‘Cats in control
Fruita beats Central for 13th straight time
Central High School’s volleyball team played like it has improved from its 2015 season. On Tuesday night, Fruita Monument showed the Warriors just how far they have to go.
Riley Snyder had a match-high 13 kills with a pair of aces and Dana Thomson added seven kills for the Wildcats, who used a pair of big set-ending runs to put away the Warriors 25-16, 25-13, 25-15 in the Southwestern League opener for both teams.
“They got the one run at the end of that last game ... that really gave us some trouble,” Fruita coach Bob Richardson said. “But volleyball is an easy game to give up points. Every error that you make is a point for the other team, and sometimes what it takes to be successful is managing your own errors and figuring out how to earn points yourself.”
That was definitely the case for Fruita (5-4, 1-0 SWL), which controlled most of the match despite its hitting and serving errors. All total, the Wildcats gave up 14 points on service errors, all of which helped the Warriors (3-6, 0-1) stay within reach in the final two sets.
Fruita, however, used big runs to pull away and keep Central out of striking distance as each set came to a close.
“We knew that we were going to have some ups and downs, but we also knew that we had to stay steady and not let our errors get in the way,” said junior outside hitter Sitori Carver, who had three of her six kills in the third set. “The key for us was to be mentally strong, remember what we worked on in practice, shake off our errors and keep moving on to the next play.”
MacKenzie Wells added 34 assists for Fruita, which won its 13th consecutive match against the Warriors. Central’s last victory against the Wildcats came on Oct. 20, 2009.
Senior Brooklyn Stewart led Central with four kills and four aces and Tricia Trent-Ramsey added three blocks and three kills. Stewart’s aces came consecutively during a 7-0 Central run that pulled the Warriors within 12-8 in the third set, but the Warriors came no closer.
“We started getting scared once they started scoring points,” Stewart said. “We start making errors, and then we try to swing as hard as we can, but when we do that we’re not placing it. We’re playing not to lose instead of playing to win.”
Despite Tuesday’s loss, Central is only one win away from matching last season’s win total when the Warriors finished 4-19. In order to improve on that mark, the Central players understand things have to change.
“We can’t keep playing scared like we have been,” Stewart said.
The Warriors played relaxed in the second set, which allowed them to score points thanks to Fruita’s serving and hitting errors. An ace by senior setter Jessica Nelson tied the score 11-11, but Fruita answered, with a kill from Thomson sparking a 14-2 run that gave the Wildcats a two-game cushion.
The Wildcats responded to Central’s run in the third set when the Warriors pulled within four points. Kills by Snyder and Carver sparked an 8-3 Fruita run that put the match out of reach.
“We can’t keep making this many errors when we come out to play,” Carver said. “It might have worked out tonight, but against really good teams, we have to eliminate those because we can’t give them more points than they earn.”