Lady Crusaders move up four spots to No. 5 in Class 1A
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – Holy Trinity has a long wait before getting its first shot at defending Class 1A state champion Notre Dame, so it was good to go into the break with a win.
The Crusaders opened SEI Superconference play on Thursday night, sweeping Danville 25-11, 25-13, 25-14 at Shottenkirk Gymnasium.
Holy Trinity, ranked fifth in the IGHSAU Class 1A rankings that were released earlier in the day, doesn’t play again until the Sept. 14 home match against the top-ranked Nikes. The Crusaders have the Tri-State Rodeo week off, and don’t play in a tournament this weekend.
“I’d rather play. But then again, we’re going to be busy after that,” Holy Trinity coach Melissa Freesmeier said. “We’re just going to try to keep them focused, just be ready for the next match.”
Holy Trinity opened the season last Saturday, going 4-2 in a tournament at Bondurant-Farrar High School. The Crusaders took control of the Bears (1-1) early and never let up.
Freesmeier said her team appreciated the energy of the crowd, something that was missing at times last season because of the attendance restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holy Trinity’s junior varsity team rallied to defeat Danville in three games before the varsity match, and Freesmeier thought that set a tone.
“I loved the crowd,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve seen that for a while, and I think we missed that. (The JV win) got the atmosphere going, the energy going, and (the varsity) just wanted to follow suit. I thought it was awesome for the kids to have that back, because last year was so weird.”
Holy Trinity had a balanced hitting attack. Kassi Randolph led the Crusaders with nine kills, while Natalie Randolph, Mary Kate Bendlage and Brooke Mueller each had eight kills. Reagan Holvoet had four kills, and Kayla Box had two.
“That’s key,” Freesmeier said. “That’s what we like to see, nice and balanced. We can go anywhere, and we want to keep that middle block really wondering.
“I thought we mixed it up well. I thought we stayed aggressive, ran some things. I liked how we looked today.”
Natalie Randolph led the Crusaders with 18 assists, while Kassi Randolph had eight. Anna Sobczak had 14 digs and four assists. Holvoet had two blocks, while Box, Mueller and Kassi Randolph each had one.
The Crusaders also had a strong serving night. Natalie Randolph was 18-of-19 with three aces. Kassi Randolph was 16-of-17. Mueller was 9-of-10 with an ace.