In any inaugural year of a sports program, expectations are necessarily tamped by the reality of the team needing to become cohesive, become accustomed to new facilities, and mentally settle in for the season.

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The 2018 HFA Girls’ Volleyball team was no different.  Under first-year head coach Tessa Obernuefemann, the team knew they had growing to do very quickly.  In their first 5 matches, the Padres had only a single win.

But the season took a quick turn as the girls began to find their rhythm – and thoughts of making the CAA state playoffs began to seem like more of a possibility.  In the last 9 games played of the regular season, the Padres walked away with 8 wins, finishing with a record of 10-5; something that seemed more than unlikely in mid-September.

Postseason

On October 16, the Padres won a play-in game 3 sets to 1 against Ville de Marie, which allowed them to enter into the tournament of 8 teams. Though they finished their season on a roll, they were still a 9-seed in the tournament. As a result, they were slotted to face the #1 team in the CAA tournament quarterfinals – Madison Highland Prep Academy.

At Phoenix Christian School’s gym on Saturday night the Padres pulled off the improbable, advancing to the semifinals with a 3-2 victory over the Heat. What the stats do not show is the positive spirit with which the girls played.  Tournament matches always bring additional pressure – this game was no different.  But the young ladies of Holy Family Academy distinguished themselves by their positivity and grace through tough calls and superior play by the Heat in two sets.

1 2 3 4 5
Holy Family Academy (#9) 25 13 25 20 15
Madison Highland Prep (#1) 21 25 20 25 6

Semifinals

Last night, brimming with excitement at the possibility of playing for the state championship, the Padres faced off against 4th-seeded San Tan Charter School. Starting a match by dropping two sets immediately is never the script for success, and while the girls persevered by winning the third, raising the spirits of the team and the HFA fans in attendance, the fourth set was narrowly lost by the Padres, 25-22.

1 2 3 4 5
Holy Family Academy (#9) 16 14 25 22 0
San Tan Charter (#4) 25 25 23 25 0

While the girls were disappointed, the future is extraordinarily bright for the Padres Volleyball program.  With no graduating seniors, only one Junior, and two 7th graders who played significant minutes, Holy Family Academy has a great deal to look forward to for 2019.

Coach Obernuefemann said as much after the game: “I’m very proud of them. They were so sad they lost and I don’t think they realize how many years they have ahead of them … They definitely are a great group and I’m excited to continue coaching them and see how far they get!”

Beyond the wins and losses, the joy, camaraderie, and grace shown by these young ladies has filled Holy Family Academy with a great deal of pride.

 – Source: CAA