MORGAN CITY — Central Catholic volleyball coach Kindra Halverson said strong serving would be key for her squad if it was to pull off a victory against No. 19 seed Christian Life in regional round Division 5 action Monday.
The Lady Eagles got more than enough as they rolled past the Baton Rouge-based team, 3-0 (25-9, 25-11, 25-5).
Central Catholic put up an impressive 19 aces in the victory.
“All … last week we worked on serving to zones and trying to pick people off,” Halverson said. “You know if (we) see someone struggling, try to keep forcing the ball to them so they did a great job serving zones to them tonight. I mean perfect job almost. There was only one or two misses of zones and they were still in the court. I was really proud of them for doing that. That’s a lot of focus, especially in a loud gym like this, so that was exciting.”
Lady Eagles’ senior Celine Flores, who recorded seven aces in the victory, said, “We have been practicing it a lot, because we know it’s really important when you get to the playoffs.”
Even at times when Central Catholic’s serves were not aces, Christian Life had trouble making solid passes to teammates.
“The aces to errors ratio was crazy and you usually want to be even and tonight it was way more aces than errors,” Halverson said.
The Lady Eagles recorded 19 aces to seven errors.
Central Catholic also got its usual net play as it connected on 36 of 60 attempts for kills for a 45 percent clip.
With the win, the Lady Eagles can look forward to the state volleyball tournament at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner where they will face No. 6 seed St. Martin’s Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
“It’s awesome,” Flores said of the return trip where Central Catholic has been in recent years. “I’m so excited and it’s my senior year, so I’m hoping this year’s different and we can get past the semis, but we have to focus on Thursday first.”
Halverson said with a lot of upperclassmen, this year's trip to Kenner would be more "comfortable."
“They’re ready to go," Halverson said. They know exactly what they need to do to get it done. It’s just a matter of coming together to do it.”
In the first game Monday, Central Catholic began to pull away with a 10-0 run, turning a 5-3 lead into a 12-3 advantage.
Maria Templet had two aces during the run, while Central Catholic’s Meo Knight put down several balls during the run.
Central Catholic was never threatened the rest of the game as it used kills by Gee Garrett, Flores, Brie Hill and Abbie Bergeron as well as aces by Flores and Brittany Longman to pull away. The second of Longman’s two aces in game one sealed the victory.
In game two, Central Catholic began the game just as it ended the first: with an ace, as Flores connected on the game’s first serve.
Already ahead 8-5, Central Catholic used a 5-0 run to take a comfortable 13-5 lead.
From then on, Central Catholic used six combined aces by Caroline Byrne and Flores in their run to as much as a 23-8 lead.
After three consecutive Christian Life points, Central Catholic ended the game on an Amanda Barron kill.
Christian Life took its only lead of the game at 1-0 on a Hill hitting error, but from then on, Central Catholic cruised nearly uninterrupted.
In the third game, the Lady Eagles put together 7-0 and 8-1 runs.
“Not taking anything away from Central Catholic, they’re a great team, No. 3 in the state right now and they’re a good team,” Christian Life coach Kirsten Robinson said. “There are some areas we had some weaknesses (that) they had some strengths in. And there are some areas we had some strengths in (and) they had some weaknesses, but overall, again, they’re a great team and we can’t take anything away from them.”
As for stat leaders, Hill led Central Catholic with 12 kills, a dig and three solo blocks, while Flores added four kills, seven aces and nine digs.
Other Lady Eagle contributors included Byrne, 25 assists, three aces and four digs; Knight, eight kills, a solo block and a block assist; Garrett, eight kills, a dig and a solo block; Bergeron, a kill and 10 digs; Longman, six aces and four digs; Templet, two aces and five digs; and Barron, two kills, three assists and an ace.