The emotion on the faces of the Holy Family volleyball players reflected their sadness and disappointment as they left the court after their season ended with their lost the Nov. 11 semifinal match of the Class 4A state championship tournament held …
The emotion on the faces of the Holy Family volleyball players reflected their sadness and disappointment as they left the court after their season ended with their lost the Nov. 11 semifinal match of the Class 4A state championship tournament held Nov. 10 and 11 at the Denver Coliseum.
“Our girls played hard but things just didn’t go our way in this match against a very good Valor team,” Tigers Coach Krista Solomon said after the semifinal match. “We were focused here at the state tournament. Many of our girls are returning letter winners and there is no way to undervalue the experience of being at state last year.”
The Tigers put together a solid 21-2 regular season record that included going 14-0 as they won the league championship.
The first step to the state tournament was regionals with 36 Class 4A teams divided into a dozen three-team pools for round-robin play with the pool champion advancing to the first round of the state tournament on Nov. 10 at the Denver Coliseum.
Holy Family won the regional pool championship by defeating Elizabeth 3-0 and Air Academy 3-2. The regional pool championship earned the Tigers a spot in the first round of the state playoffs as the 12 teams were divided into four pools of three teams each with the pool champion advancing to the Nov. 11 state semifinals.
The Tigers met Ponderosa in their first state pool play match on Nov. 11. Holy Family won the match 3-1.
Holy Family mounted a strong attack with 52 kills. Julia Gitner led the team with 14 kills while teammates Rachel Siurek and Jody Gallagher each made 11 kills. Gallagher also took part in a team high 11 blocks.
Peyton Frank made 30 digs and Sara Burghoff, the setter, made 43 assists.
The Tiger played their second pool play match later Nov. 10 and iced the pool title and a spot in the state 4A semifinals with a 3-0 win over D’Evelyn.
Holy Family’s attack recorded 34 kills against D’Evelyn and Ali Travis was the leader with 11. Peyton Frank served five aces and Bianca Eldridge made 11 digs.
Holy Family, seeded no. 3 in the tournament faced off against No. 2 seeded Valor Christian in one half of the state Class 4A semifinals.
The Eagles won the first two sets before Holy Family rallied to win the next two sets and force a decisive fifth set.
The first team to score 25 points wins a regular set but it is the first team to score 15 point that wins a fifth set. The fifth set was a see-saw battle with the score tied six times before Valor put on a scoring spurt and won 15-11.
Official statistics weren’t posted for the semifinals but unofficially Travers led the team in kills in the first set with nine while Julie Giltner made or assisted in five blocks.
Tiger Coach Solomon said the future of Holy Family is bright.
“We will lose some seniors to graduation but we have a lot of good players coming back plus a lot of good players in the program so we should be strong in the coming seasons” she said.
Ali Travis is one of the juniors on this year’s team and this season led the Tigers in kills with 365.
“Volleyball has always been important to me and I just love the sport,” she said. “I like volleyball because it is so competitive and I love the teamwork that is necessary to win matches.”
She said she thinks the 2017 team is strong because all the players are competitive with a passion to win.
Travis said she has always been an outside hitter. She said she constantly works on drills and advice from coaches to sharpen her hitting skills.
“When I know the set is coming to me I try to look to see how the blockers are set up so I can try to dive the ball past them,” she said. “I also often get help from my teammates who will let me know there is a shot to a certain area that looks good.”