FORT MADISON – Clean.
Holy Trinity Catholic Head Coach Melissa Freesmeier said that was her takeaway from the Crusaders' championship at the annual Holy Trinity Classic Monday night at Shottenkirk Gym in Fort Madison.
The Crusaders breezed through the Blue Pool play, downing Keokuk 21-9 21-8 and Fort Madison 21-12, 21-8. Their toughest foe of the night turned out to be Danville who took Holy Trinity to 21-19 in the first set. The Crusaders settled in in the second set for a 21-13 win.
The 3-0 performance in the pool play set up a championship match with Wapello who went 2-1 in the Silver Pool and won by a tiebreaker over Burlington.
The Crusaders set the tone quickly after having to sit through about a two-hour break waiting for the Silver Pool to finish up. That side of the bracket had three matches go into tiebreakers.
Holy Trinity raced to a 12-1 lead with Natalie Randolph serving 11 straight points. Sophomore Presley Myers had three kills in the run until the Arrows' Rachel Hoeg got a side out with a kill.
But Wapello wouldn’t be able to put anything together the rest of the way, managing just two more points before HTC put the set away.
The second set saw Wapello battle back from an 11-4 deficit when Holy Trinity seemed to lose the momentum with three attacks that went awry. The short-lived let down allowed Wapello to close the gap to four at 11-7.
The Crusaders then would go on a 5-3 run with senior Mary Kate Bendlage holding serve and getting a kill from Adalyn Kruse at 15-7. Wapello again pushed back on a 5-1 run with Kruse, Natalie Randolph, and Myers all missing on attacks at the net.
Hoeg would get another kill for Wapello to cut the lead to 16-12, but then Randolph, Myers, and Anna Bendlage all got kills to wrap up the title 21-12.
“I thought the last game with Wapello we did some really good things, We looked smooth and we weren’t missing our serve,” said HTC Head Coach Melissa Freesmeier.
“Earlier today we missed some serves that we don’t normally miss. But I like the way our kids are coming together defensively and doing great things.”
Freesmeier said she’d like to see the Crusaders a little quicker at this point, but she said you can always find something to do better.
“I’d say we need to get a little faster. We can always find improvement, but from day one to now, we’re getting better and better. Kids are getting to know each other and we’re starting to see the youth and the seniority really mixing well,” she said.
Wapello would claim second place with the title match loss. Burlington would take third place, knocking off Keokuk in the consolation match.
Fort Madison went 0-3 on the day losing to HTC, Keokuk in a tiebreaker loss at 21-11, 17-21, 7-15, and to Danville 21-19, 21-18.
Central Lee also went 0-3 at the Classic falling to Mediapolis 21-12, 21-7, Burlington 21-15, 21-14, and to Wapello 21-17, 21-6.
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