Boys Volleyball: St. Ignatius sweeps Lowell for fourth-straight City victory

St. Ignatius senior Teddy Niemira (right) rises to make a block against Lowell on Wednesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

This season’s St. Ignatius boys volleyball team isn’t at the level of last year’s West Catholic Athletic League tournament championship winning squad yet.

For now, the Wildcats will have to settle for just being the best team in San Francisco.

St. Ignatius swept visiting Lowell 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 in non-league play on Wednesday and has already taken down Academic Athletic Association contenders Galileo and Lincoln, as well as rival Sacred Heart Cathedral this season.

St. Ignatius junior outside hitter Ian Colbert elevates to send a ball through a pair of Lowell blockers on Wednesday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

St. Ignatius junior outside hitter Ian Colbert was the only player on either team to record double-digit kills with 12 and spurred the Wildcats to breeze through the first two games.

The Wildcats (5-2) fell behind twice in the third game and Lowell (1-2) held its largest lead at 17-14, but SI responded with a 6-0 run fueled by three kills from Colbert.

At 6-foot-1, Colbert exhibits tremendous leaping ability and also plays a key role in the St. Ignatius defense when he is in the back row.

“Ian is pretty awesome,” said St. Ignatius head coach Ricardo Wray. “He’s an athletic guy and he made some good digs in the back row too. The set location wasn’t the best for him today, so he didn’t get as many kills as usual, but he’s definitely one of our anchors.”

The Wildcats also got a lift from normal setter Teddy Niemira, who Wray shifted middle blocker against Lowell due to an illness to normal starting middle Will Stricker.

Niemira responded with six kills and five blocks, including a block to seal the third game and two blocks on the Wildcats’ final two points of the second game.

“Today was a little odd, because our middle blocker is sick,” Niemira said. “Ian and I switched off this week playing middle, just to get a feel for it, but normally I will set.”

Other than 6-foot-6 senior middle blocker Conor McCauley, who chipped in three kills and a block on Wednesday, the Wildcats are visibly shorter than last year’s edition, but will look to capitalize on speed, defense and athleticism.

“We lost some of our height, but we’re looking to make up for that with our depth and athleticism,” Niemira said. “Right now, we’re actually at a better jumping-off point than last year’s team, so it’s just a matter of time. We’re going to be great. I know it.”

Lowell was hampered by unforced errors in all three games, but got its most significant contributions from underclassmen, which recorded eight of the Cardinals’ 16 total kills.

Sophomore outside hitter Samuel Blumenfeld led the late Lowell charge with all of his team-high four kills in the third game. Sophomore middle blocker Walter Cardillo also chipped in three kills and a block.

“It was huge for our young guys,” said Lowell head coach Steven Wesley. “We have a lot of young talent and our older guys are trying to lead the best they can, but we have some young ones who are eager to learn.”

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  1. JJ says:

    Now that SI has established itself as the best football, girls basketball and boys volleyball team in the City, we can now try to be the best baseball team in San Francisco.

    • IC Stars says:

      SHC 38
      SI 14

      Where’s the B-M Trophy again? Where’s that CCS Soccer trophy?

      • JJ says:

        I never said SI had the best soccer team in San Francisco. I forgot to mention that we have the best lacrosse team in California, though.

        • IC Stars says:

          SI had one of the best soccer teams in S.F. Good to see some improvement there and for SHC to take a soccer trophy home.

        • Josh Weinstein says:

          Where’s the CCS Championship football trophy? Oh, yeah, the one trophy that will never leave 2001 37th Ave.? The trophy won if front of 12,000 people? Thanks for coming out.

          Bruce Mahoney all time record: WOW, that’s a lot of red on that chart!

          Don’t get cocky, IC Stars. See you on the baseball diamond, the track, and of course for the first time ever in WCAL varsity lacrosse for the boys. A guaranteed blowout by SI by at least 20 goals (and that’s counting on SI sitting the starters in the 2nd half). And JJ, SI not only has the best boys lacrosse team in CA but also the #1 ranked team in the entire West which extends all the way to Texas. The SI girls lacrosse team finished last season ranked #1 in CA last season. SHCP will play varsity girls lacrosse for the first time next season. Welcome to WCAL lacrosse, Irish.

          • jbalan says:

            Sacred Heart Cathedral is playing its first girls varsity lacrosse season this year.

            • Josh Weinstein says:

              But they have left SI off their schedule. Too bad. Extending the SI & SHCP rivalry into another sport is great for both schools.

          • IC Stars says:

            “Cocky”??? Moi??? I gave you guys props for soccer. Plus, I sent your AD some shocking newspaper clippings he appreciated. For years we thought SHC started soccer in 1970 when they actually had a team dating back to 1918. So did SI. How about some credit for finding the “missing” football games played in 1894 and 1896?

  2. bread says:

    Good to see SF public schools field such increasingly strong boys volleyball teams. I have been an NCS fan (with 2 sons as players in HS.. then college) over here in Walnut Creek area for almost a decade, I have noted the ramp up in competitiveness in SF….plus an willingness to travel and schedule good teams from other Sections (CCS, NCS, and lately SAC).
    I recall a very good Balboa team at the Drake Trny a couple of years back.
    In the season opening Los Gatos Trny couple of weeks back,, Galileo battled among the CCS heavyweights and earned new respect from me. On Thurs 3/15 tony College Prep school in Oakland will host the Lions and I suspect Prep has their hands full.
    Lincoln had a great season also…in 2011..
    Stalwart Lowell certainly did some good damage at the UC Davis Tournament.last weekend. That is were my interest derives. I am an old Lowell grad happy to see the new wave in mens volleyball.

    • WCal Fan says:

      I wish Riordan would get a V team.

      • Crusader 88 says:

        It’s too bad Riordan never started a volleyball program. When I attended there in the mid to late 80’s there were lots of athletes in the school and they would of been competitive at least.

  3. Ari Gold says:

    Blah blah blah blah blah… This pissing match is never going to end. Just be happy with what you got and leave it at that… If youre not football, womens volleyball, men/womens soccer, men/womens hoops, or baseball, then 99% of the population doesnt care. Yes that includes you X-country, lacrosse, softball, wrestling, track, golf, mens volleyball, badminton, tennis, bowling, chess, checkers. You cannot drag 1% of the student body to attend any of these matches because its just irrelevant. They are just nice things to put on your college application.

    Bruce Mahoney
    Women’s Volleyball (CCS, D-3)
    Men’s Basketball (CCS, D-3)
    Women’s Basketball (CCS, D-3)
    Men’s Soccer (CCS, D-3)

    Football (CCS, D-3)
    Womens’ Basketball (WCAL Co-Ch#mps)

    • SI Cat says:

      Lacrosse is a pretty big deal at SI. The school absolutely keeps up with the team’s season and the results. (I think it’s because we are so competitive) The problem with lacrosse at SI, though, is that it’s almost pointless to go to games. The reason is that there isn’t very much competition in the bay area. Even the WCAL is lacking. Most of the competition comes from SOCAL and when the team travels outside CA. So it’s rare for a really good, fun game is played AT SI.

      • jbalan says:

        I agree. The Torrey Pines game last season at SI was the exception.

      • Roll Cats says:

        You’ll notice a huge SI contingent traveled out to San Ramon Valley to watch the Cats take down the Wolves in what was actually a thrilling match. I’m really hoping Sacred Heart develops a competitive lacrosse team because the sport is taking off on the West Coast and more competition between SI and SH benefits both schools. You’ll see top notch college teams come in and play at Kezar Stadium which creates quite a buzz and down the line, we could see SI and Sacred Heart bring exciting lacrosse matches to Kezar Stadium.

        Right now, it’s more realistic to think that SI will host it’s own version of Friday Night Lights in lacrosse perhaps as early as next year when they host San Ramon Valley. So many students enjoyed the atmosphere out at San Ramon Valley and they’ll be clamoring for a lights game of their own similar to the one the football team had against Riordan this year.

        But back to the point of the story, good to see the volleyball team winning some games, they had a magical run last season and lost the majority of that squad to graduation. Wins are a good sign that the volleyball program could stay strong for the next couple of years

        • Josh Weinstein says:

          That game was high school LAX at its best even though SI lost in OT. I’m happy SHCP is joining the fold in varsity and JV lacrosse. It’s a great sport that’s a great springboard into college for a lot of players at SI.

    • IC Stars says:

      You forgot crew. AAA used to have crew teams. I think it was in the 30’s. (No I wasn’t there).

      • Josh Weinstein says:

        Funny 1930s cmment. I can’t think of any other teams besides SI that have crew in SF. Riordan? SHCP? University? Urban?

        SI had an amazing run of crew for at least a decade with the 2006 team winning the national championship and world championship at Henley in England. The only international/world champion team I can think of that ever came out of a San Francisco high school. Are there any other schools who can make that claim?

        • SeanP says:

          A lot of my classmates in the 80’s at SH did crew as a club, but it was never recognized as an official “sport”.

          • Bball fan says:

            Pacific Rowing Club is still going strong. It’s boathouse is at Lake Merced and it’s members are a nice mix of rowers from all over the city. This “unofficial” sport is highly recruited, extremely demanding and easily produces some of the most fit high school athletes.

  4. JJ says:

    I actually think they should change the rules on the Bruce Mahoney trophy regarding football. Because if a team goes 1-1 in football in the SI-SHC matchup, it’s a tie…..SHC obviously won in basketball, so the baseball game at AT&T Park would be the deciding game on who wins the Bruce Mahoney. Both baseball game should also count, and if a 3rd game is played, that should be the deciding game. If it’s a tie in baseball, play 1 more game to decide the Trophy. If that’s not feasible, have a free throw contest amongst the basketball teams held at USF.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Ive said every year that Scudder and whoever SI’s principal is, should rewrite the BM competition and include the women’s teams in the series. The schools have been coed now for 20+ years and are very much in the fibers of the school. Tradition yes is important but so is evolution and continued growth which to me would shelve the notion this is just a boys trophy. Its a SCHOOL rivalry. Not an all-boys competition. Last time I checked both the schools have more females than males in the student population.

      Make it best of 5 (football, 1st match womens volleyball, 1st match womens hoops, 1st match mens hoops, and 1st match baseball).

      It wont happen though from what I hear. Its like trying to get a female member into the Master’s club. Boys will be boys.

      • Josh Weinstein says:

        COMPLETELY agree with you Ari Gold on allowing a girls sport into the fold for the Bruce Mahoney trophy. Too bad the tradition of having only three boys sports count.

        I would love to see girls volleyball and basketball included. It’s a great double header at USF every year anyway. Those girls deserve it. I wonder how the schools could be convinced to move forward with this idea.

        It could happen. SI’s Block Club let in its first female members in the early 1990s shattering an all male club that was 100 years old. It can be done. The schools ADs and Principals just have to move forward with the idea.

        • SeanP says:

          Good sound Idea. Only way this will happen is if all the girls rise up and DEMAND that it happen. This could be bigger than Occupy! ;-)

  5. bread says:

    The volleyball thread was basically highjacked but thats okay… but one point needs clarification.
    Mr. A.Gold’s evaluation: Re: spring sports, esp. Volleyball: : “99% of the population doesnt care. Yes that includes you others + mens volleyball, …” “You cannot drag 1% of the student body to attend… because its just irrelevant.”
    Clearly his provincial view laid upon an entire sport. But just 20 miles from SF…that view holds no water. Check 3 diff matches across the bay that cannot be reconciled with his earnest evaluation. (packed house..only viewed to the subdued losing side)
    Ya hear me now?

  6. BigMikeDC says:

    I’m looking forward to the baseball Bruce game @ AT&T (hopefully not rained out like last yr). SH lost a close one to St Francis yesterday. SI now 6-2, have a couple of D1 prospects. should be a good game.

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