By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.– It was a good test of adversity for the Central Volleyball team Wednesday night against Lebanon. Their five-set 24-26, 25-10, 22-25, 25-20 15-11 was a little different from their three-set sweep of the Warriors at the beginning of the month.
The biggest thing that hindered the Panthers in this match-up was consistency. When they were in Lebanon the same, first-set battle. Central continued that into the second set, but little miscues here and there allowed Lebanon to hang around.
The Warriors took advantage of the miscues, Isabella Jacobsen and Trinity Holden each set the tone for the Lebanon offense, taking the match to the limit on the road as Lebanon looked for their second win of the year.
“I think just finding our consistency, intensity in our passes and our hits I think we can have a battle with McNary (Friday), I’m really excited to play them because I got friends on that team,” said the Panthers Kennedy Kantola. “But just trying to find some consistency on the team and not getting super low on ourselves and getting rid of the mistakes that we had and go for it.”
Kantola and Katie Fraley matched Holden’s and Jacobsen’s output on the Central side. Farley set the pace in the third set when girls like Jenna Cyphers and Kendall Siedel got some Varsity action from the Junior Varsity-level.
Siedel making some kills and had a nice block during the match that helped keep the Panthers afloat against the barrage of fastballs coming their way defensively, feeding off of each other’s energy.
“We definitely have those relationships on the team. We push each other as a team and I think that’s why we did so good in this game,” Fraley said.
“I think they (the younger girls) did amazing. I remember my first game as a freshman, you’re on your toes and you’re ready for it. But I think they came out wanting to play and it was really exciting to see them play,” adds Kantola of the younger girls. “It just hypes us up as a whole team, they played really good tonight
Fraley admits that entering the fifth set that the nerves were high. Central jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Lebanon pulled ahead 7-6, the Panthers got back ahead a few plays later.
After taking a 9-8 lead in the final set off a Warrior service error, the Panthers built a 12-8 lead before Lebanon broke the trend that saw Kantola get a block and a kill.
“I was getting nervous for a second. They won a set, we won a set, they won a set and we won a set. I totally forgot it was going to 15 for a second,” laughed Fraley. “I thought we were still going to 25, so at 15 everyone started jumping and going onto the court. I was like, ‘why are they going on the court?’ then I was like ‘the game’s over, we’ve already won.’ I was super excited.”
Kantola, Moana Andrews and Lizzy Hynes scored the final three points to close out Central’s fourth win of the year. First serve against the Celtics is slated for 7:15 in Keizer Thursday night.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald