PARK HILLS – The Central volleyball team is well aware of the difficult path that awaits next week in its hope to overtake three higher seeds and capture an elusive district title.
West County has its own solid season from which to draw satisfaction, and offered a valuable test for the Lady Rebels in the fifth-place match of the MAAA Tournament on Wednesday night.
Central produced enough clutch hitting to eclipse a superb defensive showing by the Lady Bulldogs in game two, and matched its No. 5 seed with a 25-12, 26-24 victory.
Senior Brooklyn Pace recorded seven of her 11 kills during the second stanza, including a tie-breaking spike after sending her previous chance into the net at 24-23.
Central (12-13-4) converted a second match point and celebrated its second triumph of the day when a middle attack from West County (18-9) missed the right sideline by inches.
Cheyenne Young shined with four blocks in game two, and senior Kylee McKinney notched four kills as the Lady Bulldogs responded to a thorough domination in the first set.
A dazzling play by junior Ivy Meinershagen to clear the ball while twisting near the floor came two points after a double-block from Young and Rachel Hedgecorth as West County surged ahead 13-7.
Pace revived the Lady Rebels with four kills in a span of seven points. She answered a hard kill by Sarah O’Donnell, and Central freshman Liberty Coleman landed a middle swing for a 19-17 edge.
Young knocked down a quick set to stem the momentum for West County, and eventually put her club in front again at 21-20 by executing a booming solo block.
Nora Graves and Callie Thurston came back with two straight kills for Central, and Avery Norris shared a double block with Thurston for a 23-21 Central edge that was erased two points later.
Balanced offense was on display as the Lady Rebels claimed 19 of the last 25 points in game one. Graves drilled five kills while Norris and Pace contributed five apiece to the lopsided stretch.
West County dropped six straight points with a flurry of errant attacks mixed in, and could not recover fully from the resulting 12-6 deficit.
A kill from Young and subsequent ace serve by Randi Hale closed the gap to 15-11, but Central pulled away as Graves served a defining 8-0 scoring run.
Hannah Stewart and Thurston followed with kills from opposite side after Graves earned the original side out with a cross-court shot.
Stewart made 15 assists and Norris added 11 more while Thurston brought up a team-high nine digs for the Lady Rebels, who will also host the Class 3, District 2 tournament.
O’Donnell added four kills and Randi Hale compiled three game-one blocks for West County. Alyssa Roever distributed 10 assists.
Haylee Watson notched 10 digs and Meinershagen had seven more.
Silver Bracket Semifinals
Central 2, Potosi 0
PARK HILLS – Brooklyn Pace recorded five of her nine kills during an opening rotation across the front row, and Central blistered Potosi 25-10, 25-9 to open Silver Bracket action.
Callie Thurston totaled seven kills, seven digs and two blocks, and served a 7-0 scoring run that created a 9-2 Central advantage in game one.
Pace capped that streak on a left-side spike after Nora Graves made a spinning dig with one fist. Avery Norris terminated an impressive rally later on for a 17-7 margin.
Hannah Stewart made 12 assists and Norris added 10 for Central. Graves had a team-high 10 digs along with two aces, and Liberty Coleman provided four kills with two blocks.
Hailey Jennings and Gracey Allison had three kills each for Potosi. Peyton Blair finished with eight digs while Zoe Harbison provided five more.
The Lady Trojans were plagued by numerous attacking errors. Their seventh miscue of game two yielded a 13-2 deficit.
Potosi scored three straight points during one stretch after MacKee Finley fought off a vicious incoming spike, but a Thurston stuff-block sparked a closing 5-0 surge by the Lady Rebels.
West County 2, Fredericktown 0
PARK HILLS – Sarah O’Donnell used a fast start at the net while compiling six kills and 10 digs overall, and West County edged higher-seeded Fredericktown 25-21, 25-22 in the Silver Bracket.
Cheyenne Young made consecutive blocks after teammate Ivy Meinershagen landed a push to the deep corner to help the Lady Bulldogs surge ahead 12-8 in game two.
Mallory Mathes smashed a kill moments later for Fredericktown after Katelyn White kept a hard spike off the floor. The Lady Blackcats eventually closed to within 20-19 on two kills by Marissa Hale.
However, Kylee McKinney won a joust against two blockers, and Allee Drennen served an ensuing ace as West County restored a 23-19 cushion.
Young finished with four blocks and four kills. Jordan Stevens also knocked down four kills in the victory, including the final swing of an opening set that included 11 ties.
Haylee Watson led a strong passing effort by the Lady Bulldogs, and tallied 14 digs while Alyssa Roever and Ivy Meinershagen dished out nine and eight assists, respectively.
Mathes compiled six kills and nine digs for the Lady Blackcats. Taylor McMurry had three kills plus two aces, and Callista Francis provided a pair of solo blocks.
Junior libero Abby Parson brought up 12 digs, and White chipped in seven more for Fredericktown, which scored three straight points after falling behind 11-8 early on.