Dutchtown High School had the balance that coach Patrick Ricks likes to see in his team when they scored a 3-1 win over a tired Central team in nondistrict volleyball at Central on Thursday.
Different players played key roles at different times as the Griffins pulled away to take the first set 25-15, dropped the second 25-27, and won the final two sets 25-16 and 25-19.
“Everybody contributed,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Ricks said. “I thought everybody did a few things well on the floor tonight. From the setters to the hitters to the defensive players, everyone did a really good job.
“When we play together, we play well. When we don’t, we kind of struggle,” he said.
Dutchtown broke up a tight first set with a late 14-3 run to take a 1-0 lead at 25-15. The set opened with five ties, the last at 11-11, before the Griffins capitalized on nine Central unforced errors to put away the set.
Central (11-5) almost squandered a 23-20 lead in the second set when the visitors got four straight kills, three by Caroline Beeman and one by Lauren Launey, to pull even at 24.
After the teams traded points, Jordan Stephens and Natalie Cox recorded kills for the Wildcats to ice a 27-25 second set win.
More Central miscues and a stout Dutchtown defense highlighted the third set. Central committed seven unforced errors and the Griffins scored on four blocks by Launey and one by Whitney Jones.
“Lauren did a good job seeing the blocks,” Ricks said. “She made an adjustment with her hands that I asked her to.
“Bailey Mohler had a good game on defense, and our libero, Kaitlyn (Lund), you know she’s going to get to the ball and when she did, she did a good job of getting it up.”
Launey finished with 11 blocks to go with seven kills and three digs. Kristen Thompson, with 11 kills, three blocks and three digs, and Kathleen Vesterling, with seven kills, three digs and two blocks, were other team leaders for Dutchtown (10-4).
Down two sets to one, Central took an early lead in the fourth set before it was tied at 12. The teams traded points until Dutchtown, behind two kills and a block by Launey, went up 24-17 on a 7-0 run, and ended the match on a final kill by Jones.
For the Lady Wildcats, it was another chapter in what coach Michele Lebouef calls “an insane year.”
“It’s been a long, emotional couple of weeks,” Lebouef said. “We came out of the gate at the beginning of the season really excited and ready to get back on the court, but with the flood happening and school changing and all our struggles, I think we’re finally getting tired.
“We’re young, playing three freshman and a sophomore setter who’s never played varsity, but they fought hard.
“We’re going to take tomorrow off, try to have some fun this weekend, and get back after it on Monday,” she said.
Senior Jordan Stephens led both teams with 18 kills, six of them coming on power shots from off the net. She added 11 kills and three aces.
“Jordan is still Jordan,” Lebouef said. “She’s playing great right now. Everybody looks to her to make plays, and that’s just what she does.”
Libero London Perrault had 18 digs and an assist, while setter Grace Furlow had 29 assists and six digs.