Central pushes past Durango in SWL volleyball
Many a close volleyball match has been played because neither team stood out or avoided hitting errors.
Saturday’s Central-Durango high school match certainly didn’t fit that description.
“That was just good volleyball play,” Central coach Beth Nelson said after her team’s well-earned 25-17, 23-25, 27-25, 26-24 victory over the Demons.
The victory put the Warriors (10-1, 5-0 Southwestern League) alone atop the league standings and handed Durango its first league defeat.
This one was everything it was billed to be, with co-SWL leaders facing off. Be assured, Central had to work for it.
After a relatively easy first game for Central, Durango regrouped and went to work.
Neither team led the second game by more than two points after Durango pulled to within 11-9.
It was nip and tuck, with each team scrapping for every point they earned through the remainder of the match.
The Warriors were two points away from victory in game two but the Demons used a Central hitting error and two kills by sophomore outside hitter Sloan Lovett to score the last three points.
With Sloan wreaking havoc down the line, “We just started to dedicate to her, not necessarily trying to stop her but slowing her down,” Nelson said of trying to defend the 5-foot-10 power hitter.
Durango had game point at 24-23 in the third game, but Ashley Wells put down a big kill to tie the game.
Alyce Albright served an ace and the Demons made a hitting error, allowing Central to score the last two points and take the third game.
After another Sloan kill, the Demons again let a game point slip away in the fourth game. Wells got consecutive points on a kill and a block to give Central a 25-24 lead. She then combined with Maddi Vana for a block on match point.
“That was just a big challenge for us,” Nelson said, crediting Durango’s athletic ability.
Vana, who had two solo blocks and three aces, said the Warriors’ biggest challenge was keeping their heads.
“I think our main focus was composure,” she said. “It was an intense game.”
Once again, Central spread the wealth. Amy Kame had 21 kills and Wells 16, but several other players, including Haleigh Higgins, Vana, Kristina Lindsey and Jamie Pomasky, played big roles at the net.
“This was our biggest match,” Vana said.
Behind the all-around play of Capri Rino, the Grand Junction volleyball team defeated Coronado 25-15, 25-6, 25-19.
Rino led Grand Junction with three aces and 18 digs. Jordan Doughty led the Tigers with seven kills.
Palisade battled in Steamboat Springs, but lost to the Sailors 25-21, 25-19, 25-19.
Morgan Reynolds had 15 kills and six digs for Palisade.
Central def. Durango 25-17, 23-25, 27-25, 26-24