As the saying goes, third time’s the charm.
Even in volleyball.
After losing at Clovis West and Clovis North earlier this season, the Centennial Golden Hawks made a third and final trip to Clovis.
Traveling to Buchanan, the Centennial squad wasn’t going to leave without a win Tuesday night.
With a combination of consistent passing and strong defense, the Golden Hawks snapped the Bears’ five-game winning streak – and their losing streak in Clovis – by winning in straight sets 25-22, 25-17 and 25-20.
Despite the three-set victory, Buchanan was a difficult team to put away, especially in the first set.
The first set was defined by side outs; neither team could hold serve for longer than one point and this trend repeated throughout the entire set.
In the closest set of the match, Buchanan was only a point away from tying the Golden Hawks at 23, but a questionable touch call against the Bears ruined all their momentum. Centennial took the set on the next point, 25-22.
The second set was nothing like its predecessor; Centennial broke away early, using its momentum from the first set and capitalizing on the Bears service and passing errors.
The Golden Hawks got ahead 23-10, before the Bears made things interesting with a 7-0 run, but Centennial squashed all hopes of a comeback, winning the last two points and the set, 25-17.
The Bears still had some fight in the third set, starting off strong and leading 6-2 early.
Centennial would get ahead, though, with an 8-1 run. Once ahead, they staved off multiple comeback attempts from the Bears to win the third set, 25-20.
The Bears attack looked solid at times during the match, but their inability to pass and defend cost them the game.
Buchanan head coach Chantal White saw the passing and defensive woes as a result of poor first contact by her players.
“We didn’t do a good job on the service line or receiving the opposite serve. It’s hard to win volleyball games when your first contact is poor,” she said.
Against a determined Centennial team, Buchanan struggled for the first time in two weeks.
However, games like these can galvanize a young volleyball team and Buchanan will look to this game as a turning point heading into league play.
Buchanan (12-6) will open league play at Clovis East next Tuesday, while Centennial (8-5) will travel to Porterville for its next match, at Monache High.