda, who came up with two goals in Saturday's highly publicized 4-1 victory at Strongsville, gave his team a 1-0 lead by sending home his sixth goal of the season at the 22:41 mark of the first half.
The Wildcats made it 2-0 on a goal by sophomore defender Nate Fahey off a picture-perfect pass from senior midfielder and co-captain Ryan Ivancic with 17:54 remaining in the first 40 minutes.
After recording his team-leading eighth assist of the season, Ivancic beat the goalie for his sixth goal of 2010 with just over 9 minutes left in the first half.
Saint Ignatius coach Mike McLaughlin '85 went to his bench at the start of the second half and Toumert and Co. didn't disappoint.
Off some nice footwork and endless hustle, Toumert scored via an assist from freshman midfielder Alec Nagucki eight minutes into the second half. Toumert scored again at 23:04 and, after just missing the net on some other efforts, he completed his memorable and brisk October night by recording his hat trick with 1:14 left to be played.
Gifted junior forward Preston Spurrier sandwiched two goals around Toumert's third net finder, a rocket at 5:58 and the eighth goal with 50 seconds on the clock.
With a smile that was as big as his energy, Toumert spoke of the lasting influence Ivancic and the Wildcats' other senior captains – Yianni Sarris and Luke Blades – have had on his comeback season.
“You can tell just by watching them that they know the game far better than anyone I have ever played with,” Toumert said. “They're all great leaders, so they get our team riled up. You can tell by the score that we came out to win this one. It's awesome just playing with this team atmosphere.”
And that take-charge atmosphere was just what Coach McLaughlin was looking for, especially coming off Saturday's highly touted encounter in Strongsville.
“I thought they (Padua) came out really organized,” said the veteran coach. “They defended well and their goalkeeper made some key saves early on. Our big concern was coming off of Strongsville, the energy that it took to get up to do that (the 4-1 victory over the Mustangs). But right from the get-go we were getting at it tonight. We played good defense, created chances and put them away.
“And I'm pleased that the reserves were able to score more than the starters, thanks to Noah Toumert.”
Padua, which is coached by former Saint Ignatius assistant, Roman “Peanuts” Hubach, stands 5-7-3 on the season.
The Wildcats will enter Saturday's regular-season finale having outscored their opponents, 60-6. It is a mark that includes nine shutouts.
ERIE CATHEDRAL PREP VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY SOCCER RECAP.
WILDCATS TREAT THEIR PARENTS-DAY CROWD TO ANOTHER PERFECT REGULAR SEASON.
A THREE-GOAL SPAN IN THE FIRST HALF HELPS FUEL A VICTORY OVER THE AGGRESSIVE RAMBLERS.
TOURNAMENT PLAY BEGINS ON THURSDAY NIGHT.
POSTED ON 10/16/10 AT 4:37 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, October 2010
Saint Ignatius' standout junior forward Matt Foldesy said it is something he and his teammates wanted to do and knew they were capable of accomplishing.
Their ultimate goals, however, are still in front of them.
The Wildcats, fueled by first-half net finders from sophomore forward Tyler Sanda, Foldesy and senior midfielder and co-captain Luke Blades, turned back the Ramblers from Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep, 7-2, on a picture-perfect Saturday fall afternoon.
And perfect was the operative word of the day, as Coach Mike McLaughlin's soccer 'Cats completed the third undefeated regular season in the program's rich history.
Saint Ignatius, ranked second in the nation in both the Coaches' Poll and the ESPN Rise Fab 50, will take a record of 16-0-0 into Thursday's sectional finals. The 'Cats will face the winner of the semifinal matchup between John Marshall and Rhodes on Wasmer Field at 7 p.m.
In sending Cathedral Prep home with just its third loss in 14 games, the 2010 Wildcats join Coach McLaughlin's national-championship team of 2005 and last year's state runner-up squad in achieving an unblemished regular-season mark.
“If you come to practice and work hard every day, good things happen,” said Foldesy, who led the 'Cats in the regular season with 15 goals, including two on Saturday. “Hopefully we'll keep this momentum going all through the playoffs.”
Saint Ignatius, which is looking to erase the memory of last year's 2-1, shoot-out loss to Gahanna Lincoln in the state championship game, found itself in a battle with the Ramblers in the early going.
Locked in a 1-1 tie, Ohio's No.1-ranked program took the lead on a smooth shot by Sanda into the right corner of the net with 15:56 remaining to be played in the first half. It was Ty's seventh goal of the season.
Three minutes and 13 second later, Foldesy stepped up and, off some clever footwork, sent home an authoritative shot for a 3-1 lead.
Saint Ignatius' colorful and informative play-by-play broadcaster Mike Watts '11 had just described Blades as being exceptional off the free kick when Luke, a Davidson recruit, rocketed home a 30-yard blur past the goalkeeper. It was an effort that allowed the 'Cats to take a 4-1 advantage into halftime.
Foldesy, a son of former St. Edward and Cleveland State University All-American and Hall of Fame wrestler Dan Foldesy, slapped home his 15th goal with the second half less than a minute old.
Junior forward Noah Toumert, who was coming off a hat trick against Padua on Tuesday night, scored his fifth goal of the season on a nice follow at the 33:39 mark, and sophomore defender Nate Fahey tallied his second goal of the game off a header with 25:13 left to be played.
In what was a physical second half, Cathedral Prep (10-3-1) became the only team to score more than one goal against the Wildcats in the regular season, as Ramblers senior midfielder Max Lorei found the net off a text-book shot at the 23:24 mark. Saint Ignatius outscored its regular-season opponents, 67-8.
“They're big boys and they're from Pennsylvania,” said a smiling Foldesy, as his response to the physicality of the game had a touch of the Browns-Steelers rivalry. “We knew they were going to be good. We came out a little shaky in the first 10 minutes, but after that we started moving the ball, started battling and all was good.”
And Coach McLaughlin '85 is looking for everything to remain good over the next four weeks.
“I'm extremely proud of this year's team,” said the veteran coach. “Soccer is one of those games where it's difficult to be perfect. So many things happen in the game of soccer – bad bounces, bad weather and tough opponents, too.
“And I think this year we played the most difficult regular-season schedule in the history of our program. I'm proud of our players for maintaining the focus, for coming hard to practice and coming hard for every game.”
JOHN MARSHALL VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS SECTIONAL-FINAL SOCCER RECAP.
A TOUCH OF CLASS.
WILDCATS TURN TO THE RESERVES EARLY IN MAKING THEIR CASE AGAINST THE LAWYERS.
TEN DIFFERENT PLAYERS SCORE AS THE 'CATS MOVE ON TO DISTRICT PLAY.
POSTED ON 10/21/10 AT 11:36 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, October 2010
In what was a display of class and sportsmanship by Saint Ignatius head coach Mike McLaughlin '85 and his Wildcats, the state's top-ranked Division I soccer team defeated John Marshall, 10-0, on Thursday night in a sectional-final game at Wasmer Field.
Saint Ignatius (17-0), which is ranked among the nation's elite programs, took a 1-0 lead on senior co-captain Ryan Ivancic's seventh goal of the season with the game just 54 seconds old. From there, Coach McLaughlin worked in his reserves.
Only one other veteran scored for the Wildcats, as senior co-captain Yianni Sarris found the net off a picture-picture header for his 11th goal of the season. Yianni's effort came off a slick pass from senior co-captain Luke Blades and pushed Saint Ignatius' lead to 4-0 with six minutes gone in the first half.
Eight Wildcats tallied their first varsity goal and freshman goal keeper Max Hallwachs walked away with a shutout in his first start on the varsity level.
Sending home their memorable net finders were Nick Bashour, Matt Patrella, Max Pathroff, Jackson Morgan, Brendan Cash, Jay Jackson, Dominic Gibbons and Nick Taljan. Cash and Morgan are Saint Ignatius' regular 1 and 2 goalies, respectively.
The Wildcats, who worked on their passing and other facets after taking an 8-0 lead, entered the game as the nation's second-ranked team in both the POWERADE Fab 50 ESPN Rise poll and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
However, with top-ranked Seton Hall Prep from New Jersey playing to a 2-2 tie against West Orange earlier this week, Saint Ignatius could move into the nation's top spot on Tuesday.
The 'Cats will have to take care of business on Monday, when they face Shaker Heights in a district semifinal on Wasmer Field at 7 p.m.
“It's neat that the Cleveland Public Schools play in the tournament,” said Coach McLaughlin, who is now 63-12 in OHSAA playoff games. “Those kids come from different backgrounds and it's great to seem them out here working and competing. The respect from both teams towards each other was terrific. It's exciting that a lot of these kids get the opportunity to come out and play, and get their names announced. That's a neat thing.”
John Marshall now stands 2-10-1 on the season and Saint Ignatius, which played without leading scorer Matt Foldesy, upped its all-time postseason record to 80-31. Foldesy, who was feeling ill on Thursday, has totaled 15 goals this fall.
SHAKER HEIGHTS VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS DISTRICT SEMIFINAL SOCCER RECAP.
LUKE BLADES AND YIANNI SARRIS FUEL A DOMINATE FIRST HALF, AS THE WILDCATS ELIMINATE THE RAIDERS AND ADVANCE TO THURSDAY'S DISTRICT FINAL AGAINST SOLON.
SAINT IGNATIUS COULD TAKE OVER THE TOP RANKING IN THE NATIONAL POLLS, WHICH WILL BE RELEASED ON TUESDAY.
POSTED ON 10/25/10 AT 11:41 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, October 2010
Just moments before the traditional post-game prayer, Saint Ignatius soccer coach Mike McLaughlin '85 reminded his players that there are 32 Division I teams still alive in Ohio, and the undefeated Wildcats are among them.
Top-seeded Saint Ignatius, with gifted senior co-captains Luke Blades and Yianni Sarris showing the way on Monday night, took the second step in the path that leads to its ultimate postseason goals – state and national championships.
The 'Cats, with Blades and Sarris each scoring twice, took a 5-0 lead in the first 40 minutes, cleared their bench with just over 22 minutes left to be played and defeated the Shaker Heights Raiders, 6-2, in a district semifinal on Wasmer Field.
Saint Ignatius (18-0-0), the No.1-ranked team in Ohio and the second-ranked program in last week's national polls, will be seeking its 12th district championship since 1995 when it faces third-seeded Solon on Thursday at Wasmer Field. Game time will be 7 p.m.
Shaker Heights, which scored twice in the final 1 minute and 25 seconds, slipped to 10-5-3.
“Their game plan was to sit back, clearly,” said Coach McLaughlin. “They weren't even coming into our half of the field in the first half. They weren't pressuring the ball at all.
“They wanted us to press and press, and they were hoping to counter. They had a kid (David Anderson) up top who was really fast and they were looking to release him. Our focus is defense, just to shut teams down. And the offense is going to take care of itself.”
Playing their trademark relentless defense and attacking the Raiders' get-back approach, the Wildcats' offense erupted behind an authoritative shot by Blades. The Davidson recruit rocketed home his sixth goal of the season from about 25 yards out with the game less than seven minutes old.
Saint Ignatius pushed its lead to 2-0 on a goal by junior forward Matt Foldesy off a nice pass from sophomore forward Tyler Sanda. Foldesy's team-leading 16th net-finder of the season found the right corner, or the left side of the goalie, and came with just over 14 minutes remaining in the first half.
Three minutes later, the smooth and savvy Sarris got into the scoring act by sending his 12th goal into the net off some out-front hustle. Blades got his seventh off a header at the 5:58 mark, and Sarris closed out the take-charge first half by firing in a monster from 30 yards out. Yianni's 13th drew some oohs and ahhhs from the knowledgeable and sportsmanlike Shaker Heights faithful.
The Wildcats closed out their offensive production five minutes into the second half, as a hustling Sanda beat the goal keeper for his eighth tally of the fall.
Shaker Heights, which lost to the 'Cats for the sixth time in eight meetings overall, gave its fans something to remember by scoring twice in the final 85 seconds. Anderson and Khari Ferrell did the honors.
“We've got a pretty explosive offense,” Coach McLaughlin said. “I don't care if it's Brazil playing. If a team puts eight guys back in the box to defend, it's really hard to be patient and to look for openings. But we stuck to our plan of getting wide and serving it in. Once you score a few goals, then the game changes. It opens it up a little bit more.
“Solon is an up and coming program, they have some good young kids,” Coach McLaughlin said of Thursday night's matchup. “They are a group of hard working kids and they'll come fighting, that's for sure.”
SOLON VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS DISTRICT FINAL SOCCER RECAP.
POSTED ON 10/29/10 AT 12:32 A.M.
MATT FOLDESY, RYAN IVANCIC, YIANNI SARRIS AND GREG KURTZ FUEL THE OFFENSE AS THE NATION'S NO. 1-RANKED TEAM CONTINUES TO APPLY THE DEFENSIVE PRESSURE.
THE WILDCATS BLANK SOLON IN WINNING THEIR 12TH DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIP IN 16 YEARS.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, October 2010
Saint Ignatius' gifted and gritty senior co-captain Ryan Ivancic said winning a district championship is a great honor.
The tireless midfielder added, however, that the Wildcats' soccer program has set a standard in which the team expects to be in position to win a district crown every year.
“But in soccer, anything can happen,” Ivancic said, referring to some of this year's early postseason upsets.
Behind Ivancic's two goals and tallies by Matt Foldesy, Yianni Sarris and Greg Kurtz, Saint Ignatius made it happen on a rainy and cold Thursday night by defeating the Solon Comets, 5-0, in a Division I district title game in Wasmer Field.
In improving to 19-0-0, the Wildcats won their fourth consecutive district trophy and their 12th since 1995.
Ranked No.1 in the nation by both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and the ESPN Rise Fab 50, Saint Ignatius advances to Tuesday's regional semifinal against Warren Howland at Ravenna Stadium. Games time is 7 p.m.
Solon, which defeated the Wildcats in overtime in the 2006 postseason, closed its campaign at 9-6-1.
“We try to model ourselves after the great University of Akron program,” said Ivancic of the relentless defensive effort Saint Ignatius has displayed throughout the season.
The “not letting them play” approach that veteran head coach Mike McLaughlin '85 has instilled in his 'Cats came to the fore again on Thursday night.
It is a defensive philosophy that has produced seven regional championships, state titles in 2004, '05 and '08, a state runner-up finish in '09 and a national championship in '05.
Whether it scores, misfires on a shot or just misses connections on a pass or a cross, Saint Ignatius, emphasized Ivancic, jumps right back on the opponent.
After a spirited 19 minutes, the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead on a header by Foldesy, a play that saw the crafty junior forward go over the top on the goalie, who came out to defend and tried to take possession of the ball.
Foldesy's effort, his team-leading 17th goal on the season, was described by McLaughlin as a great athletic play, by Ivancic as the fuel for victory and by Saint Ignatius' talented and soccer savvy SIBN color commentator Mark Szwejkowski '11 as possibly Foldesy's most impressive goal of 2010.
Ivancic, whose hustle is an example for every young soccer player, scored his eighth goal of the season off an authoritative shot at the 18:56 mark of the first half and, at 3:15 of the first 40 minutes, Sarris, a smooth and skilled senior midfielder and co-captain, beat the goalie for his 14th net-finder of 2010.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Ivancic made it 4-0 by sending home his ninth goal this fall and Kurtz, a hard-nosed and underrated senior defender, closed out the scoring with just over eight minutes remaining to be played.
WARREN HOWLAND VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS REGIONAL SEMIFINAL SOCCER RECAP.
YIANNI SARRIS STRIKES EARLY AND THE 'CATS TAME THE TIGERS WITH A FOUR-GOAL SECOND HALF.
THE NATION'S TOP-RANKED TEAM WILL FACE MASSILLON JACKSON IN SATURDAY'S REGIONAL FINALS.
YIANNI SARRIS COMMITS TO FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY.
STORIES POSTED ON 11/3/10 AT 1:54 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, November 2010
RAVENNA, OHIO – Saint Ignatius' gifted senior captain and midfielder Yianni Sarris said he and his teammates realize there is a target on their backs, being the No.1-ranked soccer team in both the state poll and the national polls.
“We come out every single game with the right tempo, the right energy,” Sarris said. “You can tell by being in the locker room that everybody is pumped up for every game. We didn't even know who Warrren Howland was until this past week. Everyone was fired up. We got out here, gave it our all and motivated each other to play.”
With Sarris helping set the tempo early and the Wildcats playing with the “But for the guy next to me” attitude that assistant coach Jim Brennan '85 spoke of so eloquently in his pregame speech, Saint Ignatius wore down the aggressive Tigers from Warren Howland, 5-0, in Tuesday night's Division I regional semifinal on Gilcrest Field in Ravenna Stadium.
The Wildcats, who took command with four goals in the second half, improved to 20-0 and advanced to Saturday's regional championship match up with Massillon Jackson at Rocky River High School. Game time is 3 p.m.
Massillon Jackson gave the 'Cats one of their toughest regular-season games this fall, as Saint Ignatius had to rally in the final eight minutes for a 2-1 victory in Massillon on Sept. 25.
The Wildcats, who defeated Jackson, 2-0, in last year's regional final at Rocky River, will be seeking their third consecutive regional title and their eighth overall.
Howland, which advanced to regional play by defeating Canfield, 2-1, on a shootout, closed its season at 16-4.
“These are the games we all look forward to,” Sarris said, referring to Saturday's second 2010 encounter with the Polar Bears of Jackson. “No one is afraid of Massillon Jackson, don't get me wrong. But it will be a good game, that's for sure. I'm not taking anything away from Massillon Jackson, but they better be ready.”
Sarris was ready from the get-go on what was a brisk, to say the least, early November night in Portage County.
Reacting to the rebound off a shot by junior forward Matt Foldesy, Yianni scored his 15th goal of the season on a smooth and authoritative shot at the 38:42 mark of the first half.
That was the only score in the first 40 minutes, as both goalies, Saint Ignatius junior Brendan Cash and Howland senior Robert Daniels, were solid.
However, as good as Daniels was in the first half, his efforts and those of his teammates weren't enough to hold down the unselfish, savvy and deep Wildcats.
Caging the Tigers in the final 40 minutes, Coach Mike McLaughlin's team began its settle-the-issue run with a perfect header by senior defender Greg Kurtz off a throw in. It came with less than five minutes gone in the second half and sailed into the right corner of the net.
“Yianni and I work on that in practice a lot,” Kurtz said. “I usually just run up on throw-ins that are close. Yianni's got a long throw, so we take advantage of that. I usually go front post and Yianni put it right there.
“It (being a defender) is perfect for my style of play,” Kurtz continued. “Whether it's 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 (formations), I try to take advantage of both of them.”
With Sarris continuing to play a major role in all facets of the game, Saint Ignatius pushed its lead to 3-0 on a goal by senior midfielder Ryan Ivancic off a strong cross by Sarris. It was Ryan's 10th net-finder of the fall and came with 25:44 remaining to be played.
'Cats' sophomore defender Nate Fahey, unmarked by the Tigers' defense, fired a goal down the middle at 8:11 and junior forward Preston Spurrier closed out the impressive second half by tallying the fifth goal with 2:15 on the clock.
“It takes time to sort out a team and it takes time to play on this field, it's old turf,” said Coach McLaughlin '85, whose Wildcats have outscored their opponents, 93-10. “It's hard to settle into a rhythm when the other team is breaking down that rhythm, and they (Howland) did a good job of that early. But it was nice to score early. When you do that, life's a lot easier.
“As the game flows, you have to change formations and it's nice that our guys are so adaptable,” Coach McLaughlin said in reference to Howland's aggressive play. “We have to be at the top of our game (Saturday versus Jackson), as soon as the whistle blows, to play at the level we want to play at. And we weren't at that level in that (Sept. 25) game. We'll be ready for them in this next game, guaranteed.”
YIANNI PICKS FLORIDA GULF COAST: During Tuesday's post-game interview, Yianni Sarris confirmed that he will be furthering his education and soccer career next year at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“It's a fairly new program,” Yianni said of Florida Gulf Coast soccer. “I think they've only had a soccer program for four years. This year they were ranked as high as twelve in the RPI rankings.
“Coach Butehorn (Eagles head coach Bob Butehorn) saw me three years ago in Sarasota, Fla., at a showcase. Ever since he liked me, but he had to wait to recruit me legally. So he came after me, I went down there to visit and I loved it.”
In last week's NCAA RIP rankings, FGCU was at 21 and the Eagles were ranked 23rd in Soccer America's Top 25 poll.
MASSILLON JACKSON VS. SAINT IGNATIUS DIVISION I REGIONAL SOCCER FINAL.
KNOWING WHAT IS AT STAKE.
WILDCATS RIDE MATT FOLDESY'S EARLY CHARGE AND PLAY ANOTHER STRONG SECOND HALF IN PUTTING THE PHYSICAL POLAR BEARS ON ICE.
GREG KURTZ AND YIANNI SARRIS ALSO TALLY GOALS, AS THE 'CATS ADVANCE TO THE FINAL FOUR FOR THE EIGHTH TIME OVERALL AND THE SIXTH TIME SINCE 2000.
POSTED ON 11/06/10 AT 8:42 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, November 2010
There was no need for any late heroics. Not this time.
The Saint Ignatius Wildcats, as veteran coach Mike McLaughlin '85 emphasized, played like a team knowing what is at stake and wore down the fiery and physical Polar Bears from Massillon Jackson, 4-0, late Saturday afternoon in a Division I regional championship game at Rocky River High School.
Ranked No.1 in the national and state polls, the Wildcats improved to 21-0-0 and advanced to Tuesday's state-semifinal match up with Toledo St. John's Jesuit (21-1-0). Game time will be 7 p.m. at a site to be determined. Saint Ignatius, which is seeking its fourth state championship since 2004, handed the Titans of St. John's their only setback this fall, 2-0, in the Jesuit Tournament in late August.
“We let them jump on us the last game, and we knew that couldn't happen today,” said Wildcats standout junior Matt Foldesy of the Sept. 25 regular-season encounter with Jackson in Massillon. It was a game that saw the Polar Bears leading at halftime before senior defender Greg Kurtz and Foldesy scored during the final eight minutes for a 2-1 victory.
“We had to come out flying," Foldesy continued. "We got the PK (penalty kick) in the box, finished it, kept on fighting, which we needed to do, and never let up, which was great.”
As the son of a Hall of Fame wrestler – St. Edward High School and Cleveland State University great Dan Foldesy – Foldesy has plenty of fight, and an abundance of skill to match it.
In fact, if Jackson never sees the talented forward again, it might be too soon.
Foldesy, who scored the game-winner in Massillon with 14 seconds left back in September, accounted for the only goal in the first half on Saturday, a 10-yard rocket past the goalie on a penalty kick at the 6:51 mark. The PK was awarded after a Jackson player dragged 'Cats senior co-captain Ryan Ivancic to the ground.
Less than four minutes into the second half, Foldesy struck again.
In a display of footwork, creativity and power, Foldesy fired home his team-leading 19th goal of the season from the right side and you could sense that the nation's No.1 program was about to take control.
“Once we start knocking the ball around, it's hard to play with us, it's fun,” Foldesy said.
Fun for the Wildcats and their faithful, but not for the Polar Bears, whose frustration in the second half led to those dreaded yellow cards.
Jackson, which is now 0-6 in all-time match ups with Saint Ignatius, couldn't mount an offensive attack. While Polar Bears senior goalie R.J. Ihrig did come up with some nice saves, he couldn't react to an authoritative turn-around blast into the net by Kurtz at 11:18 nor a perfect placement off a PK by senior co-captain and Florida Gulf Coast University recruit Yianni Sarris. It was Yianni's 16th net-finder of 2010.
'Cats' junior goal keeper Brendan Cash racked up his 12th shutout this fall and Saint Ignatius' defense did a rock-sold job marking Jackson's gifted senior Danny Baraldi. The Polar Bears wrapped up their season at 13-3-5.
“Coming into it today, we knew we had to start strong,” Coach McLaughlin said. “They have skill, they can play, but the characteristics that epitomize Massillon Jackson soccer are strength and energy. They run at people. From the get-go, we had to be ready for that.
“We were hungry tonight, and we're going to be hungry on Tuesday.”
SAINT IGNATIUS-TOLEDO ST. JOHN'S STATE SEMIFINAL SOCCER PREVIEW.
TWO OF THE NATION'S BEST.
THE ALL-JESUIT MATCH UP BETWEEN THE WILDCATS AND THE TITANS IS THE MOST ATTRACTIVE SEMIFINAL IN THE ENTIRE STATE.
STAUNCH DEFENSES AND POTENT OFFENSES COLLIDE AS SAINT IGNATIUS AND ST. JOHN'S JESUIT MEET FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON ON TUESDAY NIGHT IN ROCKY RIVER.
POSTED ON SUNDAY, 11/07/10 AT 6:57 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, November 2010
Shortly after his team secured the program's eighth regional championship on Saturday, Saint Ignatius' veteran soccer coach Mike McLaughlin '85 talked about the next step.
“They have been a dominant team in that part of the state for years,” said Coach McLaughlin of Toledo St. John's Jesuit, Saint Ignatius' opponent in Tuesday's Division I state semifinal. The Wildcats (21-0-0) and the Titans (21-1-0) will meet at 7 p.m. at Rocky River High School. Rocky River continues to do an outstanding job hosting postseason soccer.
“St. John's has one of the best players in the state in Adam Montague,” McLaughlin continued. “He's a 6-foot-3 senior center/midfielder who can score goals, pass and defend. He can do it all and he makes their team run.
“So we have to keep him under wraps and defend. We've got to stop teams from playing. It's like we've said all season, if we can disrupt teams, make it difficult for them play, I have confidence that our offensive players are going to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Saint Ignatius, which is making its sixth final four appearance since 2000 and its eighth overall, enters Tuesday's game as the top-ranked team in both the Ohio and national polls. The 'Cats captured state championships in 2004, '05 and '08, were state runners-up in '09 and were also crowned as national champions in 2005.
St. John's, which reached the final four in 2002, is ranked third in Ohio and 19th nationally. The Titans' only setback this season was a 2-0 loss to Saint Ignatius in the Jesuit Tournament at St. John's in late August. Wildcats gifted senior midfielder and co-captain Yianni Sarris did the honors by scoring both goals that day, and the 'Cats went on to successfully defend their Jesuit Cup by defeating Walsh Jesuit, 3-1.
If you are wondering how impressive St. John's has been in the postseason, well, how does five shutouts in six tournament games sound? The only challenge the Titans experienced in their run to the final four was a 3-1 victory over Perrysburg.
Overall, St. John's has compiled a school-record 15 shutouts this fall and has allowed just 11 goals. Montague, senior Justin Niese and senior goal keeper Connor Walsh have keyed the defense all season.
Sparking a Titans offense that has produced a school-record 108 goals in 22 games are Montague, senior Ryan Peterson, junior Evan Lee and sophomore Jimmy Papadimos. Montague and Peterson have each scored a school-best 26 goals this season and Montague has a school-record 26 assists. Lee and Papadimos have tallied 18 and nine goals, respectively, and Peterson has 18 assists.
“They try to constantly move the ball, so we're going to have to come out with the same energy,” said Saint Ignatius' standout junior forward Matt Foldesy of the respect he has for the Titans. “During the Jesuit Cup we stayed at some of the players' homes and got to know the team. So the way I'm looking at it is now I have to go and face some of my buddies.”
The Wildcats, who are 15-7-6 against the Titans all time, including a 9-3-2 mark under Coach McLaughlin, have outscored their 2010 opponents, 97-10. Showing the way are Foldesy with a team-leading 19 goals, Sarris with 16 net-finders, senior midfielder and co-captain Ryan Ivancic with 10 goals, sophomore forward Tyler Sanda with 8, and senior midfielder and co-captain Luke Blades with 7. Sarris and Blades have accepted scholarship offers from Florida Gulf Coast and Davidson, respectively.
While it is not being trite to describe Saint Ignatius' relentless defense as a team effort, some of the individuals who seem to thrive in any formation are senior defenders Greg Kurtz and Matt Petrella, junior defenders Zach Martin and Max Pathroff, sophomore defender Nate Fahey, senior midfielder Cody Dawson, junior goalie Brendan Cash (12 shutouts), and Ivancic, Sarris, Blades and Foldesy.
Kurtz, who in this corner's humble opinion is one of the area's most underrated players, has also picked up his offense in the postseason.
“That stuff doesn't happen by luck,” said Coach McLaughlin, whose program has either won or tied its last nine meetings with St. John's. “It's a byproduct of working hard and making sure we win the 50-50 balls.
“From the moment the whistle blows to start the game until the whistle blows to end it, that is what we have to do if we want to keep playing at this time of the year. It's a great group of guys to coach. They love fighting for each other and they're a hungry bunch.”
If successful on Tuesday night, the Wildcats will advance to Friday's 7 p.m. big-school state championship game at Crew Stadium in Columbus. Tuesday's other semifinal matches Lewis Center Olentangy Orange and Centerville, and is being played at Hilliard Bradley High School. Olentangy Orange put the squeeze on nationally ranked and 2009 state champion Gahanna Lincoln, 2-1, in Saturday's regional finals.
SKILLED AND SMART: Here are the top grade-point averages on the Wildcats' soccer team, courtesy of SIBN President Mike Watts '11: Senior defender Nick Bashour 4.46; Petrella 4.43; Ivancic 4.30; junior midfielder Dominic Gibbons 4.05; junior defender Jay Jackson 4.05; Cash 4.00; Dawson 3.98; Blades 3.97; and junior goal keeper Jackson Morgan 3.95.
ST. JOHN'S JESUIT VS. SAINT IGNATIUS STATE-SEMIFINAL SOCCER RECAP.
MATT FOLDESY'S EARLY GOAL ASSAULT, PIVOTAL NET-FINDERS BY GREG KURTZ (MINUS A CONTACT LENS) AND RYAN IVANCIC, AND SOME CLUTCH SAVES BY BRENDAN CASH SEND THE NATION'S TOP-RANKED WILDCATS INTO THEIR THIRD CONSECUTIVE STATE-CHAMPIONSHIP GAME APPEARANCE.
SAINT IGNATIUS WILL FACE CENTERVILLE IN FRIDAY'S 7 P.M. TITLE GAME AT COLUMBUS' CREW STADIUM.
POSTED ON 11/10/10 AT 12:23 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, November 2010
Saint Ignatius' talented senior midfielder/co-captain Ryan Ivancic, talking with the same intensity he brings to the field, said he and his teammates got what they expected on Tuesday night.
“We knew we were going to have a hard-fought game, I mean St. John's, our Jesuit brothers,” Ivancic said after he helped the Wildcats to a 5-2 victory over the Jesuit school from Toledo in a Division I state-semifinal game at Rocky River High School.
Saint Ignatius (22-0), the top-ranked soccer team in both the state and national polls, will be making its third consecutive state-championship game appearance when it faces the nation's eighth-ranked Centerville Elks (20-0-2) on Friday in Columbus' Crew Stadium. Game time will be 7 p.m.
The Wildcats, under the direction of veteran coach Mike McLaughlin '85, won state titles in 2004, '05 and '08, were state runners-up in '09 and in '05 they also captured a national championship.
It is, however, the memory of last year's heart-breaking 2-1 shootout loss to Gahanna Lincoln in the championship game that has fueled the 2010 'Cats.
“We have a lot of experience going back there (to Crew Stadium),” Ivancic said. “This has been our goal the whole season, a national championship. We're one step away, but we have a big game ahead of us down in Columbus.”
In what Ivancic described as the most hectic first half the 'Cats have experienced all season, Saint Ignatius survived two early scoring threats by the Titans from St. John's.
Then it was time for more Matt Foldesy, as the crazy-fast and skilled junior forward did an encore from Saturday's 4-0 regional-final victory over Massillon Jackson by scoring the game's first two goals.
Taking a pass from junior defender Max Pathroff, Foldesy seemed to play the ball off his chest en route to beating Titans senior goalie Connor Walsh off a breakaway with the game not five minutes old. Less than two minutes later, the Wildcats' leading scorer struck again with his 21st goal of the season, an effort that saw Ivancic and sophomore defender Nate Fahey each have a foot in the assist.
Just when it appeared Saint Ignatius was about to take command early, St. John's (21-2) showed why it entered Tuesday night's match up with a 20-match win streak, a third place ranking in the state poll and a 20th-place national ranking in the latest ESPN Rise Fab 50.
The Titans, who the soccer-savvy fans among the crowd of more than 3,000 at Rocky River will remember, cut the deficit to 2-1 on a header by junior Evan Lee. It was Lee's 19th goal of the season. The score stayed that way entering the final 40 minutes.
"That third goal was big,” said Ivancic of the first of two pivotal second-half goals by the Wildcats – a trademark fireball by senior defender Greg Kurtz off a throw-in with less than four minutes gone in the second 40 minutes.
“It's amazing, the first eight minutes of the game my left contact comes out,” Kurtz said.” I scored that goal with one contact. I couldn't really see it that well.”
With Walsh and Wildcats junior goal keeper Brendan Cash making some highlight-reel saves, the Titans lost Walsh with 24:26 left to be played and down two goals. Walsh was hit with a Red Card after he came out from goal and dragged Foldesy down as Foldesy was in position for another score.
Foldesy had to be helped from the field and didn't return to action. However, Coach McLaughlin assured everyone that Matt is fine and will be ready to go on Friday night. Foldesy echoed his coach's words.
The Wildcats, who handed the Titans both of their losses this season, pulled away on Ivancic's 11th goal of the fall – a text-book display of footwork from the top of the box with 23:50 remaining – and laid down the hammer when junior forward Preston Spurrier scored at the 10:23 mark.
“In these games, so much of it is emotion,” Coach McLaughlin said. “If you can be the first team to put the ball in the back of the net, it does a lot. To St. John's credit, for us to go up 2-0 as early as we did, they could have said all right the game is over.
"But they kept working and quickly responded. That was a very quick response. Now the game is on again and with the guys they had up top (26-goal scorers Ryan Peterson and Michigan State recruit Adam Montague), anything could have happened.''
CENTERVILLE VS. SAINT IGNATIUS DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW.
IN PURSUIT OF STATE AND NATIONAL LAURELS.
TWO TRADITION-RICH AND NATIONALLY RANKED SOCCER PROGRAMS WILL PLAY FOR THE BIG TROPHY ON FRIDAY NIGHT IN COLUMBUS' CREW STADIUM.
THE WILDCATS AND THE ELKS ARE MEETING FOR THE 10TH TIME, AS COACH MCLAUGHLIN'S 'CATS WILL LOOK TO SOLVE WHAT HAS BEEN AN UNFLAPPABLE CENTERVILLE DEFENSE.
POSTED ON 11/10/10 AT 7:07 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, November 2010
It is no secret that the Centerville Elks, en route to their 20-0-2 record, have played exceptional defense.
The Elks, Saint Ignatius' opponent in Friday's 7 p.m. Division I state championship game at Crew Stadium in Columbus, have racked up 15 shutouts, including five in the postseason. They started their regular season by blanking five of their first six opponents.
“They haven't scored a lot of goals, but they haven't given up a lot either,” said Wildcats coach Mike McLaughlin '85 of the Elks, who have a goals-for and a goals-against mark of 55-7. “They have some big boys.”
The Wildcats, who will take a 22-0-0 record into the title game, are no strangers to solid defensive play.
Playing what Coach McLaughlin looks upon as the strongest schedule in the program's rich history, Saint Ignatius has outscored its challengers, 102-12, and has posted 13 shutouts.
Yes, soccer can be the most unpredictable game in the world. However, when you look at the defensive capabilities that the 'Cats and the Elks bring to the field, it is even easier to appreciate Coach McLaughlin's emphasis on “riding that first wave.”
And no team in Ohio has done that better this fall than the 2010 Wildcats.
In last weekend's 4-0 victory over Massillon Jackson in the regional finals and Tuesday night's 5-2 state-semifinal victory over Toledo St. John's Jesuit, Saint Ignatius road the wave first, fast and furious.
Providing the surf board, if you will, was standout junior forward Matt Foldesy, he of the crazy-fast skills. Foldesy accounted for the first two goals in each of those games and will enter Friday's state-championship match up with a team-leading 21 goals.
Among the 'Cats' other leading net-finders are gifted senior midfielders Yianni Sarris and Ryan Ivancic, with 16 and 11 goals, respectively. Sarris is bound for Florida Gulf Coast University next year on a scholarship.
St. Ignatius, which is making its third consecutive state-championship game appearance, is ranked No. 1 in Ohio and is the top-ranked team in both the ESPN Rise Fab 50 and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. The Wildcats won state soccer titles in 2004, '05 and '08, were state runners-up last season and were also crowned as national champions in '05.
Centerville is Ohio's fifth-ranked program and has garnered an eighth-place ranking in this week's ESPN Rise Fab 50. The Elks are making their seventh championship-game appearance and their first since 1996. Centerville captured a state title in 1984 and this season marks the seventh time the Elks have been ranked nationally. They were ranked No. 1 in '96.
Although Friday will mark the first postseason meeting between Saint Ignatius and Centerville in soccer, Coach McLaughlin's program owns a 6-3 regular-season mark against the team from Montgomery County.
Coach McLaughlin, who has a career record of 264-38-33, emphasized that North Olmsted and Centerville were Ohio's storied soccer programs when he first started coaching. With 573 all-time victories, the Elks carry their historian's banner of "Ohio's winningest soccer program."
As for the 2010 Elks, they are led by the savvy and skilled Memme Onwudiwe, a senior who leads the team with 13 goals. Onwudiwe is described by the Centerville coaches as a hard worker and an “opportunist,” a player who will take advantage of even the smallest amount of space. Coach McLaughlin pointed out that the Elks are very adept at long throw ins and kicks.
Among Onwudiwe's complementary parts are Andrew Roop, Brandon Klepach and goal keeper Andrew Kreger, who came up with a key save off a header to help preserve Tuesday night's 2-1 state-semifinal victory over Olentangy Orange. Olentangy Orange was coming off an upset victory over 2009 state champion and nationally ranked Gahanna Lincoln.
As has been the case all fall, the Wildcats will also rely on their quick and relentless defense. Senior center back/defender Greg Kurtz, who joins senior co-captain and Davidson recruit Luke Blades as players who do numerous things that don't show up in the linescore, said defense is “what we live for.”
Kurtz has also become an integral part of the offense, scoring key goals throughout the postseason. Greg came up with the pivotal goal against St. John's on Tuesday, another trademark authoritative effort that gave Saint Ignatius a two-score advantage early in the second half. The goal, which took away the momentum the Titans had built late in the first half, was the Wildcats' 100th of the season.
As physical as the St. John's game was, Kurtz and Coach McLaughlin expect even more aggressive intensity on Friday night.
“Nobody's going to lay down this time of year,” Coach McLaughlin said.
SOME POSTSEASON FAMILIARITY: The Elks and the Wildcats have also met on the gridiron twice, with Saint Ignatius rallying to a 24-21 victory in the 1991 state championship game in Canton's Fawcett Stadium and Centerville defeating the visiting 'Cats, 31-7, in Week 4 of this past season.
S-I-B-N!: The Saint Ignatius Broadcasting Network will bring you live audio coverage of Friday night's championship game from Crew Stadium.
As they have done all season, the Thrillsome Threesome of Mike Watts '11, Mark Szwejkowski '11 and Sean Hegarty '11 will provide their astute play by play and color commentary.
CENTERVILLE VS. SAINT IGNATIUS DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RECAP.
SIMPLY THE BEST!
OUTSCORING THEIR OPPONENTS, 106-13, THE WILDCATS' SOCCER TEAM WRAPS UP A PERFECT SEASON WITH STATE AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.
A YIANNI SARRIS AND MATT FOLDESY-FUELED THREE-GOAL BARRAGE IN THE SECOND HALF SHOWS THE WAY, AND RYAN IVANCIC PROVIDES THE SEALER AS THE 'CATS STUN THE PREVIOUSLY UNDEFEATED AND NATIONALLY RANKED CENTERVILLE ELKS, 4-1, IN FRIDAY NIGHT'S DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN COLUMBUS.
POSTED ON 11/13/10 AT 3:17 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, November 2010
COLUMBUS, OHIO – During the pregame warmup for Friday night's Division I state championship soccer game, the unmistakable voice of Tina Turner rang out over the public address system in Crew Stadium.
“You're simply the best, better than all the rest, ----.”
Slightly more than two hours later, Coach Mike McLaughlin '85 and his 2010 Saint Ignatius Wildcats were that and more.
The Wildcats, unleashing three goals in less than three minutes, stunned the Centerville Elks in the second half and went on to a 4-1 victory before an enthusiastic and soccer-savvy crowd.
In winning its fourth state soccer championship, Saint Ignatius completed its remarkable fall with an unblemished mark of 23-0-0. The fourth title came on the same date, Nov. 12th, as the first one in 2004.
The 'Cats, who brought home their second Ohio crown in three years, were also assured of garnering their second national championship, as they entered Friday's match up with the Elks ranked No. 1 in both the ESPN Rise Fab 50 and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. A representative from ESPN covered the game and told the Wildcats they would be the national champion in the Fab 50.
Along with its state and national crowns, Saint Ignatius joined Kettering Archbishop Alter, North Olmsted and Columbus St. Francis De Sales as the four boys soccer programs to win four state titles. And Coach McLaughlin, who also led his 'Cats to Ohio Championships in 2004, '05 and '08, and a national title in '05, became the first coach in Ohio to guide four state-champion boys soccer teams.
Centervillle, making its seventh state-final appearance and looking to add to the state championship it won in 1984, closed its 2010 campaign at 20-1-2. The Elks were ranked eighth nationally by ESPN Rise.
Closing the book on last season's disappointing 2-1 shoot-out loss to Gahanna Lincoln in the big-school championship game, Saint Ignatius sealed the deal in a furious fashion after a first half that had the Wildcats and their coaches wondering if another shoot-out situation was in the cards.
For the first 40 minutes, the Elks and the Wildcats showed everyone in attendance why they were two of the strongest defensive teams in the nation. With Centerville senior goalie Andrew Kreger and Saint Ignatius junior goalie Brendan Cash rising to the occasion, the first half ended in a 0-0 tie.
"It's the greatest feeling in the world, there are no words to describe it,” said 'Cats' gifted All-Ohio senior midfielder and co-captain Yianni Sarris, after he dedicated his performance to former classmate and lacrosse player Adam Grodzik, who was killed in a car accident the weekend of Sept. 18, and to another fellow Wildcat who is battling cancer.
What happened in the second half could be described as amazing, that is unless you have been fortunate enough to see Sarris and standout junior forward Matt Foldesy work their magic before.
In what seemed like a blink of the eye, Sarris and Foldesy turned a classic defensive struggle into a 3-0 Saint Ignatius lead.
First it was Sarris hammering home his 17th goal of the season off an assist from Foldesy and then it was Yianni again, as the Florida Gulf Coast University recruit delivered No. 18 off some clever footwork and determination by Foldesy.
The give-and-go show by Sarris and Foldesy continued with Foldesy sending an authoritative blast past Kreger from the left side or the goalie's right. It was Foldesy's team-leading 22nd goal of the fall.
“Oh, yeah, oh for sure,” said Foldesy, when asked if some of the memories of the Gahanna Lincoln shootout rose their ugly head before he and Sarris fueled the offense. “We were playing for Adam Grodzik and the seniors from last year.
“I don't know, we've been doing it all year,” Foldesy continued, as he referred to the chemistry he and Sarris have on the field. “We came to play. Yianni's in great spots and I got to the corner and found him. He did the rest and he found me on a great one. We had the connection today. We knew we needed to be there.”
A young man with plenty of God-given skills and inner strength, Foldesy said in order to get the most out of himself he turns to the verse from Isaiah 40:31 that he wears taped to his arm, a verse that points to the physical strength one can derive from his or her faith in God.
Following Sarris' and Foldesy's quick strikes, senior midfielder and co-captain Ryan Ivancic, a player whose endless hustle and passion for the game exemplified the 2010 'Cats, put his mark on the state and national championships by delivering his 12th goal of the season with 12:45 left. Ryan's goal was the 'Cats' 106th this season, which is second in the program's history to the 129 goals scored by the 2000 team.
During the final nine minutes, Coach McLaughlin substituted for his seniors, so they could receive their well-deserved ovations from the Wildcats' faithful. Among those veterans was All-Ohio senior co-captain and Davidson recruit Luke Blades. Luke's brothers, Gavin '05 and Mark '06, were also state champions at Saint Ignatius and Mark Blades, who is now an assistant coach for the Wildcats, was a mainstay on the 2005 national-championship team.
Shortly after Sarris said he couldn't wait to present the Grodzik family with a ball signed by all of the players, Coach McLaughlin praised Centerville for its exceptional defensive effort and the rich history the Elks bring to Ohio high school soccer. The veteran coach also pointed to what his 2010 'Cats accomplished against a who's who schedule, and how difficult it really is to be perfect in the game of soccer.
But then maybe a second verse by the award-winning Tina Turner goes a long way in describing a soccer coach whose career record of 265-38-33 also includes 12 district titles and eight regional championships – “better than anyone I've ever met!"
In closing, let me just say that I was honored to report on several All-Ohio and All-American players in football, basketball and baseball, players who went on to professional careers. But I was never more sincere when I told the 'Cats' brilliant All-Ohio senior co-captain and midfielder Yianni Sarris on Friday night that he is a “great athlete”and that it was a “privilege” to cover him and his state and national-champion teammates.
GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU AGAIN AND GOD BLESS.
A DEDICATION TO DILIGENCE.
SAINT IGNATIUS PAYS TRIBUTE TO ITS STATE AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.
POSTED ON 11/16/10.
By Eddie Dwyer
COPYRIGHT, NOV. 2010
Greeted by the mighty tones of the Wildcats' Pep Band and a roar that echoed throughout Sullivan Gymnasium, Saint Ignatius' state and national champion soccer team was honored by its classmates, teachers and the Jesuit School's administration during Tuesday's rousing celebration.
Coach Mike McLaughlin '85, who guided his 'Cats to a 23-0-0 season and the top ranking in the state poll and the national polls by ESPN Rise and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, said much of his team's success was based on its willingness to work.
The Wildcats' mental and physical toughness, which were honed in regular 9-to-10-mile conditioning runs throughout the city, continued to come to the fore while facing one of the most demanding schedules in the country. It was a schedule laden with nationally ranked and highly state-ranked programs.
And who better to instill that work ethic than a coach who has guided four state-championship teams (2004, '05, '08 and '10), a state runner-up team in '09 and two national-championship programs – '05 and '10.
In winning its fourth state soccer championship by defeating Centerville, 4-1, last weekend in Columbus' Crew Stadium, Saint Ignatius joined Kettering Archbishop Alter, North Olmsted and Columbus St. Francis DeSales as the four boys soccer programs to win four state titles.
Coach McLaughlin became the first coach in Ohio to guide four state-champion boys soccer teams and the first to lead his program into three consecutive appearances in the big-school title game.
But all you need to know about a coach whose career record of 265-38-33 also includes 12 district titles and eight regional championships, is that he revealed to the student body during the rally the Wildcats' “most important” form of preparation last Friday – attending Mass in the morning.
“The relationships we made,” said 'Cats' standout senior midfielder and co-captain Ryan Ivancic, when asked what are some of the things he will cherish from a perfect season of national acclaim. “I think we've all gotten along and we just came together over the course of the season. That really stands out to me.
“Obviously, this is the best way we could go out as seniors, as national champions. It's awesome.”
So what are national championships really made of?
“I honestly think we worked harder than everyone,” said Ivancic, whose double-digit goals and assists, along with his high defensive energy, helped Saint Ignatius outscore the opposition, 106-13, record 13 shutouts and limit seven other opponents to just one goal.
“From day one, we knew we were going to be good,” Ivancic continued. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year, so it came down to a lot of people stepping up. But day in and day out at practice, from city runs to situps and pushups, we did everything 100 percent.”
ALMOST LIKE A FREE DAY: It has been a tradition in the past to award a free day whenever one of the Wildcats' varsity teams wins a state and or national championship.
However, after Principal Peter H. Corrigan, Jr. congratulated Coach McLaughlin and his team, he revealed that the state is starting to limit the number of free days schools are permitted for various achievements. And the Lord knows the 'Cats have had plenty of championships over the years.
So, instead of a free day, Saint Ignatius will allow the student body to come to school later than usual on the last two December Mondays before Christmas break.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE POSTSEASON HONORS GARNERED BY THE NATIONAL CHAMPS:
Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association All-Ohio: Senior co-captains Yianni Sarris (18 goals) and Luke Blades.
OSSCA Academic All-Ohio: Nick Bashour, Luke Blades, Cody Dawson, Ryan Ivancic and Matt Petrella.
National Soccer Coaches Association of America Academic All-American Team – Accumulative Team GPA of 3.60. This marks the ninth time this honor has been bestowed upon the 'Cats.
Greater Cleveland Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association First Team: Luke Blades and Yianni Sarris.
GCSSCA Second Team: Matt Foldesy (team-leading 22 goals) and Ryan Ivancic.
GCSSCA Honorable Mention: Brendan Cash, Cody Dawson, Greg Kurtz, Zach Martin, Max Pathroff and Tyler Sanda.
SAINT IGNATIUS' FALL SPORTS BANQUET.
POSTED ON 11/19/10 AT 6:33 A.M.
ONE, TWO, THREE!
WITH COACH MIKE MCLAUGHLIN'S STATE AND NATIONAL CHAMPION SOCCER PROGRAM LEADING THE WAY, THE 'CATS' FALL SPORTS PROGRAMS ARE HONORED FOR AGAIN FINISHING AMONG THE BEST OF THE BEST IN OHIO.
By Eddie Dwyer
COPYRIGHT, Nov. 2010
After Saint Ignatius' cross country, golf and soccer teams broke bread with their teammates, classmates, friends and families in the Rade Dining Hall on Thursday night, Wildcats Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88 presented a special moment for the seniors associated with those programs.
In what was the first emotional applause from the annual banquet honoring the achievements of fall sports, Rory asked the seniors to come to the stage in the Rade Dining Hall, where he presented each one of them with a commemorative pin. The seniors, before breaking up into separate rooms for their team's awards, combined on an excellent presentation of the Alma Mater.
Rory and Saint Ignatius Principal Peter H. Corrigan, Jr. each made reference to the impressive 1-2-3 finish in state competition by the soccer, golf and cross country teams and they also paid tribute to the endless devotion of the parents, the coaches, the best athletic trainer in the nation in Hank Gaughan, team Chaplin Fr. Jack Murphy and Mike Watts '11, Mark Szwejkowski '11, Sean Hegarty '11 and Moderator Jeff McCormick '83 of the Wildcats' award-winning Broadcasting Network and Sports Information Department.
“SIMPLY THE BEST”: Although most of the many outstanding accomplishments by Coach Mike McLaughlin's state and national champion soccer team have been documented on the corner, we wanted to present some of those special moments and awards that took place in the Sullivan Atrium on Thursday night, where Coach McLaughlin '85 and his staff honored their 23-0 Wildcats.
Before he announced the individual awards, Coach McLaughlin emphasized that he was blessed to have players who come from “great families.
In what was a fall laden with greatness, those players brought home the program's fourth state championship and the second in three seasons, and the second national championship. And that was accomplished with only four starters returning from last year's 22-1 state runner-up team.
Among Thursday's early honorees was sophomore Nate Fahey, he of the memorable goal at St. Edward, a player Coach McLaughlin described as maybe the hardest working forward/defender in the entire state.
There was Fahey's classmate, Tyler Sanda, and his two pivotal goals at Strongsville and relentless efforts every night out. Sanda's accomplishments were followed by the introduction of a “special player,” in the words of Coach McLaughlin.
Junior forward Matt Foldesy, who made his mark in a hurry with four goals on opening night against University School, finished with a team-leading 22 goals and added 13 assists. In the 35-year history of the 'Cats' soccer program, there have been only eight players who have scored 20 or more goals.
Senior Greg Kurtz, a player this corner described as someone whose tremendous impact on the game doesn't always show up in a line score, was labeled by his coach as “flat out one of the best center-backs in Ohio, a great battler who really didn't know how good he was.''
Senior Cody Dawson was introduced as a dominant game-changing player and a tremendous defender, juniors Zach Martin and Max Pathroff and senior Matt Petrella were recognized for their hard-nosed defense and hustle, Coach McLaughlin fondly recalled the Hat Trick by junior forward Noah Toumert against Padua and the late-game skills of junior Preston Spurrier, and junior Brendan Cash received a strong ovation for his near flawless work in goal.
And then there is senior co-captain and Davidson recruit Luke Blades, who sacrificed many of his brilliant individual skills so the Wildcats could operate like the well-oiled machine they are.
A first-team All-Ohio selection, Luke joined his older brothers, Gavin and Mark, as Wildcat standouts who, in their senior season, earned All-Ohio, All-Academic All-Ohio and played on a state-championship team. Gavin, as Coach McLaughlin said, got it all started as a mainstay on the first state-championship team of 2004 and Mark, now an assistant coach for McLaughlin, was a catalyst on the 2005 state and national-championship team. Mark is the first to both play and coach on a national-championship team.
After Coach McLaughlin presented the prestigious Coach's Cup to senior defender Nick Bashour, he payed tribute to his staff – the eye-popping success on the junior-varsity level and the eloquent and dramatic pregame speeches by coach Jim Brennan '85, the All-Ohio credentials of Mark Blades and Dan Crew '99, the brilliant development work on the freshman level by Paul Kobe '79 and Tara Henderson, and the unmatched scouting and pregame preparation by Joe Popelka '84. McLaughlin also applauded the tireless efforts of team Videographer Zachary Zvosecz '11 and Team Managers Owen Johnson and Johnny Powell.
The Captains Awards went to Luke Blades, gifted first-team All-Ohio senior midfielder Yianni Sarris and standout senior midfielder Ryan Ivancic. The Magis Award, which is based on the Latin word for giving more or to a greater extent, was presented to both Dawson and Kurtz.
Lukes Blades took home the Most Valuable Defender Award, Ivancic was chosen as the Most Valuable Midfielder and the Most Valuable Players Awards went to Foldesy and Sarris (18 goals and 7 assists).
Ivancic, Sarris and Luke Blades are the only three players in the history of Division I Ohio high school soccer to play in three consecutive state finals. Ivancic totaled 30 goals and 24 assists in his memorable high school career and Sarris, a Florida Gulf Coast University recruit, racked up career marks of 30 goals and 17 assists.
The night also included a special video presentation, which was highlighted by the Wildcats' uncanny ability to know when to turn on the intensity and when to have fun. It concluded with some of the most heart-warming and humorous moments along the road to the top, moments that were accompanied by Tina Turner's hit song, “Simply the Best.''
And that they were, from the warmth of late August through the brisk chill of mid-November, “better than all the rest.”