The Holy Trinity Academy Knights will hang a volleyball championship banner on their gym wall later this year.
However, their margin of victory in capturing the Foothills Athletic Council Senior girls title was thinner than the championship banner’s material.
The Knights outlasted the Foothills Falcons 3-2 (26-24, 23-25, 25-13, 26-24,15-5) in the championship match Nov. 6 at HTA.
“When we went to the fifth set, I told the girls that you have to play — start strong and you have to finish strong,” said Knights head coach Melanie Glanville.
The Knights dominated the fifth set, jumping out to a 10-3 lead as HTA’s blocking, defence and the swinging right arm of power Kylee Glanville set the tone.
“Kylee really came out swinging,” said Falcons captain Liana Greenshields said. “We couldn’t get our hands on her, she played really well.”
The Knights appeared to have won the title in four games when they took a 21-11 lead in the fourth set. But the Falcons battled back to win 26-24 to force the deciding game.
“We were thinking ahead and not in the moment,” Kylee Glanville said of the fourth game. “In the fifth game, it was just ‘okay girls, this is what we came here to do.' It was amazing.”
Glanville appeared to be a one-woman wrecking crew in the fifth set. She was the last Knight to touch the ball in several of the last points — including a pushback on an attempted tip to make it 10-4 and huge spike to make the final 15-5.
“We were all a team, everybody was digging,” Kylee Glanville said. “Jayden Klippenstein, our setter was fantastic in getting me the ball.”
The Knights opened the match with a 25-23 win, with the final point on a block by middle Jada Wagner and Glanville that hugged the line.
“Blocking is so important for us,” Wagner said. “We have such strong hitters, but our blocking makes such a huge difference. It gets our momentum back up after that big block…
“The Comp put up such a great fight, we are so evenly matched.”
The Falcons rallied to win the second set 26-24, and HTA won the third set convincingly 25-13.
And when HTA jumped out to a 10-point lead in the fourth set, many in the stands were wondering where the Knights were going to hang that banner.
The tenacious Falcons put a hold on a call to an interior designer.
Greenshields said the Falcons came together when things got tough.
“We were playing more as a team than we have in the past,” Greenshields said. “When things were tough, we somehow found a way to come back, we had each others’ back, but it just didn’t turn out.”
The Falcons rallied to force a Game 5.
“We dug deep and we knew we had it in us,” Greenshields said.
She started serving with the Falcons down 22-24 — one missed serve and it was over.
“It was very stressful, but I dug deep — and the team dug deep — to do it,” Greenshields said.
However, the HTA Knights didn’t win the FAC regular season by rolling over after facing some pressure.
They pulled off the 15-5 set 5 victory for the banner. It was the Knights first Senior girls FAC title since 2016.
The two teams will put the FAC season behind them and will now focus on the 4A South Central Zones at the Comp on Nov. 15-16. The three teams are HTA, Foothills and the Chestermere Lakers.
“We are going to come out fighting really hard at zones and hopefully we can come out on top,” Greenshields said.
The Knights plan to be not-so-gracious visitors at zones.
“We will be waiting for them,” Glanville said. “They are good, but so are we.”
HTA has won three of the four meetings this year.
The HTA Knights are: Chloe Panych, Hannah Proctor, Jayden Klippenstein, Jordyn Sealock, Kylee Glanville, Jada Wagner, Jaxsyn McMahon, Allie Ayotte, Chiara Sheedy and Justice Jones.
The Falcons are: Mayla Melnechenko, Katie Ivanek, Rachael Anderson, Liana Greenshields, Katie Romaniuk, Claire Sweeney, Brooklyn Knoch, Nalaina Funk, Kallie Ball, Emma Moore and Haileigh Lutes.