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CLEARWATER — Even the smallest things for the Clearwater Central Catholic seniors triggered a wave of nostalgia: from the signs taped up in the gymnasium to the moving orations before the Marauders played their final regular-season match at home.
No tradition in sports is quite like Senior Night, and no sport in the fall does it quite like volleyball. Maybe it’s the indoor setting. Maybe it’s the small number of players. Maybe it’s the knowledge that a chapter in their lives is over. And so before the start of district tournaments in two weeks, CCC took a moment to honor them.
Of course, there also was a match to play. And that had Marauders coach Stephen Shepherd worried. After all, CCC had finished a stellar performance at the Tampa Prep Invitational and was a heavy favorite coming into Tuesday’s match against Canterbury.
Would there be a letdown?
Not a chance. The seniors made sure of it.
The Marauders cruised to a 25-4, 25-20, 25-13 victory that was finished in about an hour.
It can be tough on Senior Night because there are a lot of emotions and there can be some distractions,” Shepherd said. “But everyone played hard for the seniors.”
Senior starter Megan Miller had a big night, finishing with a team-leading 33 assists and seven service aces. Morgan O’Brien, another senior, had 14 kills, including a thunderous one for the final point. Fellow senior Kalyn Baird also chipped in with nine kills.
Defensively, the Marauders were led by junior Rachel Miller, who had 22 digs in 22 attempts.
After rolling in the first game, CCC (18-4) had a close one in the second, holding on to a 7-6 lead early on. The Marauders were able to widen the gap thanks to the serving of Megan Miller.
In the third game, CCC established control from the start, jumping out to a 5-0 lead en route to the win.