It was strength versus strength Tuesday night in a CHSAA girls volleyball match at St. Anthony’s, as the Friars’ hitting power went toe-to-toe with Holy Trinity’s scrappy defense.
The power proved too much for the Titans to handle.
Even as Holy Trinity contended nearly every ball that came back over the net, St. Anthony’s kept swinging. Sofia Termini had 27 assists, feeding seven hitters in the Friars’ 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 win.
“You really have to hand it to them,” said Termini, a junior. “Trinity’s a great team. They have a great defense, but we just keep pounding it until it hits the floor.”
Maggie O’Flynn led with eight kills, and she got help from Paige Savitsky (seven kills, three aces) and Emma Sullivan (five kills). Colleen McCullagh and Jackie Cassidy kept the Titans defense honest, too.
After cruising through the first set, St. Anthony’s (4-0) couldn't earn points as easily. Lauren Wong and Sophia Samuels launched their bodies across the hardwood for Holy Trinity (4-3), sparking long rallies and forcing the Friars into mistakes.
The Titans led 10-5 in the second set before Savitsky started a 4-0 run that cut the deficit to 10-9. The lead went back up to 13-9, but Savitsky’s ace later tied the set at 14. Her kill finished a 25-21 win in Game 2.
“Our team never wants to give up, and we always want to push back to keep our win streak going,” Savitsky said. “We’re very driven. We don’t want to let the game go.”
Facing an 11-10 deficit after kills from Julia Colanna and Kassandra O’Brien, the Friars turned to Termini to put them ahead for good. She caught Holy Trinity off guard with a dump into an open spot on the floor, then served two aces for a 13-11 lead. Holy Trinity twice came within a point but never tied the score again.
Termini said it was all about staying persistent with their power.
“Probably the most difficult thing was just finding a spot on the floor and being confident with keeping the aggressive hits, other than just rolling it or taking the easy shot,” she said. “Really just being aggressive the whole way through.”
That style could lead St. Anthony’s back to the top of the league, a place the program hasn’t stood since it won it all in 2014. With leadership provided by libero Emma Benes, the well-rounded Friars are undefeated and confident.
Said Termini: “Ever since preseason, we had that feeling that this is going to be the year.”