Marian Central had been in worse situations this postseason.
So, when the Hurricanes lost a mistake-filled second set of Thursday’s Class 3A Burlington Central Sectional finals to the host Rockets, they merely picked themselves up, talked it over and dominated the third set for a 25-21, 18-25, 25-15 victory and berth in Saturday’s Antioch Supersectional against Payton.
“This kind of thing happened to us in our first regional game with Richmond-Burton,” Marian Central hitter Frankie Taylor said. “We lost 25-10 and we weren’t talking to each other, we were making a lot of mistakes.
“All we said was, ‘Girls, believe in each other and work together.’ We knew somebody would be there to get the ball if we started communicating.”
On two occasions, the Hurricanes ran into each other, and mistakes gave Central 13 of its Set 2 points. That ended quickly in the final set when Marian Central’s Hannah Davis started hitting and blocking, Taylor started hitting and teammates Sydney Nemtuda and Rachel Giustino joined the attack.
Marian Central charged out to a 12-5 lead with nine points coming off kills, including the first two by Davis. And Burlington Central never got closer than five again.
Taylor finished with 13 kills and went a perfect 21-of-21 on digs, while Davis had 10 kills.
“They got on a run right there and I thought maybe we lost a little momentum,” Burlington Central coach Marv Leavitt said. “We worked so hard to get back in the match (in Set 2) that I just thought we lost a little edge right there.
“You’re down and you spend so much energy just to catch up that once they hit us in the third set we didn’t respond. We tried, but couldn’t. We lost our momentum and they were a very good team.”
Central (27-12) had nine kills from Jenna Schudel and eight from Makenna Jensen, while Aly Detamble had 16 digs and Allie O’Reilly 15.
The Rockets seized a 9-3 lead in Set 2 and fought off a Marian Central rally, winning on Jensen’s kill off a free ball. Marian Central won the first set by going on a 6-2 run after the teams were tied at 19, with Davis getting two big kills for a 22-19 lead.
“The second set was one of those things that was frustrating to see, but maybe because of our experience we didn’t let it worry us,” said Marian coach Laura Watling said. “We knew we’ve been able to come back and we were able to do that again.”