BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Well…two of the best volleyball teams in the state in Class 1A are going to meet in a regional semifinal Thursday.
No. 5-ranked Holy Trinity Catholic made fairly easy work of Seymour Monday night in regional quarterfinals at Shottenkirk Gymnasium 25-6, 25-10, 25-15 and 6th-ranked New London downed Moravia 25-5, 25-7, 25-7 in New London to set up the donnybrook in New London on Thursday night beginning at 7 p.m.
The two teams have split four matches already this year with both playing in the Southeast Iowa Superconference. Aside from a 21-17, 21-18 loss in the Keokuk Invitational at the beginning of the season, the two teams went into tie breakers in each of the last three meetings, with HTC winning two of those three. New London won the SEISC tournament 21-25, 25-22, 16-14.
“It’s going to be a dog fight, no doubt about that. It’s unfortunate that we are playing each other in the semifinal, but that’s not our call. We’re going to go in and do the best we can on our side and they will do the same, so it will be a great matchup as it has been all year,” Head Coach Melissa Freesmeier said.
Junior Emily Box led the Crusaders against Seymour going 22 to 23 attacking and 12 kills. She also was 13-13 serving with 12 digs and five blocks defensively. Eryn Anderson went 16 of 18 attacking with eight kills and was 16-17 serving with five aces and 10 digs. Senior Maya Rashid was 6 of 6 serving with a couple aces and five digs and was solid again setting with 24 assists.
Mya Lawlor was 6-of-7 serving with 12 digs. Sam Hoenig led the Crusaders at the service line going a perfect 20-20 with four aces. Taylor Boeding was 9 of 9 with an ace and went 15 of 17 attacking with four kills.
Lawlor was on the court for her first match of the year after suffering a left knee injury during soccer season. Lawlor hadn’t been cleared by a physician until Thursday to play competitively, but had been participating in workouts on a limited basis throughout the year.
She said it felt good to be back on the floor with her teammates in a game situation.
“It felt awesome. I was so happy to be out there again,” Lawlor said. “I told coach I definitely wanted to play because I just got released last Thursday with no restrictions.”
Lawlor said the game situation was a bit different.
“It was different to be in a game. But I was really excited. For sure there were some nerves but my knee feels pretty good. It’s a little sore, but I’ve been doing this a long time.”
Freesmeier said the team, as much as Lawlor, has been itching to get her back on the floor.
“She’s just been working hard all year and the girls have been pushing to get her back on the court. They wanted her as bad as she wanted to be on the floor,” Freesmeier said.