WINDSOR — The Holy Family volleyball team has had nights this season where they registered more blocks than on Thursday at Windsor, but then again, having a consistent net presence against a really good hitting team like the Wizards goes beyond the numbers.
The Tri-Valley League matchup at Windsor matched two hard-hitting and yet crafty teams, to be true, and the Tigers were glad to face the challenge. It's a battle they'll endure again at least once this season, but Holy Family took a big step in its goals of a league title by blocking and hitting their way past WHS 3-1.
Holy Family, No. 2 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A rankings but No. 9 in the ratings percentage index that determines playoff seeds, proved their mettle in a 25-16, 26-28, 25-21, 25-15 win that keeps them undefeated at 6-0 in league play.
Both teams hit exceptionally well overall in the match, but Holy Family was just a little more across-the-net strong in putting Windsor at 4-1 in the TVL.
"They're always good, and there is definitely a little bit of a rivalry there which makes it even more fun. It was nice to see both teams hit well and they defend well, too," said Tigers head coach Krista Solomon, whose team is 11-2 and has lost only to 5A teams Rock Canyon and Castle View. "We played to our potential. We were working hard on the front row and making sure our blocks were purposeful, well-placed."
"We've been working real hard on defense and that is what has made us really successful," added Ali Travis, the junior outside hitter who led the team with 21 kills. "The blocking is great, the serve receive is doing as lot better. This was a great game."
Longtime Windsor coach LaVerne Huston has her Wizards playing well, and WHS was No. 12 in RPI entering the night. But the Tigers played at a much faster tempo overall and as a result got a lot of opportunities to attack open court.
Rachel Siurek had 12 kills, a lot of them coming in the first two sets, and middles Julia Giltner and Jody Gallagher combined for 17 kills as the two of them are starting to work closer to the pins on occasion, too.
With both teams matching each other on the serve and back row defense, it was a few point streaks for Holy Family that involved block points that seemed to make the difference.
Gallagher had seven total blocks, and one of her combo blocks with setter Sara Berghoff in set three was instrumental in a five-point run to close out that game. The Wizards had won set two 28-26 and were ahead 21-20 before that block gave the Tigers a 22-21 advantage.
They never looked back, and Holy Family had four more block points to go along with a team total of 13 kills in set four.
"After game two, we knew we needed to play to win the next two," Solomon said. "Set four, we kind of knew we just wanted to finish strong."
The Tigers have just two matches in the next nine days, but one of them is Saturday, Sept. 30 as they host Colorado Springs Metro League power Cheyenne Mountain.
"It's always good to have a challenge because it keeps a team working hard and dedicated in practice," Travis said. "Our main goal is to make state and that's what we continue to work towards, and plus we have our sophomores coming in and doing a great job as we try and get them in the mix."
Holy Family 3, Windsor 1
At Windsor HSHoly Family (11-2, 6-0)25262525Windsor (5-5, 4-1)16282115
Kills — Holy Family: Ali Travis 21, Rachel Siurek 12, Julia Giltner 10, Jody Gallagher 7.
Blocks — Holy Family: Gallagher 7, Sara Berghoff 4.
Assists — Holy Family: Berghoff 47.
Aces — Holy Family: Berghoff 2, Peyton Frank 2.
Digs — Holy Family: Frank 22, Berghoff 20.