By Bonta Hill
Claire Healy led St. Ignatius with 19 kills and 17 digs to help the Wildcats to a 25-18, 25-23, 21-25, 25-16 victory over visiting rival Sacred Heart Cathedral in the first round of West Catholic Athletic League playoffs on Tuesday.
After knocking off the Irish back on Oct. 22 in five games, St. Ignatius was determined to not let this match go the distance.
“This is the playoffs and we’re playing our rival,” said Healy. “We came out with energy and we didn’t want this to go five games.”
After dropping the third game, the fourth-seeded Wildcats were the more energetic team in the fourth game as Healy, along with Michellie McDonald-O’brien and her 15 kills, jumped out to a 12-5 lead and cruised 25-16 win.
“I just told our players to finish the job,” said St. Ignatius head coach Lisa Becerra. “We have a tendency to let up after winning the first two games, however I liked our intensity in this match.”
Kelly Ostello led the Irish with 12 kills and three blocks, but it wasn’t enough as the Wildcats’ early lead was too much for Sacred Heart to overcome.
“We had a lack of energy, and we played sloppy,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Margaret Beima. “We need to fix a lot of things, and mentally we need to better.”
Sacred Heart will likely earn an at-larg bid to play in the CIF-Central Coast Section Playoffs, their next step try to make it back to the state championship game.
For the Wildcats, they’ll travel down to Mountain View on Wednesday to take on St. Francis the league semifinals at 7 p.m. St. Ignatius already owns a five-game win over St. Francis, but know it will be another tough match.
“It’s a big game and we know some of the players [on the St. Francis],” Healy said. “We know they’ll be ready, but so will we. We’re ready to go down there and handle business.”