Tigers sweep into regional semis despite not playing their best

Holy Trinity one win away from going to regional finals for fourth straight year


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Holy Trinity's Aly Tyson (left) prepares to go for the kill off a set by teammate Emily Noe during Wednesday night's Class 3A regional quarterfinal against McKeel Academy. The Tigers swept McKeel in three sets.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Holy Trinity volleyball team is moving on to the regional semifinals of the FHSAA Class 5A playoffs.

But if the Tigers want to reach their ultimate goal of getting to the Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers to play for the state championship, they’re going to need to step up their game.

Holy Trinity dispatched visiting McKeel Academy 25-12, 25-12 and 25-18 in the quarterfinals Wednesday night.

The Tigers (19-6) will travel to Lake Placid on Tuesday to play the Dragons (20-7) for the right to move on to the regional finals.

“Any win at this time of year is a good win,” Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski said after the win the win over McKeel.

“I think we have a lot to work on though between now and next Tuesday. I don’t think playing at that level will allow us to advance. We have to do some things better.”

Lara Boos had 19 kills to lead the Tigers against McKeel. Emily Noe had 38 assists, 10 digs, six kills and two aces. Cassie Martin had seven kills and one block. Layla Matthews had four kills and Aly Tyson had three.

Shelby Seage had three kills to go with six digs and two aces. Carmen Zipf had seven digs and three aces. Olivia Yochim and Jen Panarese both had two aces.

Among the areas Klonowski would like to see the Tigers improve on between now and Tuesday are their blocking skills and their first-contact ball control, particularly on a free ball or a roll shot.

“We are not passing the ball effectively when we have good opportunities to score,” he said.

While the Tigers never seemed in serious danger in either of first two sets, the third set was definitely a battle as McKeel picked up its game and Holy Trinity struggled to find an answer until they pulled away in the closing moments.

“Without a doubt, they started playing better,” Klonowski said. “I don’t think we were at our best tonight. We were fortunate. But like I said, any win at this time of year is a great win.”

Tyson, while saying she thought the Tigers “executed everything we’ve been working on in practice,” agreed the team can still get better.

“We still have a lot to work on and I’m excited to see what we can do in practice this week,” she said.

A win over Lake Placid would send the Tigers to the regional finals for the fourth straight year as the team seeks its first final four bid – and beyond.

With perennial state title contender Lake Highland Prep, which defeated the Tigers in the past two regional finals, already out of the playoffs, the road to the final four for Holy Trinity might be clearer, though it still won’t be easy.

This year’s senior class is determined to get there.

“The captains, we had a talk with everyone on the team,” Tyson said. “We want to make sure everyone’s motivated. We all think we have a chance that we could make it to the state finals this year.

“We really want to push through and make it there and win.”