HTC joins tie-break to reach semi-finals> PenCityCurrent.com
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
CEDAR RAPIDS – Holy Trinity saw its 10-year streak of state volleyball tournaments halted last season.
The Crusaders are back at Alliant Energy PowerHouse, and they decided to stay as long as they could on Tuesday night.
Holy Trinity’s 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 20-25, 15-8 victory over Janesville in the Class 1A quarterfinals was all about Crusader endurance.
âWe didn’t want to come home tonight,â said senior Kassi Randolph, and so they won’t, although it took the Crusaders nearly two hours to stay alive in the tournament.
The fourth-seeded Crusaders will face the SEI Superconference South Division rival and seed Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Nikes knocked out Holy Trinity last season en route to the state championship, and they’ve had two wins over the Crusaders this season.
âLosing twice to them gives us more motivation,â said sophomore Natalie Randolph, who had 11 kills. âAnd we are ready for them.
The Crusaders have been ubiquitous at the state tournament, but many of the current squad have little to no experience playing here. And often it showed.
âYou forget they haven’t been here,â Holy Trinity coach Melissa Freesmeier said.
“I think they got a little nervous before they settled down.”
âI think our whole squad was nervous,â said Kayla Box, who saw her sister play here and was a reserve in the 2019 Crusaders squad. âFor many of us it was a new environment.
Janesville is another perennial state qualifier – it was the Wildcats’ 12th consecutive appearance – and Freesmeier knew it wouldn’t be easy.
âThey are not going to give in,â she said. âThey’ve been here, done that.
But when he was 7-7 in the fifth set, the game suddenly belonged to the Crusaders.
Kayla Box had one block, Kassi Randolph had killed, then Box had another block.
âWhen we needed it there, we got the job done,â Freesmeier said. âAt the end of the day, we got the job done. “
âWe really started to play our game,â said junior Brooke Mueller, who had 13 kills, including three in the final 5-0 inning that ended the game.
“We finally got together in Game 5,” said Natalie Randolph.
It was all about endurance.
“I was really exhausted,” said Kassi Randolph, who had ice packs on her neck during late-game timeouts. “But that says it all.”
âI think we have the motivation, the stamina, to stay with the other teams,â said Mueller. âEven when we are dejected and we fight, we will retaliate. “
The Crusaders’ nerves showed early when Janesville won Game 1. Holy Trinity had enough games to win the next two games, then the Wildcats fought off a late run to win the fourth.
âWe (have settled in) sometimes. And then we didn’t do it sometimes, âFreesmeier said.
âI think we had some nervousness in the opener,â said Kassi Randolph. âAfter that, we were ready to play.
Now the Crusaders are comfortable, still alive and have the chance to face a rival.
Not a bad opening act.
âWe just like to give fans what they want,â Freesmeier said.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL Natalie Randolph 13, Brooke Mueller 13, Natalie Randolph 11, Mary Kate Bendlage 9, Kayla Box 5, Reagan Holvoet 1. AID Kassi Randolph 21, Natalie Randolph 14, Anna Sobczak 7, Mary Kate Bendlage 3, Brooke Mueller 2, Kayla Box 1. HOLLOWS Anna Sobczak 31, Mary Kate Bendlage 18, Natalie Randolph 14, Kassi Randolph 13, Teagan Snaadt 10, Brooke Mueller 6, Kayla Box 4, Teagan Denning 3, Alexa Dingman 2, Reagan Holvoet 1. BLOCKS Kayla Box 3, Reagan Holvoet 1, Brooke Mueller 1.