SALINA — It was milestone time Saturday for Central Christian College’s volleyball team.
With a four-set victory over KCAC member Southwestern in the first match of a triangular, the Lady Tigers reached 10 wins for the first time in more than a decade.
CCC won 29-27, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21.
“The entire match was a battle,” said CCC coach Christina Ludwick, whose team was 10-4 after that match. “We started slow almost every set (down 1-7 in the first, 0-5 in the second) and then came storming back. It took a little bit to get a feel for them since we haven't played them in a while, but once we did, we clicked. Our offense was firing by set 3 and it got better every set. Our outside dominated all game, but it was Ciara (Costello) who kept us rolling. She came out of the match with 41 digs. She literally picked up everything.”
Haley Bannister and Mayuko Shono threw down 23 and 21 kills, respectively. Hannah Crandall accumulated a whopping 44 assists.
Central pushed KCAC power Kansas Wesleyan in its second match. While it didn’t win a set against the highly regarded Coyotes — 24-26, 22-25, 23-25 — the closeness of the match proved the Lady Tigers can hang with the best.
“This was the match that we knew would take every ounce of our effort,” Ludwick said. “They are such a great program and receive Top 25 votes regularly. Our girls took the challenge and played one of the best matches of the year. There are no moral victories, but tonight opened the eyes of my players to realize what they're capable of."
Ludwick lauded the play of Kasi Krau.
"Player of the night was Kasi Kraus, hands down,” Ludwick said. “KWU's block was shutting down our outsides and Kasi took the task on herself and hit .292. Proud of the way she's stepped up the past few games."
Bannister and Kraus had 10 kills apiece, Crandall piled up 31 more assists and Costello led in digs with 18.
CCC, now 10-5, goes to Manhattan on Friday to play Manhattan Christian and Ozark Christian College.