Retaining their dominance of Clarence Cannon Conference volleyball, Centralia’s Lady Panthers volleyball team beat visiting Brookfield tonight, August 30, in two sets in all three divisions.
The freshman squad won 25-21 and 25-10. The junior varsity squad won 25-13 and 25-18.
Varsity won 25-11 and 25-10.
They were the type of games Brookfield was expecting.
“We knew Centralia would be tough competition,” Amy Dixon, Brookfield head volleyball coach, said. “They are probably our toughest competition in the regular season.”
She said they had upgraded their game to a 5-1 set and switched from underhand serves to overhead serves in anticipation of what the Lady Panthers bring to the court.
“We had a lot of different methods we were trying to do, back row attacks. . . trick plays . . . The level the girls rose to tonight, I am proud of them.”
When asked if there was any particular Centralia player on Brookfield’s Radar, she said, “All of them, they can hit the ball hard, they can place it, they have tough servers.”
Though the score was only one point different, it took Centralia longer to win the second set.
Dixon said that was because she turned her players loose to “play volleyball and have fun. To win,” she said, “Brookfield has to be able to be a little goofy once and a while. We play better when we are having fun.”
Lady Panthers Head Coach Sofija Ivanovic complimented Brookfield’s improvement from last season.
“Alaina Berendzen, Aleigha Dollens,” she said when asked who put a smile on her face that evening. “My JV players coming up to play varsity… Baylee Beard my freshman. They are all willing to learn, willing to work. That puts a smile on my face. And Carter Simkins too, she is really getting much better.
She also agreed the second set was a little tougher.
“Our first set, was more, the girls went in with the attitude ‘We will beat them because we did last year.’ So we lost a couple points at the beginning, but once we started serving we took control.”
In a way, she said, they treated the second set the same as Brookfield.
“We said, hey, let’s just play volleyball. I let everyone play.”
She said the team is almost hitting its stride.
“We are getting the game back and playing volleyball. In practice we just work, drill, work, do technique and drive hard. It might be boring but they are going to get better.”
Previously last week, they lost to Father Tolton in two sets, the bounced back to beat Fulton two out of three.