Tigers sweep way to seventh straight district volleyball title


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Members of the Holy Trinity volleyball team pose with the Class 3A, District 10 championship trophy after sweeping Cocoa Beach in the final Thursday night. The Tigers have now won seven straight district titles.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Holy Trinity volleyball team has come a long way since the beginning of the season.

And the Tigers have another district championship to prove it.

Holy Trinity defeated visiting Cocoa Beach 25-9, 25-8, 25-12 Thursday night to win the Class 3A, District 10 championship.

It’s the seventh straight district title for the Tigers (13-11) and guarantees Holy Trinity a spot in the state playoffs that begin next week.

“The difference from the beginning of the season until the end, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come, how much better we’ve gotten,” Holy Trinity senior Emily Noe said.

The Tigers certainly appeared to be in a business-only mood right from the start, jumping out to an early lead over the Minutemen and cruising to victory.

Noe led the way with 14 assists, 10 kills, seven digs, four aces and one block. Olivia Yochim had seven kills and two blocks. Kayla Burge had 11 digs. Taylor Mullen had 19 assists, five digs and two aces.

Cassie Martin had seven kills, four blocks and seven digs. Sophia Panarese had a team-high 13 digs and four kills. Shelby Seage had nine digs and six kills. Layla Mathews had two kills and Mackenzie Sands had one.

“I thought we were focused. I thought we were on point and I thought we stayed that way for the (whole) match,” Tigers coach Pete Klonowski said. “I didn’t see any letdown. I just saw them being competitive ball after ball. Even late in the game, we were running down balls in the corner.”

The Tigers (13-11), who have been to four straight regional finals, believe another deep playoff run is not out of the question.

“Our serve has been effective all year long and our defense is getting better and better,” Klonowski said. “We’re doing a better job of reading. We’re doing a better job of keeping balls in play. I think we’re a little bit more motivated where we’re really pursuing balls aggressively.

“Earlier in the season, that ball may have dropped. That’s not happening anymore. We’re pursuing the ball relentlessly right now. That’s paying a lot of dividends for us right now.”

Holy Trinity will open up the state playoffs next Thursday night at home against an opponent to be determined.

Under the new playoff format set up by the FHSAA, district champions earn the top four seeds in each region while the remaining four playoff teams are determined by MaxPrep rankings.

And unlike past seasons, where the Tigers faced off against teams from the Orlando area, their new region features teams from down south.

But no matter what, the Tigers say they will be ready.

“We’ve never seen the teams before, so we’re playing new competition,” Noe said. “We’re coming in with a fresh start. I think it will be good.”