This past Tuesday night was the opening for the varsity girls volleyball team at Notre Dame Prep. The team faced Peoria Centennial High School, a team with a total of five returning players on its 13-man roster. Notre Dame and Centennial have had some history over the years. In the last three years that Centennial has played Notre Dame, they have won three out of the four.
During 2018, the Saints Varsity volleyball team went 20-15 in the regular season which earned them a trip to the 5A conference playoffs. Unfortunately, the road to the championship was cut short by a loss to 6th-ranked Sunrise Mountain. They graduated four seniors, including Aneliesa Cartledge who is currently playing for Fordham University, and have eight returning players on this year’s varsity squad.
Senior outside hitter Jessica Terlizzi, junior middle blocker Kandace Kramer, and sophomore libero McKenna Douglas were some big names from last year’s team expected to shine during the Saints’s 2019 debut. Unfortunately, one of the three, Douglas, was forced to sit out a majority of the first set due to an earring malfunction. As for Centennial, seniors Diana Lozano and Nyjah Marcelin were players to watch. They each made spectacular plays throughout the game, including five spikes for Marcelin and two spikes and an ace for Lozano.
With the struggles from the first set out of the way, Notre Dame started to pick up steam. Douglas and Terlizzi both had aces during the set along with a total of six spikes by the Saints. Although this spark of offense seemed to catch the Coyotes by surprise, they eventually came back and rallied behind a strand of four spikes to beat Notre Dame in the second set.
With a nail-biter of a second set, the Saints were fired up and determined to grab this next set. They came out strong with a 11-6 lead over the Coyotes with aces from senior setter Jessica Skemp and Douglas, but behind spikes from junior Bre Manusina and Marcelin, Centennial rallied and won the final set. The match lasted a total of three sets with Centennial winning all three. The final set scores were 25-18, 25-19, and 25-20.
Mark your calendar – Notre Dame’s next matches include home versus Tucson Ironwood Ridge on Thursday, September 5th and at Gilbert Higley on Tuesday, September 10th.