Boys’ volleyball prepares for second season after Final Four appearance

After an incredible inaugural season and a Final Four appearance in the first Ohio High School Athletic Association boys’ volleyball tournament, the Independence High School Blue Devils return to the court this spring.

Last year’s launch of the IHS boys’ volleyball program coincided with the OHSAA sanctioning volleyball as a sport. In late spring, the first practice was held with 13 boys in grades 9-12 learning how to play volleyball.

The team went 10-4 in the regular season and advanced to the OHSAA boys’ volleyball Division II Final Four at Wittenberg University in Springfield. In the historical semifinal match, the Blue Devils faced state powerhouse Columbus St. Frances DeSales and, unfortunately, lost the match in three sets.

The Blue Devils will start their second season with 11 returning players and add a few underclassmen. The roster includes first-year team captain and senior Wyatt Snyder along with other standouts seniors Nathan Bernstein, Alex Eisenmann, Landon Jatsek, Joey Jirmasek and Khalil McDonald.

IHS alumna Lexi Prokopius will return for her second season as the team’s head coach. Prokopius was a 4-year varsity member of the Independence High School girls’ volleyball team and played two years in college. She played Junior Olympic volleyball for six years and coached at the Junior Olympic level for four years.

“The excitement from last year and our appearance in the inaugural state volleyball tournament has us really looking forward to getting started this spring,” said Prokopius. “We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.”

The boys’ volleyball team begins its second season on March 8 at Nordonia High School. The first home match is March 12 versus Akron St. Vincent St. Mary, who lost to Columbus St. Frances De Sales in the state championship match. ∞

Photo: There are 11 players from last year’s inaugural team (above) returning for the second season. Photo submitted.