(Photo Courtesy: John Lovretta // thehawkeye.com)
Cedar Rapids — Melissa Freesmeier can breathe a little bit easier — at least for now.
The fourth-seeded Holy Trinity Crusaders took every punch, every jab and every body blow in stride last night, outlasting fifth-seeded Janesville in five sets in an epic clash of two legendary programs.
Freesmeier and the Crusaders were 0-9 lifetime against Janesville in the state tournament but finally nipped them in a matchup that will be remembered for a long time.
Kassi Randolph and Brooke Mueller led the Crusaders with 13 kills apiece, while Natalie Randolph also finished in double figures with 11.
Holy Trinity dropped the first set 25-23 then countered for two gut-wrenching wins in the second and third sets, 25-21 and 25-22.
Janesville then answered in a must-win set four with a 25-20 triumph, spearheaded by their senior ace Pyper McCarville, who finished with a match high 24 kills on 72 total attempts.
From there, Holy Trinity buckled down.
The Crusaders got a huge fifth set block from Mueller to shift the momentum as Holy Trinity rode the wave for a 15-8 clincher.
The win means the two southeast Iowa powers — Notre Dame and Holy Trinity — will collide tonight in a semifinal for the ages.
The winner will move into Thursday’s state championship.
Match time tonight is set for 6:00 p.m., you can listen on FM 105.5 and kilj.com.