With a record of 0-11, Holy Family Catholic volleyball is looking for the positives. They are looking for the experience for the future of the program.
Against Hutchinson Sept. 19 there certainly were good stretches. The Fire led game three 18-6. There was also plenty of fight in the second game, an early deficit shrunk to four points.
If you're Holy Family Catholic, the first win is coming.
"We had three sophomores starting last night. They're going to make sophomore mistakes. Some play JO, some don't, so it takes times. For me, I look at what do we have coming down the pipeline. We had a freshman come into the match at middle and play the back row. We're developing something for two years out where we're going to have a very strong program," Holy Family Catholic head coach Tony Bongaarts said.
Hutchinson won the match, though, 25-13, 25-18, 19-25, 25-12 in the Fire's Wright County Conference opener in Victoria.
Abby Smith had 17 kills on 39 swings for the Fire with Sophia Mackey adding eight offensive points. Kathryn Jans set-up the attackers with 30 assists.
Lizzie Guggemos had three of Holy Family Catholic's six aces with Smith and Mackey leading the defense with 12 and nine digs, respectively.
"Basically we have the long view in my mind. We have had a much-reduced head count enrollment-wise in recent years. When you're going up against programs with three times as many girls, it usually doesn't end up well," Holy Family Catholic head coach Tony Bongaarts said.
In total, the Fire have 12 players on varsity including seniors Jans, Smith and Kalie Dahl. Some of the younger girls play two-ways on JV as well.
"When I first started, this year's senior class had five players. You need six to have a full team. They played a tournament that year with only five on the court. Their ghost player they called Casper. We lost one player to other things and another is my team manager. We've pretty much graduated our entire starting line-ups the last couple of years, so I knew last year and this year would be fairly rough. That's why we're looking to build up the program again," Bongaarts said.
One way Holy Family Catholic looks to grow is through a combined sports camp with the basketball program set for next summer.
"We want to be working together. Be adjacent together. Maybe basketball in the morning and then have those girls play volleyball in the afternoon. We want to promote those multi-sport athletes. The athletes that are good at everything, we want them playing every sport, not just one," Bongaarts said.
In the meantime, the Fire move forward, no matter the outcome.
"We gave Eden Prairie a good run (at a tournament earlier this season). And we had the iron six out there, no defensive specialists, no subs. I look at the other teams and they have a bench of 14 and here we had six players," Bongaarts said. "This is the first year we've had repeat varsity starters. We're looking for that continued building. We don't measure success on wins and losses. We measure it on how many kids want to come back next year and play volleyball next year."
Holy Family Catholic is at Class 2A No. 7 Southwest Christian Sept. 24.
BENILDE-ST. MARGARET 3, CHANHASSEN 1
Defending Metro West Conference champion Chanhassen fell out of a three-way first-place tie in a 3-1 road loss at Benilde-St. Margaret Sept. 19.
Game scores were 25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 25-17.
The Storm were held to 36 offensive points in four games, 16 kills from Katie Paine. The senior also had a solo block, ace and 10 digs.
Lauren Snader added nine kills with Annabelle Nordmeyer finishing with 28 set assists. Madison Ellman had two of the Storm's five aces with a team-high 16 digs.
Chanhassen, now 2-1 in league play, a half-game behind Chaska and Bloomington Jefferson, is 7-8 overall.
Next up is a home match with Robbinsdale Armstrong on Monday, Sept. 23.