Skyline girls take Central

WOODSTOCK – Skyline High School’s volleyball team strung together four consecutive kills in the decisive fourth set Monday night to pull out a 3-1 non-district victory over homestanding Central High School on Jerry Walters Court.

The scores were 25-15, 23-25, 25-15 and 26-24.

The feisty Falcons (0-2) did not go down without a fight.

Having won the second set 25-23, Central was hoping to extend the match into a fifth frame, but the visitors (2-2) were not to be denied.

“We certainly wanted it to go five sets, but I think (Skyline’s) composure won out,” said Central coach Christy Barb, whose team won its first set of the season after being shut out by 2014 Group 4A runnerup James Wood to start the campaign.

“We certainly played hard, but now we have to learn how to win these. I told the girls in the locker room they had nothing to be sorry about. We can build on this.”

Trailing 2-1 after three sets, Central held leads of four points on three occasions and another advantage at five points, but Skyline mustered its strength at the end.

Nikea Whitmore scored two kills to tie the decision-maker at 24, then Jenna Grim did similar as the Hawks pulled out the two-point victory.

“I try to snap my wrist to get the ball down. That’s the key to setting the ball,” said Grim.

Grim and Taylor Ziemer had eight kills apiece in the match, while Whitmore chipped in with five kills, five aces and a block. Becca Thomas provided six aces to lead both teams in that category.

“To score a kill, you have to snap your wrist (down) and put the ball where they aren’t,” said Skyline coach Erika Berry.

“The kills and our serves were the difference tonight.”

Thomas, who also provided a kill, succeeded on four straight aces to build her team’s lead to 24-15 in the first set.

In set two, the teams played back-and-forth until two unforced Skyline errors decided the affair 25-23.

In the third set, the Hawks led by as many as seven points, but the Falcons fought back to trail 14-12.

After Berry called a timeout, Skyline seemed to regain its focus. It went on runs of 4-1, 4-1 and 3-1 to polish off Central 25-15.

The Falcons enjoyed leads of 5-1, 14-10, 19-15 and 21-16, until the Hawks scored four consecutive points to tie the affair at 21-all in set four.

Central bolted ahead by two on a kill by Savannah Gochenour and another by Cianne Fields, but Skyline would not be denied.

Whitmore and Grim saw to it that the Hawks sealed the victory.

Gochenour led all scorers with 10 kills. She added two blocks and two aces. Fields added five kills, while Bree Pifer and Kila Watson added four kills a piece. Tamra Scott added four aces for the Falcons.

“I think the main thing this match showed was that we have heart,” said Berry. “It was just a matter of us settling down. Sometimes their head can get in the way of just playing the way they know how.”

The Skyline coach credited Central, which won just one match in 2014.

“Their libero (Alisia Turner) really played hard. She seemed to be everywhere,” said Berry.

Turner, a junior, played on the junior varsity last year, but was brought up to the varsity in the post-season.

“Alisia really reads the ball well,” said Barb. “She’s just a good all-around player. I’d say she’s our most aggressive player right now.