By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
After watching the first set of Monday's volleyball match between Benton and Central, one might have thought it was going to be a close contest throughout.
The Indians (4-1) weren't having any of that. At least, in the middle part of the match.
After falling to the Cardinals 26-24 in a back-and-forth first set, Central dominated sets two and three 25-12 and 25-15, and then won the fourth set 25-22 at the Coliseum on Monday night.
After losing such a close set to start off, Central head coach Monica Flaska noticed a sense of urgency from her team in the final three frames.
"I told them to go out there and show (Benton) that you deserve this set and not let one set get you down," Flaska said. "It scared them a little for sure."
Central, winners of three straight matches, got off to hot starts in both the second and third sets. Benton (3-3) called timeouts and tried to get on runs, but Central had the momentum entering the fourth set.
The Indians got off to a 6-2 start in the fourth set, but Benton rallied to take a 14-12 lead. After Central took a timeout, the Indians scored four in a row to take a 16-14 lead in the fourth.
Benton fought back to tie it at 20 and again at 22, but Central senior Abby Dorsey came up with several critical kills late in the fourth to seal a win for the Indians.
Dorsey finished with five kills, but senior Isabella Flaska was at times dominant with 15 kills. Fellow senior Ella Moody had 10 kills and a pair of blocks. Junior Katie Miller also logged seven kills and four blocks.
"Hitting wise, there's always somebody one that, even with our players who are sitting, are really good players," Flaska said of her roster. "It's a battle."
With a strong number of players who rotate on and off the floor throughout each match, and with eight senior leaders, Flaska is hopeful that her team's leadership and chemistry can lead them to further success as the season goes on.
"I'm hoping that pulls them through the season when they struggle," Flaska said. "If there's drama on a team for girls, you can have the best, outstanding DI players, but if there's drama, they can still fall apart. So, they need to know that no matter what we play, I always expect to win. I always expect them to win."
Benton was led Monday by senior outside hitter Alyia Stillman, who logged a match-high 17 kills. Fellow senior Lauren Burright had six.
Central is back in action on Tuesday at William Chrisman in Independence. The Indians will continue to play a string of Kansas City area, Class 5 opponents with a home match against Ray Town on Thursday and then a road trip to Staley next Tuesday.
"Competition is heating up," Flaska said. "But, with my girls, I always expect to win. This could be the year. I expect it."
Benton is home to St. Pius X on Thursday.
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