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Notre Dame closes out Central in four sets

Central senior Kelsie Politte passes a Notre Dame serve as teammates Madison Dunn (1) and Tayler McMahan react during game four volleyball action on Monday night in Park Hills. (Matt King,

PARK HILLS – The Central volleyball team could not wriggle out of a two-set deficit against the more consistent play of Notre Dame on Monday night.

The visiting Bulldogs erased an 8-2 deficit by posting 16 kills in game four, and finished off a 25-22, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22 triumph.

Junior Courtney Tatum finished with 12 kills, and registered her fourth block in solo fashion to help Notre Dame (12-3-2) establish a 23-18 advantage in the closing stanza.

Central (13-3) turned aside two match points on a kill by Madison Dunn and solo stuff by Blair Sitton before a service error sealed the outcome.

Kate Rubel paced the Bulldogs with 13 kills and 14 digs. Aubrey Nemeyer tallied 10 kills, and setter Claudia Jones dished out 35 assists.

Central middle hitter Blair Sitton (13) spikes past single Notre Dame blocker Kate Rubel during game three volleyball action on Monday night in Park Hills. (Matt King,

Sitton was the dominant attacker of the match with 23 kills, but the Lady Rebels struggled to produce the same output from the middle once she rotated out.

Madison Dunn thrived along the outside with 17 kills, along with 14 digs and six assists. Avery Johnson made 28 digs to lead all players, and chipped in seven kills.

Notre Dame briefly appeared to be reeling as Sitton sent down two overpass kills and two more spikes during the first progression across the front row in game four.

Central maintained a 10-6 edge on a twisting back-set from Sydney Miles to Dunn, but a series of conceded free balls enabled Notre Dame to capitalize.

Neumeyer broke an 18-18 deadlock with a tip shot on the line, then the Bulldogs answered solid digs by Elliot Woods and Miles with a block to continue a pivotal 5-0 scoring spurt.

The Lady Rebels overcame a two-game hole in their season opener against Windsor, and hoped for a similar comeback after regrouping in the third on Monday.

Sitton landed three kills in a span of four points, helped by an excellent dig by Johnson on a powerful spike, and Dunn deposited another stop by Johnson for a 12-5 start.

Notre Dame answered by taking the next five points, but halted its own momentum with back-to-back spikes out of bounds.

Johnson delivered two kills as Central restored a 20-13 lead, and Miles caught the Bulldogs out of position with a clever flick over her shoulder on second contact.

Central setter Sydney Miles (10) makes a dig during game four volleyball action against Notre Dame on Monday night in Park Hills. (Matt King,

The Lady Rebels negated their 11-10 edge in kills during game one with costly hitting errors, but regained a 17-16 lead when Miles short-served three consecutive aces.

Dunn sent down a return bump from Miles, who totaled 37 assists, 19 digs and four aces, to give Central a promising 20-17 margin that soon slipped away.

Notre Dame executed a clear plan from the outset to fire middle attacks toward Miles, forcing the Lady Rebels to find an alternative setter in those instances.

Kate Rubel tipped an overpass, and shared a tiebreaking double block with Neumeyer at 22-21 as the Bulldogs punctuated game one with a 5-0 run.

Central extended several rallies with hustle in game two, but watched a 10-10 tie become an 18-11 deficit following four attacking errors during a stretch of nine points.

Sitton and Dunn combined for 11 kills in game two, but the Lady Rebels could only draw within 23-20 before a tip shot by Jones provided the clincher.

Kendyl Slinkard provided seven kills plus two blocks, and Brie Rubel made 16 digs for Notre Dame.

Kelsie Politte had a team-high 25 serve receptions with 10 digs and seven assists for Central. Woods contributed 10 digs with 17 receptions, and Tayler McMahan made 16 receptions.

Central senior Madison Dunn (1) bump sets during game one volleyball action against Notre Dame on Monday night in Park Hills.

Central senior Avery Johnson (9) directs an overhead pass from the back row during game two volleyball action against Notre Dame on Monday night in Park Hills.

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