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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

Tigers stumped by Crusaders in four

Oct 06, 2017
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Kaylor Schulte goes up for a spike against Holy Trinity on Thursday night.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


NEW LONDON — The rivalry between No. 5 New London and No. 7 Holy Trinity Catholic continued to burn bright on Thursday night as the two squads met up in their first full (non-tournament) game of the season.

This time it was Holy Trinity that walked away with a win, taking down New London in four sets (28-26, 18-25, 27-25, 25-14) to even the season series at 2-2.

Although the rivalry feels like one that could have been settled in the state tournament, both squads were stunned earlier in the week when the IGHSAU placed both teams in the same postseason region, and as a potential semifinal instead of a final to boot.

Many fans had expected the two top-eight squads to get split up and this was the first matchup between the two squads since the brackets came out, creating even more tension than usual.

HTC came out firing in the first set. After New London took the first two points, the Crusaders scored nine points in a row to lead 9-2, stunning the Tigers early.

New London wasn’t going down early, however. The Tigers began to claw back, using a flurry of kills from Breanna Mettler and Ashley Birdsell and eventually tying the set at 20-20.

HTC scored the next four points to move one-point away from a win at 24-20, but New London stormed back again with back-to-back kills by Mettler and back-to-back aces from Savannah Sutherland to tie the game at 24-24.

New London tied the game again at 25-25 and 26-26, but couldn’t quite take back the lead and Holy Trinity was able to close out the set on an Eryn Anderson kill to move up 1-0.

The Tigers capitalized on a few HTC errors early in the second set and held a lead through the vast majority of the game. Leading 18-16 late in the set, the Tigers went on a 5-0 run to take a commanding 23-16 lead. Birdsell made it 24-18 after a couple of HTC points and Birdsell and Mettler closed the set out with a block to take it 25-18 and tie the match up at 1-1.

Kaylor Schulte caught fire in the third set and with the Tigers firing on all cylinders, New London found it self up by as much as five points, at 17-12. HTC, however, staged their own comeback and it would prove to be the difference in the entire match.

The Crusaders came back to tie the game at 21-21. The Tigers scored the next two points, the second of which came on a Kristen Rohdy ace, but HTC responded with one of their own. Schulte put New London one point away again with a kill to make it 24-22, and again with a kill to make it 25-24, but the Crusaders stayed strong and stole the game 27-25 on a kill by sophomore star Emily Box.

The third set took too much out of the Tigers. Box ran her kill total all the way up to 34 as HTC ran away with the fourth set. One last kill ended it at 25-14 and HTC could celebrate a South Division win.

“It was tough losing the third and it was also tough losing that first one,” New London head coach Maureen Heath said after the game. “When you lose those tight ones in extra-point situations…we knew game four was going to be tough. We have to get better at closing out.”

Mettler finished the game with 22 kills to lead the Tigers. Birdsell had 10 kills and Schulte finished with nine. Sutherland had 45 assists.

Carson McSorley tallied 27 digs in the win. Birdsell had four blocks. The Tigers did finish with 13 aces, led by Rohdy and Sutherland, who had three each. Camryn Blint and McSorley each had two aces and Birdsell finished with one.

Even with the loss, New London sits at 29-4 this season with just the Davis County tournament on Saturday, Oct. 7, remaining on their schedule. If the HTC-New London rivalry is renewed in the postseason, it will happen at New London High School on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

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