By Dennis Atwood -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- The Central Falcons rode positive momentum from their Apple Capital tournament win over Washington last week to gain their second win of the young season, 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20), over the Warren County Wildcats in non-district volleyball action on Tuesday night.
Central (2-3) showed marked improvement in all skill areas since their lopsided season-opening loss to powerhouse Strasburg. Their upgraded serving skills were evident as they laced a total of 23 aces, including the match-winner by junior setter Kathleen Maynard.
Junior hitter Marissa Brandon led the Falcons with nine kills and six aces, followed by junior Brea Hinegardner with eight kills and three aces.
"We have really been practicing on hitting harder and hitting where there's holes where they can't get the ball back up, and serving to their weaker players," Brandon said.
Game 1 was evenly contested as Central ran off seven-straight points on senior Ashley Bodge's serve for a 7-2 lead. Trailing 8-3, the Wildcats executed a 10-3 streak to take a 13-11 lead.
Central dominated the last half of the game with two five-point streaks to build a 24-16 lead, before committing a service error and an attack error, and a top of the net kill by senior Brooke Magalis pulled the Wildcats within five.
Then Hinegardner hit the game-winning kill with an assist from Bodge.
"Everything worked well tonight, but I definitely think it helps coming off the win last week," Hinegardner said. "We were pumped up and knew we could beat [the Wildcats] if we played our game, and we definitely played our game tonight."
Game 2 was tight in the early going, with neither team getting more than a three-point lead until Warren County (0-3) took a 20-15 lead, featuring three aces by Magalis.
With Warren County leading 23-18, the Falcons fought back with a kill by Courtney Tucker and an ace by Hinegardner, before committing two attack errors to give the game to the Wildcats.
The Falcons got back on track in taking the third and fourth games.
"They were just confident," Central coach Allison Huckstep said of her Falcons. "They knew they were a good passing and serving team and they believed in their abilities. I was very happy the way they went out on the court and approached each point one-by-one. They really fought for everything they got tonight."
Central opened Game 3 with a 6-0 run, and later a 9-3 streak to build a 17-9 lead on the way to the 25-19 win.
The squads fought tooth and nail in Game 4 to reach ties at 17, 18, and 19-all. Hindegardner then took charge with two kills. Warren County committed two attack errors to give Central a 24-20 lead.
Then Maynard slammed her fourth ace of the night just inside the back right corner.
"We still gotta get that first match win under out belt," Warren County coach Cathy Brill said. "Central wanted it more than we did and we just made too many mistakes, and they served really well."
Magalis also showed superior serving skills, notching eight aces in the match. Other Warren County leaders were senior Katie Robinson and junior Robin Mikulak with four kills each.