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Volleyball (Boys Varsity) Cathedral High School

Season Review: Boys Volleyball 2024

By Tyler McClure | Jun 10, 2024 10:41 AM

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The Irish are back where they belong, and that’s fitting. Cathedral High School boys volleyball in 2024 continued re-establishing itself as one of the state of Indiana’s elite programs in its sport. A state final appearance provided a memorable ending. “We definitely put ourselves in that top tier and consideration for that top spot,” Cathedral boys volleyball coach Tyler McClure said. The Irish (28-4), after finishing No. 3 in the regular-season Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association rankings in McClure’s fourth season as coach, reached the state final in 2024. They lost a five-set thriller – 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 24-26, 15-12 – to two-time defending state champion Roncalli at Hinkle Fieldhouse. They swept Brebeuf in a state semifinal match. The Irish beat Valparaiso 3-0 in a regional semifinal, then beat Center Grove 3-0 on May 18 in the regional final to advance to the final four. The Irish swept Heritage Christian and Ben Davis (25-11, 25-17, 25-7) to win the sectional tournament on May 11. This was the last season for the IBVCA sanctioning the state tournament, with boys volleyball becoming an Indiana High School Athletic Association-sanctioned sport in 2025. This was the Irish’s first boys state title appearance since 2018 and 15th overall. “It kind of has been a slow build, and it really started last year,” McClure said. “We weren't able to get it done [in 2023], but we definitely took a good jump to getting the expectations to where we wanted them to be. “This year, these guys were aware of the history and really dedicated themselves to going after the 10th state title for the program for sure.” Keying the program in 2024 was a strong serve and serve receive game. “We went into matches targeting certain guys on the other side with our serves, and we could really pinpoint them and get the other team out of system, whether it was with aggressive float serves or some nasty jump serves,” McClure said. “We also had a very deep bench of hitters, so we at all times had three options at the net. “We had three incredibly talented middles, so we ran an untraditional three-middle offense but it helped us dominate it at the net with a strong block and strong offense.” Also key: A strong senior class. “This is my first four-year class, so to watch them grow from goofy, squirrelly freshmen to now serious grownups going off to college,” McClure said. “It's the fine balance in volleyball of having fun and being focused versus being on the other side where you're just being silly and unfocused and not productive. “These guys found a great balance to be on that line there where they were loose and having fun, but they were also playing super well and super locked into what we're trying to do.” The Irish in 2024 were a strong mix of senior leadership and talented youth: *Senior outside hitter Lincoln Hieser, a two-year starter who played all around in 2024 and served as captain: 287 kills, 147 digs, 131 points on serve. “He set the pace and really has a diverse offensive skill set,” McClure said. *Senior outside hitter Adam Miller, who McClure called “our emotional heartbeat:” 262 kills, 139 digs, 188 points on serve. “When he gets pumped up and fired up, everybody goes with him,” McClure said of Miller, who began his career as a libero on the junior varsity. “He's had quite the transformation,” McClure said. *Senior setter Austin Rowe: 116 kills, 167 digs, 243 points on serve. “He had a big offseason, really improved, and kind of forced his way onto the court,” McClure said. “He became a solid, steady leader for us.” *Senior defensive specialist Andrew Gerdts: 155 digs. “His serve receive was tremendous,” McClure said. *Senior outside hitter Brayden Ward: 24 kills, 66 digs. “He had a tough job in that I would just look at him and ask if he’s ready, then I’d send him in somewhere to kind of change the pace,” McClure said. *Senior Sam Allee and senior defensive setter Sam Snyder, who McClure called “two great program” guys who served as leaders this season. *Junior Nick Whitley, in his third season as a starting setter: 1,031 assists which is a Cathedral single season record. “He took a big jump in owning the offense,” McClure said. “He took a mental jump this year that took him to a new level.” *Junior middle hitter Ryan Peterson, a 6-feet-7 player who missed the first month and a half of the season with a torn hamstring: 194 kills. “There are stretches where he’ll just dominate the whole match,” McClure said. “He’s always up and ready. He’s able to hit around and over blocks.” Also key: Freshman libero Jake Werne, junior Mark Ugo, junior middle hitter Jaden Greenwell, sophomore outside hitter Quinn Braun, sophomore setter Kellen O'Brien, junior middle hitter Joren Kaiser, freshman middle hitter Owen Peterson, freshman outside hitter Eli Shepherd and freshman defensive setter Ethan Shepherd. “We were a well-balanced and a deep team,” McClure said. “The guys really bought into just playing their best. They realized they had a lot of potential and they put in the work to help themselves reach it. “We're going to miss the seniors, but it's a solid core coming back, and there's some talent potential on the JV as well. It's a good balance of seniors that we'll miss, but new guys coming in.”

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