St. Augustine tops University City, keeps grasp on first place in Eastern League
Senior Patrick O’Leary leads Saints to 24-19, 24-26, 25-21, 25-18 victory in Eastern League showdown
It was Senior Night at University City High School on Thursday night.
But it turned out to be the wrong senior who soared to the forefront.
After University City claimed the second set and nearly the third one after a bad call at the net, St. Augustine rallied behind senior outside hitter Patrick O’Leary for a 25-19, 24-26, 25-21, 25-18 victory to retain first place in the Eastern League boys volleyball race.
O’Leary, who had a team-high 13 kills in the first meeting in a 25-20, 25-10, 25-17 win, collected 14 of his 17 kills in the final two sets.
That’s when the Saints (17-7, 9-1) needed him the most.
“The first time we were healthy and we caught them off-guard,” O’Leary said. “They came with more energy this time. Every team wants to put on a show for Senior Night, but we rebounded after a couple of big setbacks for the win.
“We play a lot of close games like the third set and we’ve learned how to hold our heads up when things are going badly.”
Senior Dash Martin of University City (19-10, 7-3) took game kill honors with 25 kills along with three aces and two blocks.
Martin led the third set charge with eight kills and he finished the night with six kills and three blocks in the last set.
The league leaders, now 13-6 on the road, have won their last four matches, none as tense as Thursday night’s.
After winning the first set, St. Augustine gave up a 5-0 run at the end of the second set to allow the Centurions to tie the match.
There were only two lead changes in the third set, but the score was tied 12 times as Saints, whose last CIF title was in 2012 when they won the Division IV crown, never relinquished the lead after claiming it at 10-9.
“I think this sends a message to them and to us,” O’Leary said. “We’re a better team than what people saw tonight.
“Our game plan going into matches is to not let the other team think they even have a chance to win. We have to stay sharp to make that work.”
University City, which is now 7-2 at home, also got eight kills and two blocks from senior Shabob Asgari, while Lincoln Holzman added five blocks.
The Centurions hurt their own cause with 14 serving errors compared to just three by Saints, who had nine net errors.
Aiding O’Leary was Isaiah Hasten with six kills and two blocks along with Will Stonewell, who had six kills and six blocks.
Andy Boeh, also a senior, added 10 kills for Saints.
Monahan is a freelance writer.