HIGHLANDS RANCH — There was a grand design to the not-so-friendly schedule presented to the Holy Family volleyball team in 2018. So, too, did Tigers head coach Krista Solomon know that her younger players on varsity were going to be on trial for the sake of going hard after another Tri-Valley League championship.
That brutal preseason schedule is about to come to an end, and for all intents and purposes the Tigers have weathered it quite nicely. However, in travelling to Valor Christian on Wednesday to take on the now-Class 5A Eagles in another elite match, Holy Family was overwhelmed early and never gained its footing in a 3-0 sweep.
Fresh off a 2-2 record at the Regis Jam tournament, Holy Family succumbed to Valor by a 25-10, 25-21, 25-17 count, offering some points to discuss through the next six days before taking the court again.
"Honestly, looking at the front of our schedule it was like, 'oh, that's going to be tough' but that's what we need for all of our younger players to get where they need to be," Solomon said after the loss, which brought HFHS to 4-3 overall with losses to 5A's Cherokee Trail, Legend and now Valor. "I'm not too disappointed (Valor) moved up to 5A and I'll be interested to see how they do this year. My guess is pretty good."
Kaitlyn Hastings' Eagles have indeed been good in a small sample size, now 4-0 and with a 12-0 record in games played this season. On Wednesday, Valor's front row was challenged by Holy Family's impressive back row, but junior Lily Thomason and senior Anna Davis provided some constants in the attack that were not seen on the other side of the court in this instance.
Having lost some height in the middle to graduation, the Tigers know that is an area other teams may try and expose. Senior Ali Travis, who led the team with nine kills while adding eight digs, said the girls are coming along in that area so far.
"I think, honestly, we've been doing pretty well there but a lot of it is the height we're missing," Travis said. "But we've been working hard in practices and just trying and get this team together, because it is a very new team in general. We wanted to work on a lot of defensive stuff (Wednesday) and just get ready for the rest of the season."
The Tigers entered the night hitting just .151 as a team — a clear indication they are getting a lot of chances but giving up free points with errors at the same time.
Solomon saw that creep into the action on Wednesday, too. Holy Family hit just .065 with just 17 team kills on the evening. Holy Family's best highlights came defensively, where Peyton Frank had 21 digs and Victoria Weber added 17.
"Against elite teams, your hitting errors are going to catch up with you," Solomon said. "You're not going to get away with five or six of them in a set."
Holy Family will host University on September 11 before running into TVL play for the remainder of the season.
Valor Christian 3, Holy Family 0
At Valor ChristianHoly Family (4-3) 10 21 17
Valor Christian (4-0) 25 25 25
Kills — Holy Family: Ali Travis 9, Bianca Eldridge 3, Anna Hodell 3.
Blocks — Holy Family: Rileigh Lynch 3, Travis 2, Kaley Roller 2.
Assists — Holy Family: Carly Trostel 17.
Aces — Holy Family: Payton Marino 1, Travis 1, Madison Forss 1.
Digs — Holy Family: Peyton Frank 21, Victoria Weber 12, Travis 8.