Archbishop Hoban is headed back to Capital University for the second year in a row to compete for a Division II boys volleyball state championship.

Hoban finished state runner-up last year in the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association Division II state tournament to Kettering Archbishop Alter.

The Knights defeated Dublin Scioto three sets to one in a state semifinal a year ago and then lost to Alter 3-2 in the final to finish with a 21-5 record.

Coach Jeremy Leyden knows all about the recent past, and is excited for a return trip to Capital with a squad that is 15-7.

Hoban will meet Alter once again at 5 p.m. Saturday in a state semifinal, with Cincinnati La Salle playing Columbus St. Charles at 6:45 p.m. in the other semifinal. The winners will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Hoban is led by its six seniors — Jack Bahmer, Jeremy Leyden Jr., Michael Davies, Kyle Hrabusa, Tom Galvin and Eddie Strah.

Leyden Sr. said Hoban also receives solid play this season drom juniors Kyle Kubus, Ryan Henry, Josh Jones and Johnny Lawrence, and sophomores Tommy Radabaugh, Connor Grandon, Jon Owen and Tommy Bee.

“We are on the younger side with contributions coming from seniors, juniors and sophomores,” Leyden Sr. said. “We entered the season a little bit inexperienced, but this is a very talented group.

“We are coming into this and going up against Alter, who is the No. 1 seed, and they have won the state championship six out of the past seven years. They are very good.”

Hoban enters the state tournament with six wins in a row, including a regional semifinal win over Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (3-0) and a regional final win over Walsh Jesuit (3-2). The Knights ended the regular season with wins over Brecksville, Lakewood St. Edward, Brunswick and Medina.

“We played a very tough VA-SJ team and then we played a very talented Walsh Jesuit team,” said Leyden Sr., a 46-year-old Cuyahoga Falls resident who graduated from Walsh Jesuit (1990), Syracuse University (1994) and the University of Akron (2002).

“Those wins qualified us for the state tournament.”

Seven of Hoban’s top nine players from last season were seniors who graduated, including Austin Gerwig, Lance Talmage, Carson Miller, Dominic Didado, Henry Schwendler, Brandon Eckman and Conner Maloy.

Gerwig was named the Division II North Region Player of the Year and the State Player of Year in 2017. He played his freshman year at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and recently transferred to play on the Ohio State men’s volleyball team.

“We lost a lot from last year,” Leyden Sr. “We entered this season with six seniors, but only two [Bahmer and Leyden Jr.] had played varsity before. This is a new experience for a lot of these guys.”

Leyden Jr. is a setter and a Mount Union men’s volleyball recruit. He was named the Division II North Region Player of the Year and is a first-team All-Ohio selection. Bahmer, a middle hitter, earned Division II honorable mention All-Ohio honors.

Jackson, a Division I state quarterfinalist, was among Hoban’s regular-season foes. The Knights and Polar Bears split two matches.