Trinity Catholic overwhelms Father Lopez in district semifinals

Celtics will host Trinity Prep for district championship on Friday night

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Posted October 18, 2023 | By Mark Pinson/Special to the Ocala Gazette
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette

Trinity Catholic utilized its height advantage early and often and dominated play from the opening point in rolling past Father Lopez by scores of 25-11, 25-17 and 25-12 in Wednesday night’s Class 3A-District 4 semifinals.

With the loss, Father Lopez (Daytona Beach) ends its season with a record of 9-11.

The convincing victory allowed a lot of the girls on the Trinity Catholic squad to contribute, and it improved the Celtics to 15-8 on the season.

“We got the job done,” said Celtics veteran coach Jeff Reavis. “If you make this varsity team, I think you have the ability to compete with a lot of people. I’m very proud of that and I think that we can put anyone on the bench on the floor and they can handle themselves very well. I think that’s a great thing for our program.”

Trinity Catholic. which played a demanding regular season schedule to prepare for the rigors of the postseason, came out clicking in the first set and jumped out to a 7-0 lead as junior middle hitter Rose Gravel, sophomore outside hitter Maddie Hewitson and senior outside hitter Elayna Johnson took turns blasting kill shots past the shorter Father Lopez front line.

The Green Wave called a time out, but to no avail, as Trinity Catholic went on an 18-10 run sparked by the solid net play of senior middle hitter Hope Willis and freshman outside hitter Maggie Ofarrell. Hewitson had back-to-back kills and senior outside hitter Avery Campise hammered a cross-court spike to clinch the first set for the Celtics.

The second set was the most competitive as Trinity Catholic jumped on top by a score of 10-4, but Father Lopez battled back and closed within 18-16 as Taylor Timko, Kystal Ketchum and Emma Dhainaut were able to score points against the Celtics formidable front line.

Trinity Catholic closed out the set on a 7-1 run fueled by service aces by sophomore Sarah McDonnell and senior Cole Crews and several errors by the Green Wave.

With all the momentum on its side, Trinity Catholic stormed out to a 17-9 lead in the final set as freshman Ashlyn Hallick teamed with Willis on a pair of blocks and Hannah Williams and Gravel scored several points with powerful spikes.

Crews had a service ace to put the Celtics on match point and junior McKenzie Pereira’s perfectly placed shot found the floor to seal the semifinal win for Trinity Catholic.

With the win, the Celtics will host No. 2 seed Trinity Prep (Orlando) in the district championship match on Friday night. Trinity Prep swept Taylor High 3-0 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

Trinity Catholic, the No. 1 seed, did not play Trinity Prep during the regular season, but the Celtics have the advantage of playing at home.

“We didn’t play Trinity Prep this year, but we’ve played them in the district or regionals the last five or six years,” coach Reavis said. “We like being at home and we’re looking forward to Friday night.”

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