Central volleyball team puts Panthers away

Haleigh Higgins knew this was no time to panic.

The Central Warriors were already up two games to none when they fell into a deep hole in the third game.

Instead of giving in and letting Montezuma-Cortez push the Southwestern League volleyball match to a fourth game Saturday at Central High School, Higgins and Amy Kame started a 16-1 run to close out a 25-20, 29-27, 25-22 victory.

“The number one thing is this group of young ladies are lights-out champions,” Central coach Beth Nelson said. “We played great in Game 1, Game 2 and when we got down in Game 3, it was just to see if they’d rise to the occasion, and they did.

“Haleigh and Amy make a good combination. Haleigh saw Amy was on. It matched well together. Amy did a good job putting the ball away.”

Kame had seven of her match-high 19 kills during the run, with Higgins assisting all of them. Higgins finished with 37 assists.

“We have good chemistry,” Higgins said. “It happens. I put the ball up there and she puts it away.”

Kame had five blocks and one ace to go with her 19 kills. Ashley Wells added nine kills and one ace.

Meg Fisher had six kills and 20 digs.

Central (14-4, 7-3 SWL) jumped to a 7-3 lead in the first game, but the Panthers closed the gap to one point at 13-12. The Warriors responded with a 5-0 run and closed out the game 25-20.

Cortez hung with Central throughout the second game, trailing by no more than two points and leading by no more than three.

Central went on a 6-2 run to take a 23-22 lead and had game point at 25-24, but the Panthers came back and had two game points before Fisher recorded a kill to give Central the second game.

Cortez, though, didn’t crumble.

Instead, the Panthers went on an 11-3 run to take a 17-7 lead with the help of three Central attack errors.

“Our coach called a good timeout,” Higgins said. “She said we need to put the ball away. We did that point by point.”

It started with a couple of Cortez errors, but then Kame blocked an attack for a point.

The Panthers made a couple of more errors, Annie Aylsworth had a kill, Wells served an ace and Kame went off, with four kills in the next five points to give Central its first lead of the game, 19-18. The

Warriors won four more points before Cortez could end the run, but it was too late by then.

“For us it was a huge lack of communication,” Nelson said. “Not just one person, everybody needs to be talking. It’s something we still need to work on and get ready for next weekend.”

The Class 5A regional tournament pairings are expected to be released by the Colorado High School Activities Association today.


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