The Salina Central Mustangs were determined to win their triangular Tuesday night against Goddard-Eisenhower and Andover Central.
After dropping the first set against both teams, the Mustangs stormed back. Central was able to force a third set in both matches, but only salvaged a split.
The Mustangs defeated Eisenhower, 14-25, 25-23, 27-25, before falling to Andover Central, 25-20, 23-25, 25-10.
"We’ve been talking about (competing) since last week," Central coach Brooke Christie said. "We’ve been focused on competing every point, winning every single point (and) drills at practice, and focus on competing every single time."
Central was down two starters, which caused a slow start against Eisenhower. The Mustangs were able to knot things at 11 in set one, but a 14-4 Eisenhower run gave it the opening set.
In set two, the Mustangs were a new team when they took the court. They were able to get out to lead until Eisenhower rallied off four consecutive points to take a 19-16 lead. Central knotted things at 23 and scored the final three points of the set, capped off by an attack error by Eisenhower.
"I think we that we knew we could’ve beat them," senior Capri Myers said. "We really took it out on them."
In set three, Central led throughout until Eisenhower tied it at 25, but Central needed three consecutive points and a game-winning kill by junior Hampton Williams to give the Mustangs the victory.
With the current circumstances of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Central is playing every game like it’s the last one.
"COVID is unknown," Myers said. "I think we have that in the back of our minds going to every game. We try and use that too like to stir up some power."
Against Andover Central, the Mustangs and Jaguars played a tight-knit first set with Andover Central taking the control in the late stages for the win.
In set two, the two teams went back-and-forth with neither team having a lead greater four. After a 22-all tie, the Mustangs needed a 4-1 run capped off by a kill by senior Emily Kvasnicka forced a third set.
In set three, Salina Central’s momentum had gone away and Andover Central had two 7-0 runs midway through and at the end of the set to take the match.
Even with some changes, Christie said the Mustangs were able to flow well after mistakes had been made.
"We really fought that whole time, and we really stayed out of our heads and we played as six people on the court, instead of six individuals," Christie said. "We’re constantly trying to make sure we’re playing as a team and always getting excited. If we’re getting excited and we’re happy on our court, and we’re having fun, we’re playing really great volleyball."
Myers led the Mustangs with 17 kills and six blocks. Senior Miranda Jenkins added five aces and 30 digs. Senior Makenzie Maring recorded 42 assists.
"Cap is always one of our main focuses," Christie said. "We get her the ball the most we can. We had great help with a freshman — Tyler Vidricksen. She was a great edition to our roster, so we’re looking forward to all three of (them) keeping contributing the whole time.
Central returns to action when it travels to Valley Center to face the Hornets and Andover Central on Tuesday.
Christie said Tuesday’s split was a turning point in the Mustangs’ season.
"With us being competitive every single time, we keep getting our confidence up every single time," Christie said. "Every match we play, we’re getting our confidence up."