Walled Lake Central's #8 Sarah Allmacher sets the ball toward the net while Walled Lake Northern's #2 Ashley Hitchcock tries to block during their match at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday September 24, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
VOLLEYBALL: Walled Lake Central sweeps away rival Northern WITH TOUT VIDEOS
Walled Lake Northern's #7 Courtney Sullivan spikes past Walled Lake Central's #13 Ali Ambrose during their match at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday September 24, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
Walled Lake Central's #1 Catelyn Girard tries getting the ball over Walled Lake Northern's #15 Emily Grathoff during their match at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday September 24, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
Walled Lake Northern's #15 Emily Grathoff and Walled Lake Central's #7 Jayla Wesley go up for the ball at the net during their match at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday September 24, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
WALLED LAKE – Going into Tuesday, Walled Lake Central was looking to continue its hot start in KLAA North play, while making a little bit of history as well.
The Vikings, who got off to a 3-0 start in the Division, were looking to improve to 4-0 for the first time in the program’s history.
And Central was able to do just that as the Vikings swept a rival for the second time in the past seven days, disposing of Walled Lake Northern in three games, 25-20, 25-21, 25-18.
Central (13-2-1, 4-0 KLAA North) head coach Cathy Johnson said that despite a few moments throughout the night where there was a miscue, the Vikings stayed in attack mode all night, keeping pressure on Northern from start to finish, which was a big key for her squad.
“We’re still without our middle, so we still made adjustments and we got a little sloppy in some spots,” she said. “However, all together, we were able to still attack and if we had a sloppy play, we didn’t give up and we kept going with it and we were able to put the ball away. So that was a huge difference here.”
Holding a two-games-to-none lead in the third game, with a 12-12 tie midway through the game, the Vikings put together an 11-3 run, highlighted by two kills from senior Catelyn Girard and two more from junior Chelsey Kaminski to take a 23-15 lead late in the game and eventually close out the match shortly after.
Girard helped pace the Vikings all night long as she finished with a game-high 19 kills to go along with 20 digs and an ace, while Riley Kipp finished with 25 assists and Alex Picardal chipped in with 17 digs for Central.
“I just really kept calm and didn’t get frantic,” Girard said of her play on Tuesday night. “I think those are two big things that I should work on to be consistent.”
In the second game of the night, both teams battled back and forth as the two teams were knotted at 19-19 late in the match after a kill from Northern’s Riley Johnson and a point registered by Kaminski for the Vikings.
But the Vikings closed out the game with another strong run behind a pair of aces from Kaminski and two more kills from Girard to cap off a 7-2 run and seal the 25-21 win.
Northern head coach Gus Dumlao said that he was pleased with the play of some of his hitters on Tuesday night who generated offense all match long, but credited Central for its constant pressure in all three games.
“We tried to get some of our top hitters to get more involved tonight,” he said. “But you have to hand it to Central, they had some pretty good hitters putting pressure on us. But there’s another day and we haven’t given up and I think our future looks bright and that’s something that we can keep our sights set on going forward.”
Courtney Sullivan registered nine kills to help lead Northern, while Johnson added in six more for the Knights. Senior Hanna von Bernthal finished with 26 assists and freshman Anna Bauer had 24 digs as well for the Knights.
In the opening game of the night, the Vikings overcame an early deficit and once again closed out the game in convincing fashion and on an 8-2 run behind kills from Girard and Kaminski to grab the 25-20 win.
“All of our hitters are dangerous, because all of them can go,” said Johnson of her team’s ability to collect kills. “That one thing about our team, even though we do have a few that seem to get a little more kills right now, anybody on this team can put that ball away and that really makes my job a lot easier.”
Central now turns its attention to Lakeland on Thursday, after the Eagles also improved their record to a perfect 4-0 with a win over Walled Lake Western on Tuesday.
“It’s a huge way to prove ourselves,” said Girard. “I think we really do have the chance to win and if we play our game and our best and I think we’ll be able to do that.”