The Hilliard Darby High School boys volleyball team could not overcome its mistakes in the Division I state championship match June 4, falling to Cleveland St. Ignatius 25-18, 26-24, 25-19 at Capital University.
“We made far too many unforced errors, which is uncharacteristic for this team,” coach Bryan Webb said. “It was not indicative of the season we had. But credit St. Ignatius. They were the best team here in the past two days, without a doubt.”
Darby, which beat Cincinnati Elder 25-18, 11-25, 25-19, 25-18 in a state semifinal earlier in the day, finished 25-5.
“We struggled early with Elder because they had scouted us really well and they were sending two and three blockers at us,” Webb said. “We made some adjustments and spread the ball around more.
“We tried to make changes against St. Ignatius, too, but it wasn’t so much them digging everything we hit, it’s that we weren’t giving them enough to dig. Our hitting was off. Then we tightened up and weren’t swinging as hard. But I believe if we play them 10 times, we likely go 5-5. It just wasn’t our best match.”
St. Ignatius, which was making its 10th consecutive state appearance, finished 23-3 after making it through the quarterfinal round for the first time.
Brad Brinkerhoff had 12 kills and a block to lead Darby, and Mason Moldovan had seven kills and a block. Robert Bowling also had seven kills and Nick Hermosilla had three kills and two blocks.
The Panthers, who had 31 errors, fell behind 6-2 in each of the first two games and rallied from a 14-8 deficit to take their first lead of the match at 18-17 in the second game. They led 20-17 before St. Ignatius rallied.
Darby’s final lead was 6-5 in the third game. The Panthers trailed 19-12 before pulling within 20-17.
“We had chances, particularly in the second game, to change the match, but we gave the momentum right back,” Webb said.