Wright sisters lead Tigers past Warriors
A renewed sense of urgency by the seniors on Central High School’s volleyball team gave the Warriors a boost Thursday night. Grand Junction’s hitters, however, gave the Tigers an unreachable lead when it mattered.
Tia Wright had a match-high 20 kills and Lexi Wright added seven kills and five aces for the Tigers, whose play at the net made the difference in the Tigers’ 25-17, 25-15, 24-26, 25-14 Southwestern League victory over the Warriors.
“That’s what we definitely look to, especially this season,” said assistant coach Ashley Wells, one of two assistant coaches running things with head coach Jeff Wells absent with an illness. “Every game is different, and there’s different things we have to be ready for. That’s definitely been our go-to this season, though.”
Tia Wright, a senior, was the go-to player again for the Tigers (9-7, 2-4 SWL). She had seven kills in the first set, then added six more kills and an ace in the second set to put Grand Junction in control.
Judi Woomer had 13 digs, Lexi Wright added 12 digs and Tia Wright 14 to get Grand Junction’s offense rolling.
“Our focus is always on defense first,” Lexi Wright, a junior middle blocker, said. “We don’t make that pass, we don’t get those points.”
Tricia Trent-Ramsey had 10 kills and five blocks and Megan Garner added seven kills for the Warriors (3-13, 0-7), who were able to neutralize Grand Junction’s offense in the third set. That helped Central stay within striking distance and, eventually, score five of the final six points of the third set to win it, but the Warriors couldn’t carry that momentum into the fourth set.
“The energy was there at the beginning, but when we got down 5-0 at the start (of the second set), we kind of lost it,” said Trent-Ramsey, one of four seniors honored on senior night. “But we fought back, and ... that’s the kind of standard I hope we’ve set, that they at least try to have a winning mentality even if they don’t come out with a win. They need to have that sense of urgency all the time.”
Central showed that in the third set.
Facing match point after a stuff-block from Mackenzie Younker that put the Tigers up 24-22, a stuff-block from Trent-Ramsey, followed by an ace from sophomore Sabree Herrera, pulled Central even at 24-24. The Warriors took the lead after a Grand Junction net foul, and another stuff-block from Trent-Ramsey sealed the set win to extend the match.
That’s when the Tigers took advantage of Central’s miscues, scoring seven of their first 11 fourth-set points off the Warriors’ errors to go up 11-6 before using a match-ending 4-0 run to seal it.
“That (third set) helps us a lot because now we know for sure we can’t just walk into a match expecting a win,” Tia Wright said. “It shows that we have to play to win all the time instead of playing not to lose.”