PARK HILLS – Madison Dunn quickly finalized a piece of personal history on Tuesday evening when her third kill of the first set marked 1,000 for her varsity volleyball career.
For roughly the next 45 minutes, Central had only a few fleeting moments to celebrate during its home opener as Windsor executed a superior offense with limited mistakes.
On the verge of being swept, the Lady Rebels somehow overcame match point at two sets behind, and completed a thrilling comeback with two key seniors unavailable.
Junior transfer Blair Sitton compiled 17 kills and three solo blocks among seven overall, and Central kept gathering momentum down the stretch to seal a 19-25, 17-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-5 victory.
Setter Sydney Miles served three of her four aces to a specific location during game four, and totaled 36 assists while establishing a more consistent rhythm with Sitton at a crucial juncture.
The Lady Rebels trailed 23-20 before pulling even in game three, then were pushed to the brink when an ideal overpass was spiked into the net.
Windsor libero Kate Moore followed with an impressive reaching dig to her left on the next rally, but her team could only guide a free ball back to Central.
Sitton nudged a middle shot past a late triple block to make it 24-24, and the match progressed onward after Tayler McMahan covered a block and the Lady Owls suffered two more attacking errors.
The collective demeanor of both teams switched drastically from there. Central (1-0) finally relaxed with positive intensity while Windsor (0-1) showed more trepidation.
A flurry of floating jump serves by Miles propelled the Lady Rebels ahead 9-3 in game four. Dunn landed a timely kill from the 10-foot line, and Avery Johnson restored an 18-14 lead after both Kelsie Politte and Dunn scrambled on the floor to prolong a rally.
Windsor regrouped and narrowed the margin to 19-18 following a solo block by Maggie Bunton and left-side smash from fellow senior Sydney Green.
But that sequence was followed by several sprayed attacks out of bounds, and Dunn converted a second set point through two blockers to force the decisive fifth.
“We served really tough in that fourth set, and that definitely boosted our confidence,” she said. “Blair came here from Potosi, and has helped us out a lot in the front row. Overall, we finally came together and played as a team.”
The Lady Rebels were laughing after a lost point that continued when a desperate dive by Miles for a low pass ricocheted off the head of teammate Elliot Woods and safely cleared the net.
They were all business from there. Johnson served consecutive aces in the vicinity where Miles enjoyed earlier success, and Central protected a 7-1 cushion.
Miles directed a two-handed push into a vacant back corner at 12-5, and Dunn punctuated a closing 5-0 scoring run with a spike to finish with 16 kills, 11 digs, eight assists and two aces.
Johnson finished with eight kills, nine digs and four aces, and was the first player from either squad to connect on a swing from the back row for an 18-17 edge in game three.
Politte provided 11 digs and McMahan added 10. Central lost the availability of standout setter and hitter Kinley Norris to a serious knee injury over the summer, and soon-to-be four-year starter Khloe Dischbein still needs to satisfy a required number of practices since healing from her own setback.
Green was a primary weapon for Windsor with 15 kills, while Sara Wieberg knocked down seven and Keira Dixon chipped in five. Moore made 15 digs, and Abby Lanfersieck collected three blocks.
Dunn achieved her milestone off a Politte set and Miles dig, and was recognized during an immediate timeout. She was presented a commemorative ball and lighted sign after the contest.
The majority of her career kills occurred during two seasons at Bismarck before moving to Central last year. Dunn has taken an all-around leadership role on the court since arriving.
She said that setting was added to her repertoire recently in the offseason. With Miles and Norris both out of town, Dunn was tapped to run the offense through a 5-1 system.
“It was scary at first coming to a bigger school, but all the girls and coaches are great,” said Dunn, who is also nearing 1,000 career digs. “They welcomed me right away.”
Passing errors put Central in an early hole, and two blocks by Lanfersieck helped the visitors take game one after Green rifled a spike down the line for a 22-17 lead.
Sitton clicked with Miles for eight kills during game two, but the Lady Rebels struggled to connect on passes for a stretch of about 10 points after their tallest player rotated out.
Adrianna Mancuso stepped up with three quick kills for Windsor, and Green again peppered the back corner for a 22-14 margin and future two-game lead.
Arcadia Valley 3, Dexter 1
IRONTON – Senior setter Taylor Lorenz amassed 32 assists, 12 digs and four service aces on Tuesday, and Arcadia Valley earned a solid 25-15, 22-25, 25-18, 25-16 victory over visiting Dexter.
Kayla Sumpter, a starting middle since her freshman season, spiked a team-high 12 kills and produced 19 digs plus five service aces along the back row for the Lady Tigers.
Cate Newstead-Adams totaled 22 digs, eight kills and two aces as Arcadia Valley (2-0) followed up its sweep of Kingston on Monday.
Jaydan Crites contributed seven kills and three assists toward the win. Paige Newstead-Adams added four kills, and equaled Breanna Whited with 13 digs.
Valle Catholic 3, North County 0
BONNE TERRE – Senior Ade Weiler compiled 12 kills, 15 digs and 11 serve receptions plus two aces, and Valle Catholic opened its season by sweeping North County 25-14, 25-18, 25-16 on Tuesday.
Ava Bauman provided six kills and five blocks from the middle, and libero Addi Donze totaled eight digs, 11 receptions and a team-high 14 points with two aces for the Lady Warriors.
Abree Zipprich finished with five kills, 12 digs, 17 assists and two aces. Brooklyn Weibrecht has stepped into the other setting role, and provided 11 assists and 10 digs.
Valle Catholic (1-0) was further helped by four-year starter Makayla Joggerst with six kills, 13 receptions and 10 digs. Emma Christine chipped in two blocks.
Festus 3, Ste. Genevieve 0
FESTUS, Mo. – Despite bringing a balanced attack on Tuesday night, Ste. Genevieve was unable to steal a set on the road as Festus triumphed 25-23, 25-18, 25-21.
Sophia Huck compiled a team-high six kills with 14 assists and six digs for the Dragons, who added five kills each from Kale Clements, Kailyn Fallert, Emma Gegg and Kailynn Harmon.
Ste. Genevieve (0-2) was supplied four kills, three blocks, 12 assists and six digs by returning setter and outside hitter Joleigh Parker.
Abby Boyer made eight digs and Gegg added five more to bolster the defensive effort. Harmon executed two blocks.