Tigers score intense, dramatic win over Hawks


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Members of the Holy Trinity volleyball team celebrate after the Tigers defeated Viera 3-1 Monday night in an intense, entertaining matchup.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

It was intense. It was stressful. And the crowd was really into it.

In other words, it was one heck of a show.

The Viera High and Holy Trinity volleyball teams had quite the battle Monday night with momentum shifting throughout the four sets they played.

But in the end, it was the Tigers who made the big plays when they had to, and it was Holy Trinity that came away with the 3-1 win by scores of 25-22, 13-25, 25-21 and 25-22.

“It was a good match. It really was,” Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski said. “I know the girls are tired. I’m tired. That match, I’m sure, took a lot out of them because it was a grind out there.”

The first and fourth sets were probably the most dramatic.

Holy Trinity scored the first six points of the first set and led 12-3 at one point before Viera rallied to tie the score at 14-14. The Hawks (15-5) would eventually take their first lead of the night at 21-20, but Holy Trinity (10-5) would score five of the next six points to claim the set.

With Holy Trinity leading 2-1, it looked like the Hawks were going to force a fifth and deciding set when they took a 22-18 advantage. But once again, the Tigers finished strong, winning the final seven points to claim the victory and set off an emotional celebration.

“(There) was a lot of adrenaline,” Holy Trinity senior libero Carmen Zipf said when asked to describe what it was like playing in such an intense game.

“It was trying to keep yourself in the game while also making sure you’re staying calm and also making the right choices.

“You’re so caught up in trying to be everywhere. Sometimes, you’ll be super spazzy and you’ll hit the ball and shank it. You really have to stand, calm down, take a breath and put your mind back into it.”

Zipf led the Tigers with 23 digs. Senior setter Emily Noe had 23 assists, 18 digs and eight kills.

Freshman Sophia Panarese led Holy Trinity with 11 kills. Senior Shelby Seage had eight kills and two aces. Junior Taylor Mullen had 16 assists and three aces. Freshman Cassie Martin had a team-high eight blocks and sophomore Mackenzie Sands had two.

“We were not our best at serve-receive,” Klonowski said. “We were struggling, but I thought our setters and other players – when they had to – did a good job of getting some deliveries that, even if we were hitting roll shots, at least we were attacking and not just giving free balls back.

“I was pretty pleased with the defense. We had a lot of digs tonight and won some high-energy plays. It was some good stuff to see.”

Senior Delaney Lott led Viera with 17 kills, 16 digs, three aces and two blocks. Junior Savannah Reiser had 13 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore Kelly Merz led the Hawks with 19 digs and five aces. She also had seven assists.

Chloe Arellano had a team-high 17 assists and eight digs. Marisa Hulmes had 15 assists and three digs. Madi Hintz had five kills, three aces, five digs and two assists.

Senior Taylor Calloway led Viera with six blocks. Freshman Sydney Williams had three.

“It just didn’t go our way tonight,” Viera coach Sarah Wayne said. “I told them it was up to them to decide whether or not … they need to compete.

“We didn’t finish. We didn’t show up. We didn’t play in the middle. The girls need to understand that in order to do the things we want to do, and be the team we want to be, it’s not just talk. You’ve got to do it when you’re out there.”

The Tigers, who lost all five of their games at a tournament in Jacksonville earlier this year when most of their five seniors were missing due to ACT testing, can certainly use Monday night’s win as a momentum boost.

After all, they went into a noisy gym, against a good Viera team, and were able to grind out the win. That’s the kind of confidence-boosting victory that will bode well for the Tigers in the postseason.

“This is a tough opponent for us,” Klonowski said. “It is every single year. This is a hard gym to play in. … This is an important one for us. It really is.

“The girls should really be proud about this one.”