Underrated? At 15-1, Warriors flying under radar

Central High School’s volleyball team is doing a good job of flying under the radar.

The Warriors are 15-1 overall and 7-0 in the Southwestern Conference, but in last week’s MaxPreps.com volleyball poll, Central found itself outside the top five and received only one vote.

Of course rankings and polls really don’t mean anything, but someone needs to be alerted that the Warriors are for real.

Central has strung together 10 wins in a row with its only loss coming to Class 3A power Valley in the Lewis-Palmer tournament.

“This is where we wanted to be,” Central coach Beth Nelson said. “We have set ourselves up to be in a good situation for the last week of the season.”

In fact, the Warriors are three wins away from being able to host a district tournament for the first time since 1996.

“If you look at the banners, volleyball hasn’t done anything in 12 years,” Central setter Haleigh Higgins said. “This is our big year, and we want to show people we are a really good team.”

Standing in the Warriors’ way is matches left with Fruita Monument today, and a trip this weekend to the four corners to play Durango and Montezuma-Cortez. Although Central doesn’t plan on looking past Fruita, Friday night in Durango could determine the league champion.

The Demons are 7-1 in SWL play with their lone loss coming 3-1 to Central.

“That game is for league champs, it’s big,” Nelson said. “If we can go down there and do our best, hopefully that will be enough to come out on top.”

The Warriors’ best is pretty impressive. Central is led by experienced players like Higgins and senior captains Amy Kame and Maddi Vana.

At 5-foot-11, Higgins is one of the taller setters in the state, but gets the job done, as she has more than 450 assists this season. Higgins had been a hitter earlier in her career at Central, but moved to setter last season.

“It’s different setting, but it’s fun,” Higgins said. “We have the athletic ability to put the ball away, and it’s fun to play ‘big-bang’ volleyball.”

Kame is the main recipient of Higgins’ passes as the senior has 225 kills this season, an average of 14 kills per game. Not far behind is junior captain Ashley Wells who has 156 kills.

“They are both tremendous athletes,” Nelson said. “They both are really aggressive around the net, and when they get the ball they have been putting it away.”

Rounding out the Warriors’ lineup is defensive players like Mady Minzey and Alyce Albright who both lead Central in digs with more than 100.

The Warriors are a talented team that puts up strong statistics, but according to Higgins, the Warriors’ success begins on the practice court.

“We are all very competitive,” Higgins said. “If you watch one of our practices, when we do drills we get mad at each other because we want to win so bad.”


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