BROOMFIELD — Nothing is going to be handed to the Holy Family volleyball team.
That was the message Tigers head coach Krista Solomon wanted to reiterate throughout the summer, more in the tone they practiced at camps and open gyms than vocally. Getting faster is going to make them better, and that was a theme heading into Thursday night's season opening match against Broomfield.
The 4A state runner-up from last year had to shake off some rust but at the same time appeared in confident form, beating their city rivals 3-0 to get on the right foot.
"This is always a good game and every year it's just so fun to play them, so I think it creates a good energy starting off the season against them," said senior middle Jody Gallagher, one of five returning seniors to the varsity squad that made it all the way to the championship game against Lewis-Palmer last year. "I think we did well, and whatever nerves we might have had we just try and put away and play hard."
Gallagher is a stalwart on the blocks, as is Julia Giltner, and the rest of the front row that made for so many great moments last year includes junior Ali Travis and seniors Rachel Siurek and Sara Berghoff.
Siurek and Travis each had some wrecking ball hits on Thursday, a 25-17, 25-19, 25-10 win.
The team's experience doesn't all fall within the ranks of their upperclassmen, though. Sophomore Peyton Frank returns after playing 104 sets last year, and she seemed already quite comfortable in her slot as libero where she takes over for Sam Weber.
Count Gallagher as one who feels Frank, who had 12 digs and four aces Thursday, to be a young sparkplug.
"They're all bringing not only talent but also energy, and we love them for that," Gallagher said.
"We knew Peyton had the potential to step into that job and the girls have a ton of confidence in her," said Solomon, whose team was led by Siurek's 12 kills. "And even a girl like Sophie (Ryan), she's a senior that hasn't really played a lot for us in the past, she's done a good job to earn her spot and be consistent.
"I think tempo, we are really kind of focusing on building consistency in that on the front row. Over the next week I think we'll have it down, but that's something we had to put a lot of time into over the summer. Speeding something up even just a little bit, it takes consistent work to get there."
Broomfield, in the 5A Front Range League, is blessed with height but still working out some systematic fundamentals among their young group. The Eagles had several rotation errors and blocking errors that contributed to the Holy Family victory.
Abby Major, Nicole Gonzales and Vicki Fankell — the latter just a sophomore — will all get their chances down the road and had a few great sets to hit. But head coach Lysa Johnson said everything is a work in progress as it stands.
"We have a lot of young first time starters, and I think some of the jitters of that first game led to some mistakes," Johnson said. "We have height and we have hitters, but it's just a matter of bringing it all together."
Holy Family 3, Broomfield 0
At Holy Family HSBroomfield (0-1)17 19 10
Holy Family (1-0)25 25 25
Kills — Holy Family: Rachel Siurek 12.
Blocks — Holy Family: Julia Giltner 4.
Assists — Holy Family: Sara Berghoff 22.
Aces — Holy Family: Peyton Frank 4.
Digs — Holy Family: Frank 12.
Broomfield statistics not available.