Trinity Catholic sweeps Vanguard in volleyball

Celtics ease past Knights in straight sets

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Posted October 10, 2023 | By Mark Pinson/Special to the Ocala Gazette
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette

Trinity Catholic used a potent and balanced offense, paced by sophomore Maddie Hewitson’s match-high 11 kills, to beat Vanguard by scores of 25-13, 25-15 and 25-13 on Tuesday night.

The convincing victory was Trinity Catholic’s third in a row and improved the Class 3A Celtics to 14-7 on the season.

“It was a good match and a lot of the kids got to play,” said Trinity Catholic coach Jeff Reavis.

The Celtics, one of the top teams in the state, regardless of classifications, have played a tough schedule and are rounding into form at the right time with their district tournament beginning next week.

“We’ve played nine matches in five days, were successful against some excellent teams and we are maintaining a good level of play,” coach Reavis said. “We’re healthy, knock on wood, our serve-receive is good and I like where we’re at.”

The loss on senior night dropped Class 5A Vanguard to 9-13 overall.

Despite playing so many matches in just a few days, Trinity Catholic showed no signs of fatigue as the Celtics came out with plenty of energy and jumped out to a commanding 20-9 lead in the first set.

Trinity Catholic senior middle hitter Rose Gravel drilled a spike and teamed with Hewitson and senior Elayna Johnson for a pair of blocks. Hewitson nailed a cross-court winner and an ace serve closed out the set for the Celtics.

Vanguard played at a high level and had many long rallies, but the height advantage at the net that Trinity Catholic enjoyed was difficult for the shorter Knights to overcome.

Trinity Catholic kept the momentum in the second set and stormed out to a 20-10 lead behind solid play from senior outside hitter Avery Campise, who had three kills and a couple of blocks, and senior Hope Willis who chipped in with a pair of winners.

Campise found the range with another powerful spike, Johnson hammered two kill shots and a combination block by Gravel and Maggie Ofarrell gave the Celtics the second set.

The final set was similar to the first two with Trinity Catholic jumping out to a 10-2 advantage. The Celtics substituted liberally and increased their lead to 21-11, as Johnson, Hewitson and Gravel took turns finding open spaces with their well-placed kill shots.

Johnson unleashed back-to-back service aces and a Vanguard serve sailed long to clinch the set and the match for the Celtics.

Trinity Catholic will honor its seniors on Thursday night with a home match against Gainesville High. The Celtics, the No. 1 seed, will host a Class 3A-District 4 tournament game next week.

Vanguard will begin competition next week in the Class 5A-District 2 tournament.

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