North Central defeats Superior Central, 3-1; first win in two years
By JOHN VRANCIC
For the Daily News
POWERS — The late Jackie Gleason often said “how sweet it is” on his weekly television show in the mid-1960s.
North Central’s volleyball team enjoyed the sweet taste of victory for the first time in two years here Tuesday night, topping the Superior Central Cougars 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19) in a Skyline Central Conference match.
“It feels real good to finally break through,” said Jets’ senior Tori Dani, who finished with three service aces and six digs. “It’s such a relief. We felt pretty confident when we got ahead near the end of the fourth set. I’m glad we didn’t have to go to a fifth set.”
“I think everybody could hear the piano fall off my back,” said second-year Jets’ coach Rick Mick. “We’ve been in this situation a few times and couldn’t finish. Tonight we were able to finish which is huge for our program.”
The final set was tied at 14 before the Cougars scored the next three points, taking a 17-14 lead on a Jets’ passing miscue.
Superior Central still led 18-15 after a block by sophomore middle hitter Riley Moore, but was unable to maintain the upper hand.
“We didn’t play at our level at all,” said Cougars’ coach Kris Bray. “Although, I’ll give them credit. They kept us off balance. We had too many unforced errors. We played kind of sloppy and had errors we could control and didn’t. We need to regroup.”
North Central, as it did at crunch time, cashed in on several Cougars’ errors and gained a 16-10 lead on a kill by senior Andie Arsenault.
“I think we got a little too comfortable in the second set,” said Arsenault. “We’re not used to being in that position. This is a huge confidence boost for us. We’ve been waiting for this for two years.”
Arsenault hit 19-of-21 serves and had seven digs and Dani made good on 17-of-20 serves.
North Central junior Ariel Poupore converted 18-of-20 serves, including four aces. Moore collected five aces.
Senior Jesi Dani was the Jets’ defensive leader with eight digs.
“We’re trying to get more interest in our program,” said Mick. “Winning is contagious. This absolutely puts us in a better mindset.”
The Jets, who also won the jayvee match in two sets, host North Dickinson Thursday.
North Central — Poupore (four aces, three kills, one block, five digs); T. Dani (three aces, six digs); J. Dani (one ace, eight digs); Arsenault (one ace, seven digs).
Superior Central — Moore (five aces, four kills, one block, one assist, one dig); Johnson (two aces, 12 kills, five digs); Rutter (two aces, six kills, six assists, four digs); K. Augustyn (one ace, seven kills, one block, seven digs).