They were good throughout an emotional season.
Cathedral High School’s boys volleyball team was good enough to make the final match of the 25th 2018 Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association State Tournament, and good enough to come oh-so close to a 10th state championship.
They missed that, narrowly losing to Roncalli 3-1 – 15-25, 25-23, 20-25, 22-25 – in a tight title match at Southport High School on May 19, but the 2018 season again featured the Irish turning in a remarkable season as one of Indiana’s elite teams.
It was the 15th finals appearance in Head Coach Rhonda Low’s 25 seasons. The Irish have made 23 final eight appearances under Low.
Senior outside hitter Caleb Short and senior outside hitter Ben Wagoner were named to the 2018 All-Tournament Team for the Irish, who finished 30-8 for the season.
Senior setter Ryan Kelley registered 43 assists in the final match, with Short finishing with 19 kills, four blocks and 15 digs. Senior middle hitter CJ Voigt had 10 kills and four blocks, and junior setter Blake Kaufman and junior middle hitter Allen Langdon each had nine kills. Senior libero Nick Toby had four assists and 12 digs.
The Irish beat Brownsburg, 3-1, in the semifinal on May 19 to set up their second appearance in the state final in three seasons. Voigt had 11 kills and seven blocks in the match, with Short adding 10 kills, two blocks and seven digs. Kelley had 54 assists and four blocks.
The Irish advanced to the final four with a straight-set victory in the May 18 state quarterfinals, beating Brebeuf 25-16, 25-20, 28-26. Kelley had 33 assists. Short led the attack with 13 kills, three aces and nine digs and Toby also had nine digs. Voigt had nine kills and five blocks, with Langdon adding nine kills and two blocks.
The Irish, long one of the top boys volleyball programs in Indiana, continued to rank among the top teams in the state throughout the season with a strong regular season. The Irish won the Cathedral Regional, sweeping Covenant Christian 25-14, 25-10, 25-15 in the regional final.
The Irish – who finished the regular season No. 2 in the IBVCA coaches poll – lost seven regular-season matches, including six to teams from Indiana. No. 1 Roncalli beat the Irish twice in the regular season, with No. 3 Fishers beating them three times and No. 4 Carmel beating them once.
The Irish also beat all three teams and lost to Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier in the final match of the Irish Invitational.
The Irish also won the Noblesville Miller Invitational on April 29 and swept their late-season “Tour of the South” with victories over Southport, Center Grove and Columbus North in a one-week span. They lost to Fishers in the late-season Metro Indianapolis Tournament.
They also prepared for the postseason with a third-place finish in the nine-team May 5 prestate tournament at Hamilton Southeastern.
The Irish freshman team finished unbeaten and won the 2018 Freshman League.
Seniors for the 2018 Irish: Short, Toby, Voigt, outside hitter Hayden Adams, Kelley and Wagoner. Short led the Irish with 232 kills followed by Voigt with 212.
Kaufman had 167 kills for the Irish and Langdon had 144 kills; Kelley had 104 kills. Short also led the Irish in blocks with 43, with Voigt adding 34 and Langdon adding 24; Kaufman had 22 blocks and Kelley had 20.
Toby led the Irish with 309 digs followed by Wagoner with 191, Kelley with 174, Short with 159 and Voigt with 105.