Jackson volleyball team regains focus, dumps rival Central

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Jackson volleyball team still was riding a high from Monday's emotional comeback win at Notre Dame.

Perhaps riding it too much, Jackson coach Maile Gannon said, because underdog Central stunned the Indians in Tuesday's first game.

"Very sluggish on our part. A slow start," Gannon said. "Maybe it had to do with our emotional match with Notre Dame.

"They've been riding that emotional high. I saw it in school today. They were all just walking around with smiles on their faces."

The Indians finally were able to smile again Tuesday night after they rallied for a 23-25, 25-13, 25-15 victory over the host Tigers.

"The important thing was we won," Gannon said. "They stayed in it. They could have given up after the first game."

Jackson improved to 10-5, while Central fell to 2-10.

"It was really good competition. They brought it that first game," Jackson junior Molly Qualls said. "We had to refocus and bring it back to them.

"We still had our confidence up. We knew they were going to be ready to get us."

Jackson led by six points twice in the first game and still was ahead 23-21 when Central closed with a 4-0 run. Hard-hitting junior Katie Williams powered home a kill on game point.

"We tried to refocus from our match last night," Jackson senior Julia Weber said. "We knew it was going to be a big match for Cape."

The Indians, properly refocused, had few problems in the second game. They never trailed and broke away from a 2-2 tie with an 11-2 burst.

Jackson had a bit more trouble in the third game, falling behind 6-2, but the Indians wound up winning going away.

Qualls served seven straight points during a spurt that put Jackson ahead for good at 9-6. Senior Natalie Miller had three kills in the run.

Jackson never relinquished the lead, although Central got within 10-9.

Sophomore Chelsea Fowler then served six consecutive points, including four aces, to put Jackson up 16-10. The Indians never looked back.

"It was a little shaky, but we finally gathered together and did what we had to do," Jackson senior Kelsey McDowell said. "After beating Notre Dame, our other local rival, to come out with two wins back to back against our local rivals is amazing."

McDowell, Jackson's setter, had a strong all-around match with 18 assists, 11 kills and three aces.

"To have 11 kills as a setter, that's really good," Gannon said.

Weber followed with eight kills. Miller added six kills and three aces. Fowler had seven aces and five digs.

Qualls, who only recently moved to the defensive libero position, contributed 11 digs and three aces.

Several of Qualls' digs were spectacular diving saves that led to points after she barely kept balls from hitting the floor.

"I love it," Qualls said about her new position.

While Jackson came away with the win, first-year Central coach Angela Broshuis had nothing but praise for her Tigers.

"I was proud of them. They fought hard. They're going in the right direction," she said. "Jackson is a very good team, and they just came off a high of beating Notre Dame.

"I really thought we were going to pull it off."

Williams and junior Molly Kinder led the Tigers with six kills apiece. Senior Tori Scheller recorded 25 assists.

JV -- Jackson won in two games.

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