HILLIARD — The season ended for the Mid-Buckeye Champion Centerburg Trojans volleyball team as it went down in defeat, 25-19, 26-24, 25-14, at the hands of the Elgin Comets in Division III Central District tournament semifinal action at Hilliard Bradley High School on Thursday night.
Centerburg, which had clawed its way past Bloom-Carroll and River Valley in the first two rounds, had its hands full against the Comets. The Trojans came out a little slow, but picked up the pace in the middle of Game 1.
“Elgin’s a good team and, I thought it was going to be a good game,” said Centerburg coach Ami Stevens. “I thought we were equal in a lot of areas but I think the one thing that they just had on us was experience. We are a young team, which is a very good thing. We handled a lot of situations in the tournament very well, but it also catches up with you sometimes and we saw that tonight.”
Even with senior Kayla Peck injured, the Trojans were on the verge of winning Game 2. With her team down 21-20, Centerburg’s Tristen Simpson pounded a couple of kills over the net. She was serving as the Trojans took a 24-22 lead. Unfortunately for the Trojans, the Comets took control of the serve and Game 2, 26-24.
“That’s the game of volleyball,” said Stevens. “That’s the beauty of volleyball. You just have to keep going and going and going. You can never let up.”
The Trojans started Game 3 strong, but Elgin started finding a few holes in their back line and pulled ahead, 18-8, enroute to win the three-game sweep.
“We’re young, mentally, and we’ll just keep growing, but our girls played extremely well,” said Stevens. “They gave everything they had.”
Simpson led the Trojans with 15 attacks. Kendall Compton had 15 assists, while Celeste Tucker had nine. Macy Michel came through with nine digs.
Despite the loss, 2010 was a great year for the young Trojans, who never gave up all season.
“It was a tremendous run,” said Stevens. “The amount of improvement we saw from last year to this year has been tenfold and that’s the best thing you can see as a coach. They put in a ton of work in the off-season, beyond anything we could have asked. The team chemistry was great. It was a joy to be around them.”
Seniors Jaime Alexander, Tucker and Anna McCann, along with Peck will move on, but the Trojans are loaded with talent for next year.
“Anytime you have to say good-bye to seniors that you have worked with all year, it’s tough,” said Stevens. “You’ve built a bond with them. You’ve gone through a lot. You’ve coached them. You’ve mentored them. It’s always one of those things where you hate to see them leave, but you know they are going to do bigger and better things.”