CLEARWATER — If Tuesday night is any indication, Clearwater Central Catholic didn’t rebuild after last season’s 24 win season, it reloaded. The Marauders, paced by three seniors and three sophomore newcomers, defeated Calvary Christian 25-21, 25-17, 20-25, 25-19 for their third straight early-season win.
While Calvary Christian drops to 2-2, it beat Clearwater in a preseason tournament and will surely be competitive in Class 3A-9.
“I knew they were good, they took a game off East Lake this year,” CCC coach Stephen Shepherd said. “We haven’t played our best volleyball yet. We have some good seniors and we have some young girls who need to step up. I think they did a good job of that tonight.”
The first game was a sign of things to come. Calvary Christian jumped out to a quick lead but CCC managed to come back on several occasions. There were six ties in the game before the Marauders scored the last four points to close it out. Sophomore outside hitter Shea Hamilton led the way with five kills. She had 12 in the match.
“She’s fearless,” Shepherd said of Hamilton. “She’s 100 miles per hour. She’s learning a little bit at a time. You can’t always swing for the fences, and she’s learning that.”
The second game was just as close but, like the first, CCC took off late and closed out the game. With the score tied at 16, the Marauders scored four straight points behind the serving of Rachel Miller. After a kill from the Warriors Katie Vollmer, CCC rattled off six straight points to take a 2-0 lead.
Calvary Christian did not give up and closed out the third game with five straight points that included kills from Vollmer and Carley Plentovich.
But the Marauders were too much in the fourth game. Paced by the play of Hamilton, Miller and sophomores Sara Brown and Katie Moore, CCC was able to score the final six points to win the match.
“We’re a young team,” Calvary Christian coach Caleb Sibert said. “A lot of it right now for us is just learning the mental part of the game. When we went down by two games we fought back and played each point. I’m proud of them for that.”