Tigers win district championship for eighth straight season

Holy Trinity sweeps Edgewood to extend title winning streak


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The Holy Trinity Tigers swept Edgeweod in three sets Thursday night to win their eighth straight district championship.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

With only three returning seniors, and only four players with varsity playing experience, there were some questions at the beginning of the season about whether or not the Holy Trinity volleyball team would be able to run its string of consecutive district championships to eight.

Well, that answer came Thursday night.

And that answer … was yes.

Led by seniors Mackenzie Sands, Taylor Mullen and Olivia Yochim, the Tigers defeated visiting Edgewood 25-22, 25-14 and 25-7 Thursday night in the Class 3A, District 10 championship match.

Holy Trinity (9-3) will host Four Corners of Davenport (7-3) in a regional quarterfinal match scheduled for next Thursday at 7 p.m.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m really excited,” Yochim said. “And I’m really proud of the team. I knew they could do it.”

Sands led Holy Trinity with 12 kills and had two blocks. Yochim had 11 kills and Mullen had 41 assists and 14 digs.

Sophomore Sophia Panarese had nine kills for Holy Trinity. Freshman libero Maya Collins had 31 digs and three aces. Eighth grader Isabelle Clark had three blocks. Sophomore Bella Rogers had two aces.

After a close first set that saw the score tied at 22-22 before the Tigers were able to pull it out, Holy Trinity dominated the final two sets to seal the victory and an eighth straight district title.

“I’ll tell you what, that’s the best we’ve played all year, which is a good thing, right?” Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski said. “That’s when you when you want to be playing at your best.

“It wasn’t easy. We went through a really rough patch for about two weeks. We were not playing well and we kind of sat down for a day and just kind of talked it out, just figured out what it is we wanted to accomplish.

“Things have been different over the last 10 days. Last night (in the semifinals against Cocoa Beach) we played well. Tonight, we played better than last night. I’m really proud of them.”

At that meeting, Yochim said, the players not only talked about their goals for the rest of the season, but what they wanted to fix on the court.

“After the talk, the team came out really strong,” she said. “We put what was on the board to work and it worked for us. I’m really proud of the team.”

It seemed kind of fitting that, as the Tigers were playing out the final points leading them to the championship, that the three players at the net were their three seniors – Mullen, Yochim and Sands.

“It was really and awesome feeling to have us three up there together, since we’ve been playing together since seventh grade,” Yochim said. “We’re friends outside of school. We hang out all the time.

“To win on the court together, as seniors, for our eighth district championship is awesome.”

The three seniors had talked over the summer about wanting to pass on the traditions of the Tigers program to the younger players, and to leave their legacy of adding to Holy Trinity’s district title winning streak.

That part of their mission is accomplished. But there’s still plenty of postseason volleyball to be played.

“We’ve left the legacy, but we’re hoping the next few games will push the legacy on more,” Yochim said. “We’re just really excited.”