CENTERBURG — It was Senior
Night as the Centerburg girls volleyball team hosted East Knox on Tuesday. But
it was a sophomore who stole the show.
Centerburg’s Tristen Simpson scored a career-high 22 kills as her Trojans downed the Bulldogs in four games, 25-19 23-25 25-17 25-14.
“She was great. She was there the whole time. She’s really developed as a player,” Centerburg head coach Ami Stevens said.
It’s not like the seniors didn’t have their say. Celeste Tucker scored a team-high 36 assists. Jaime Alexander was solid the whole match. And Kayla Peck, out with an injury and needing surgery, was a vocal presence on the bench.
“We’ve been working on moving around the blocks during practice, and it really showed tonight,” Stevens said.
It showed right away. Centerburg stormed out to an early lead thanks mainly to the Tucker/Simpson combination. East Knox had communication problems early, until late in the first when, with the score 21-12 in favor of Centerburg, East Knox head coach Brooke Doup called timeout.
“I told them to stay away from Tristen (Simpson),” Doup said. “Once they learned to stay away from her and be aggressive, we started winning.”
It was too late for the first game, which ended in favor of the Trojans, 25-19. But the Bulldogs came out on fire in the second game. The teamwork and communication were there again. Sparked by a number of great blocks by Morgan Durfee, Lindsey Rager and Liz Tullos; and some huge digs by Allison Henthorn, East Knox held on to win the second.
“Ally is always 100 percent positive energy. She always keeps the girls up,” Doup said.
Henthorn ended the night with 32 digs, a team high.
The Centerburg players appeared visibly upset following the Game 2 loss. To bring her girls back, Stevens had to remind them where they were.
“This is Senior Night. We wanted to highlight the seniors early, but we also wanted to play our game. You can’t focus on your seniors and consequently ignore your talented underclassmen,” Stevens said.
It was up to the frontcourt once again. Simpson continued her run of blocks and kills. When Simpson came out for a breather, Stacy Fielding and Mikaela Weldy took over to score seven kills apiece.
Eventually, the size and strength of Centerburg was just too much.