Senior Night was special both on and off the court for Holy Trinity’s A.K. Harmon and Sydney Brito on Tuesday.
On the court, the Tigers dominated the West Shore Wildcats in the first two sets, then pulled away late to complete a 25-11, 25-17, 25-20 sweep in a Class 3A, District 10 match.
Off the court, the two friends made a day of it, having what Harmon called “a senior outing” after school before returning to the gym to find it decorated in their honor and their names written in chalk just outside the doors.
“It was really sweet,” Brito said. “We definitely felt really special tonight.”
Holy Trinity (6-11) has now won three in a row and displaying the kind of focus and energy that has led to eight consecutive district titles.
“I think what mainly pushed us through this game was our energy,” Brito said. “We were, obviously, really excited. It was a big adrenaline game. But also, our service pressure on their serve/receive was just too much for them to handle.
“We have a really great serve on this team … and our serve and serve/receive game is kind of what beat them out for the most part. We had some really big hitters tonight. Isabelle Clark did really well. Bella Rogers, it’s her birthday. She played really well tonight, too.”
Clark, a freshman, led the Tigers with 11 kills on Tuesday. Rogers, a junior, had eight kills, four aces, eight digs and four assists.
Harmon had a team-high 32 assists to go with four kills and five digs. Sophomore Maya Collins had 17 digs. Junior Sophia Panarese had eight kills and nine digs. Sophomore Dailya Wydner had three kills and two digs. Brito had three aces and six digs. Junior Kareena Mathews had two aces and four digs.
“I was pretty pleased with it,” Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski said. “In the third set, we had a little bit of a letdown, but we were able to finish it out. I was really pleased with the first two sets. I thought we were very strong mentally. We were making really good decisions, understanding what was going on around us and we were really efficient.
“In the third set, I think we kind of went back to some of the things we used to do. So, we’ve still got some work to do to make sure we can keep that competitive level for a long time.”
With the district tournament approaching in two weeks, the Tigers appear to have righted themselves after a tough stretch that saw them lose 10 consecutive matches.
Harmon and Brito said the Tigers had several team meetings to work out their issues – including building trust among each other – and making sure they maintain their focus.
“Some of it’s our own fault, some of it’s playing really good teams,” Klonowski said. “You know me – anybody, anywhere, anytime. You schedule Vero (Beach), Osceola, Bishop Moore and then go play in the Elite Division (at a tournament) in Jacksonville, it’s pretty sporty.
“But we learned a lot of stuff about where we really have to improve. And it’s starting to come around. … The last couple of matches, we’ve played pretty solid. We had a little let down in the third set, but for the most part, we were pretty strong tonight.”
Getting the win, and all the festivities that came with it, made the night even more special for Holy Trinity’s two seniors.
“I’ve been at Holy Trinity for six years now, and I’ve been here for two years on the varsity,” Harmon said. “Especially just this last season, it’s probably been some of my favorite memories that I’ll keep forever.
“I love all the girls on the team. I couldn’t ask for a better senior season.”
Brito, who transferred to Holy Trinity last year, has had an “amazing” experience.
“From the administration to the staff, the teachers, the students and especially this team … it’s been such a huge part of going to Holy Trinity for me,” she said.
“Tonight, was a little emotional. It’s going to end, but it’s definitely been a great two years. I couldn’t have been happier here.”