The Central Community College Raiders volleyball team made easy work of the Doane University JV Tigers, winning in three straight sets, 25-14, 25-15 and 25-13 in Tuesday night’s season opener.
In the first set, Doane started out hot and went on a 3-0 run to start the game, but the young Raiders wouldn’t be rattled by the deficit.
Shania Borchers started the momentum for CCC when she ended the 3-0 run with a kill. That quick response began a run for the Raiders.
Jacie Laetsch tied the set up at 3-3 for CCC with two kills of her own.
The set then turned into a back-and-forth affair with the Tigers and Raiders trading points. With the set tied at 8-8 it was either teams’ chance to take control.
CCC seized the opportunity and went on a ten point run including kills from Susie Vavra, Abbe Mancuso and Shania Borchers.
The pressure was on Doane as they trailed 18-8. They attempted to fight back, but the lead was too much to overcome as they only scored six more points in the set. Mancuso, Borchers and Vavra each had three kills for the Raiders in the first set.
The second set was also a close contest in the beginning. Both teams were in a familiar scenario with the set tied at 7-7.
In a near repeat of the first set, the Raiders went on a 10-3 run to take a 17-10 lead. Laetsch contributed to the run with two kills, along with Vavra who had a kill of her own.
Head coach Mary Young said she believes it was mistakes made by CCC that caused the first two sets to start out close.
“We started out with unforced errors,” Young said. “A little bit of that is being okay with ourselves. Once we settled in, we went on a pretty good run.”
The Tigers tried to make another push to get back in it, but were unable to close any closer. Laetsch ended the set with a kill for a 25-15 win.
Doane tried to put up a fight in the third set, but after CCC took a 3-2 lead, the Tigers were never able to get in front.
Doane tied the game up for a brief moment at 5-5, but the Raiders went on a 14-5 run highlted by three kills by Laetsch and two kills by Borchers. Maddie Walkowiak also supplied some help for CCC with an ace.
Vavra sealed the victory for the Raiders when she scored the game-winning kill.
Laetsch led the teams with an impressive 13-kill total.
She said it felt good to get back on the court in competition against another team.
“It feels amazing,” Laetsch said. “I love all the new girls. I think we all get along really well. I think we’re going to do good things this season.”
Laetsch also spoke on her love for the sport.
“I love volleyball, and I love doing it for everyone that watches and everyone that I play with,” she said.
Young mentioned how it was good to see her team in competition against another squad, to see how her team stacks up.
“It was good to play a different team, and good to have a game so we can see where we’re at,” Young said. “It was time to see someone else. We played all of our players in a lot of different lineups. I was really happy with their ability to communicate.”
CCC (1-0) is set to go on a road trip to Kansas on Friday, where they will play four games in two days against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Baker University, Ottawa University and Johnson County Community College.
Young said that the Raiders will see a step up in competition in these games, and will need to play better this weekend.
“Obviously we’ll face maybe a little better competition,” Young said. “We’ll have to settle in and play better defense. We didn’t pass particularly well tonight. Setters did a good job of chasing the ball down, and getting to the outside. I thought our outsides were crafty. I thought we did a really nice job of keeping the ball in play, and taking control of the match.”
Laetsch believes the team can find success in their four-game stretch if they don’t look too far ahead.
“I think we just need to take a one ball at a time mentality and we’ll get it done,” Laetsch said.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com