Strong play from Central trio leads to sweep of ’Cats

The heavy hitters of the Central High School girls volleyball team powered the Warriors past Fruita Monument High School 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 on Thursday.

The Warriors’ trio of Haleigh Higgins, Ashley Wells and Amy Kame swarmed the front of the court, especially on the defensive end. The three combined for more than 20 blocks as they overwhelmed a Fruita squad that had only two blocks.

“I know they’re both good blockers,” coach Beth Nelson said about Wells and Kame after the game. “I just haven’t seen it yet this season… their net presence was just outstanding”

The two juniors in that trio, Higgins and Kame, also added 19 kills and 28 digs.

After cruising in the first game, Central (9-1, 3-0 Southwestern League) found itself trailing the Wildcats 18-17 in the second game. The momentum had shifted to the Wildcats, until Higgins took over serving. The
Warriors rattled off seven straight points behind the co-captain’s service as she mixed in a couple of aces to eventually lead the team to the victory. After the game, Nelson said she was not surprised by her junior stepping in and taking over for the team, and referred to her as a smart and strong server.

Fruita’s disheartening loss did not break its spirits, as the Wildcats (8-4, 2-3 SWL) quickly put the game behind them and played their best volleyball of the night to start the third game. Both sides alternated points until the score was tied 4-4. Then, behind the energy of setter Lindsey Henke, the Wildcats put together a 10-3 run. Over that run, the two teams had seemed as though they swapped jerseys. Fruita owned the net
during that stretch and Central was the team making mental mistakes and having breakdowns on the
defensive end.

“She was doing her best tonight trying to stay composed for our team,” coach Amelia Conner said of her senior. Conner added that Henke, who had a game-high 26 assists, did a great job of distributing the ball across the court for her teammates throughout all three games.

However, just as quickly as the Wildcats were able to pounce, the Warriors were able to fight back. For the second time of the night, Central was able to string together seven straight points; the run culminated in an intense and drawn-out volley that ended with a spike from senior and co-captain Meg Fisher. After the emphatic spike, Central rode their wave of momentum until the final point, and put away Fruita.

Throughout the match, Conner said her team had no response to the Warriors’ bigs, and that was what made the difference.

“I don’t know why we were so shocked that they blocked us,” Conner said. “We didn’t respond with the mentality that we needed.”

In a losing effort, senior Maia Sadler led the team with two aces and 18 digs and junior Karlee Davis had a team-high eight kills as well as one of the team’s two blocks.

The Warriors’ next match is Saturday at home against Coal Ridge and the Wildcats will try to recover from the loss in time to travel to play Montezuma-Cortez today.


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