No. 5 Crusaders sweep Tigers


HTC is 12-1 over the last eight days

NEW LONDON — A sweep against an SEI Superconference South Division team is big any time, Melissa Freesmeier said after her Holy Trinity volleyball team rolled past New London on Tuesday night.
But the No. 5 (Class 1A) Crusaders’ 25-15, 25-17 25-18 win over No. 10 New London was a sign of just how mature and confident Freesmeier’s team has become.
The Tigers were no pushover — it seems no one is in the loaded South — but the Crusaders always seemed to have an answer.
“We did some good things, but there were some long rallies,” Freesmeier said. “They’re a great defensive team. At the end of the day, we swept somebody in the South who is a very good team, and program.”
The Crusaders (17-4) have gone 12-1 over the last eight days, with their only loss coming to No. 1 Notre Dame in the SEI Superconference championship match on Saturday night.
The best sign of how the Crusaders have grown came in the second game, when they trailed 10-5 after a stretch in which they gave up 9 of 10 points to the Tigers.
Freesmeier called a timeout, and after that Holy Trinity rattled off eight consecutive points to take a lead they would not surrender.
“That was good,” Freesmeier said. “We just settled in, and did what we needed to do.”
Every game had a mix of big hitters, especially in the third, when Natalie Randolph (4 kills), Brooke Mueller (3 kills, 1 block), Kassi Randolph (1 kill), Mary Kate Bendlage (1 kill), Reagan Holvoet (1 kill) and Kayla Box (1 kill) each played key roles.
“It’s going to be good for us later gaining confidence for our hitters,” Freesmeier said. “The other team isn’t sure where the ball is going. I think we’re building momentum.”
Box was especially effective in the middle.
“She’s getting some touches on blocks, and she’s getting some kills,” Freesmeier said. “That’s going to be huge for us to open up our outsides. And I think Kassi and Nat do a good job of mixing up the ball.”
The Crusaders get WACO at home on Thursday night before a schedule the following week that includes road matches at Van Buren and West Burlington and a home match against Cardinal.
“It just doesn’t get any easier,” Freesmeier said. “But that only makes us better.”

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