Lake Highland Prep ends Holy Trinity’s final four hopes

Bright future still lies ahead for Tigers


Published:

Holy Trinity's Emily Vaught (No. 8) beats the Lake Highland Prep block during Tuesday night's Class 5A regional final. The Tigers won the point, but the Highlanders took the match.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Holy Trinity volleyball team may have been denied a trip to the final four, but there is plenty to indicate the Tigers could be knocking on that door again very soon.

Lake Highland Prep, perhaps the favorite to win the Class 5A state championship, ended Holy Trinity’s season Tuesday night with a 25-14, 25-11, 25-16 victory in the regional final.

“Great team they are,” Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski said. “They’re solid. You’ve got to have a good … tight, solid (match to beat them). Give them a lot of credit.

“They made a lot of serving errors, but they hurt us with their serve, got us out of system and their ball control was good. We had a lot of trouble handling their offense. They’re pretty fast offensively.”

Junior Emily Tobkes led the Tigers with six kills on the night while senior Kendall Vaught had five and sophomore Lara Boos had four. Freshman setter Emily Noe had 19 assists and a team-high 10 digs. Emily Vaught had the team’s only ace and also had one block. Tobkes also had a block. Courtney Noe had eight digs.

It was the second straight season Holy Trinity (16-5) has advanced to the regional final only to come up just short of reaching the final four. Last year’s team reached the Class 4A regional finals before losing to eventual state runner-up Ocala Trinity Catholic.

“We’ve got a little more work to do to try to get over that hump,” Klonowski said.

Fortunately, the Tigers have plenty of potential help already in the pipeline.

Not only did the JV team go 10-1 this season, but there is plenty of youth in the system that will only get better over time.

“We’re very young in the program,” Klonowski said. “We only had a total of 14 kids in the entire program (of 35 players) that are between ninth and 12th grade.

“We have a lot of seventh and eighth graders. We’re young, we’ve still got things to do, but we’re coming along. Each year, we seem to get a little bit better. We’re trying to keep building on that.”

And while this season didn’t end the way the Tigers were hoping it would, you can’t take away from the fact that Holy Trinity – once again – had a very good year. Not only did it win the district title, it made it to what was essentially the Elite Eight in the state.

That’s something to be proud of.

“It was a really good season. I’m proud of the girls,” Klonowski said. “We came a long way. Our No. 1 goal is to always make sure you win that district championship and we were able to do that.

“It wasn’t easy, but we were able to do that. And we got to be successful in the first two rounds of the state (tournament). I think Lake Highland will go far. They’re a strong team. They always are.”

Unfortunately, Tuesday night marked the final match in the Holy Trinity careers of seniors Kendall Vaught and Sadie Girard.

“We would not have had the success we enjoyed this season without the leadership of our senior team captains Sadie Girard and Kendall Vaught,” Klonowski said.