BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Despite a sluggish start, Holy Trinity Catholic rolled to a 25-22, 25-10, 25-7 win over visiting Danville on Thursday night in Southeast Iowa Superconference volleyball action.
The Lady Crusaders, now 20-3 on the season, had trouble shaking the Bears in game one, even with an 11-3 lead to start the game. Danville came back and tied the game at 17 and the two teams traded points until HTC was up 23-20. Emily Box got a kill to put the Crusaders up 24-20 but Danville hung around to put up two more points before Holy Trinity was able to put the game away on the next rally.
Junior Emily Box had a team-high eight blocks to lead Holy Trinity. But she said the first game the team just made too many mistakes.
“The first game we just had a lot of mental mistakes and errors. Those are pretty easy to fix. I think the second game we picked it up and played better,” Box said.
Head Coach Melissa Freesmeier said she’d been waiting for Box to step up defensively with the blocks.
“Box was a force at the net tonight and we haven’t seen that in a while, so I think she had some fun with that,” Freesmeier said.
She also led the team with 20 kills on 27 attacks on the offensive side of the match. She leads the state in Class 1A with 330 kills on the season, a full 50 ahead of North Tama sophomore Katie Kopriva.
Freesmeier agreed that the girls made too many mistakes out of the gate.
“We just made too many errors in that game,” she said. “We had four hitting errors in a row and and at some point you have to correct that. We didn’t control the ball like we like to do and in games 2 and 3 we did.”
The Crusaders rolled easier through the second and third sets of the match without much of a stand from Danville.
Senior Maya Rashid, who leads the state in Class 1A with 562 assists on the year after tonight, had 28 assists on the night, eight digs, and was 5 of 6 serving.
Senior Samantha Hoenig continued her torrid pace from the serving line going 24 of 24 with 10 aces. Hoenig has a 98.9% serve efficiency on the year and is second in the state in Class 1A on successful serves with 279.
The Crusaders are coming off their 2nd loss of the season to New London at the Superconference finals Saturday at SCC after knocking off Central Lee and West Burlington both 2-0.
Freesmeier said coming into the season she knew New London would have a strong program.
“We’re 1-2 with them right now. They have a great program and those are the games you wait for and you find out who at the end has the will to win,” she said. “We fell short Saturday night but it wasn’t from a lack of effort and the kids are looking forward to going back out there again.”
Box said for the year the Crusaders still have some kinks to work out.
“I think for the year we still have to work at getting better and I hope we can make those changes before it becomes real for all of us in a couple weeks,” she said.
The Crusaders will face some of their stiffest competition of the year on Saturday when they travel to Urbandale for an invitational and then head to New London on Thursday to try and even the season series there.