Saturday, June 15

    Independence’s inaugural season ends in state semifinals

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    SPRINGFIELD—Independence’s inaugural season of boys’ volleyball ended with a 3-0 loss to Columbus St. Francis DeSales in a Division II state semifinal at Wittenberg University on Saturday.

    The Blue Devils, who closed out the campaign with an 11-5 record, dropped their Final Four match to the Stallions, 25-17, 25-14, 25-6.

    “I didn’t expect to be here,” said Independence coach Lexi Prokopius. “The fact they came from not really knowing volleyball at all to being at states is just crazy. I’ve had so many people come up to me saying, ‘This is a first-year program? That’s crazy.’ I’m excited for them and we’ll celebrate this as a team.”

    Landen Jatsek led the Blue Devils with seven kills and Joey Spacagna added two. Cubby Tripodi posted a team-high nine assists, and Sonny Sears led the Blue Devils with seven digs. Tripodi and Wyatt Snyder each contributed with six digs.

    Next season, the Blue Devils return nearly their entire roster.

    Prokopius is confident the state experience has inspired her players—and future Blue Devils—to work even harder in the future.

    “I think it’ll just make them want to play harder and play more and get more used to volleyball,” she said. “Honestly, they were all like, ‘Oh my gosh, like this is awesome.’ They were all very excited and I think seeing it and seeing more experienced players is what they needed.”


    Steve Hare
    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.


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