Tigers building toward another strong volleyball finish

The Holy Trinity Tigers will be looking to win their ninth straight district volleyball title this season.

If any group understands the motto, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” it would be the Holy Trinity volleyball team.

Last year’s Tigers had a number of new players and kept slowly building themselves up until they hit the postseason. They won their eighth straight district championship and advanced to their fifth regional final.

Well, this year’s Holy Trinity team has a number of new players, too, not to mention the largest roster size (15) coach Pete Klonowski has ever had.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Klonowski said. “It’s going to be a challenging year without a doubt. We’ve got to be able to figure out what we’re good at and make sure we put them in opportunities to be successful.

“We’ve got a pretty good core of kids.”

The Tigers return four starters — Sophia Panarese, Isabelle Clark, Bella Rogers and Maya Collins — but don’t have a lot of overall team height and will be looking for a replacement at setter. Seniors Sydney Brito and A.K. Harmon will be stepping into that role as the Tigers will look to run a quick-tempo offense.

“Without a lot of height, we’re able to run the offense we know how to run,” Harmon said. “We know how to run those faster plays. Even without the height, it lets us win the offensive part of it.”

That is, of course, assuming the Tigers can control the first contact, an aspect of the game that will be even more vital this season.

“I think our serve and serve-receive game is really what always wins us games, historically,” Brito said. “I think that’s how you win volleyball games in general.”

Other key members of this year’s team will include returners Kareena Mathews, Brianna Wakefield and Dailya Wydner. Lindsey Angermeir, a transfer from Edgewood, and eighth-grader Nicole Oswell could be impactful newcomers along with Marley Keller, Sophia Hibner, Evelyn VanZwieten and Brynn Holland.

Having a larger roster, of course, means there will be more competition for playing time.

“The good news is I do have several players back and I think, because they were there last year, they understand that process and that it can take some time,” Klonowski said.

“We’ve got some talent here. It’s the game reps at this speed that we’re lacking.”

If everything goes right for the Tigers, they’ll be playing their best volleyball by October when they will have a chance to make it nine consecutive  district titles. Will there be any extra pressure?

“There’s pressure in every game,” Brito said. “You always want to win. So, it’s somewhat pressure, but it’s just another game. If we play how we practice, we’re going to do good.”