St. Michael prevails over Central in district showdown _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- St. Michael's Savannah Wininger goes for a kill against Central on Wednesday at St. Michael.

Round 2 in a competitive volleyball series goes to St. Michael the Archangel.

St. Michael defeated Central in four sets Wednesday night at St. Michael. Central prevailed on its homecourt earlier this season in three sets.

Both teams are tied for the Division II, District 4 lead with 7-1 records with two matches remaining and are right next to each other in the playoff power ratings points. The two teams split matches last season with the home teams prevailing.

“We’re happy to get the win,” St. Michael coach Robert Smith said. “We didn’t play our best ball. We served really well in the first two games.”

St. Michael (16-6) won 25-20, 25-16, 17-25, 25-23. Central (17-8) played its best ball in the last two sets.

“Central really put away some balls and won some long rallies in the last two sets,” Smith said.

“We challenged our girls to bring enthusiasm and match theirs. It was fun.”

Central jumped out to a 14-10 lead in the third set. St. Michael soon cut the deficit to 17-14. Central began to pull away with Kelsey Cooke at the net. Cooke, who had five kills, had three nice plays down the stretch.

“Kelsey played great,” Central coach Michele LeBouef said. “She just stepped into the middle a week and half ago. She jumps well.”

There were seven lead changes in the fourth set. Central rallied from a 15-8 deficit to take an 18-17 lead. St. Michael’s Taylor Heck found an opening on a tip shot to start a 3-0 run as the Warriors led 21-19.

Central scored three straight to take a 22-21 lead. St. Michael finished the set with a 4-1 run, and Madeleine Gremillion had the winning cross-court shot.

Gremillion finished with 16 kills and seven digs. Hannah Keltner added 14 kills and three digs and Amari Bellard had 25 digs and two aces for the Warriors.

Jordan Stephens had 14 kills and five digs for Central. Kaitlyn Cooke had 18 assists and four digs.

“I’m happy we fought back in the third set and were fighting in the fourth set,” LeBouef said.

“Our passing was a little off at times. At the net, we blocked OK. We’ve got to learn to get over our errors faster and not dwell on them into the next points.”

Lauryn Goff added six kills and Claire Clifton had 14 assists for St. Michael.