CLEARWATER — In a volleyball position full of giants, Clearwater Central Catholic has it made with a pair of middle blockers in Katie Moore (6-foot-3) and Jenna Dykstra (6-1) who are imposing figures at the net.
Their presence played a big role in a Class 3A, District 9 match Tuesday against Northside Christian in which the Marauders took advantage of their height to win 25-17, 25-13, 25-13.
"In our district games we do have more of a size advantage," CCC coach Stephen Shepherd said. "We used that to our benefit and passed well enough to get it to our girls up front and play power volleyball."
In the first game, the Marauders (16-3, 6-0) jumped out to 12-3 lead thanks to a pair of blocks and a kill by Moore. The Mustangs (14-7, 4-2) got back into the game, scoring six straight points to cut the deficit to 15-9.
CCC halted Northside's momentum with Dykstra recording two kills and Moore adding one to give the Marauders a commanding 19-10 lead.
In the second game, the Mustangs' Megan Tozour had two kills and Lauren Clendening had an ace to give their team its first lead (8-5). CCC responded by going on a 17-4 run to take control for good.
The final game wasn't much of a contest as the Marauders went ahead 12-4 and never relinquished their lead.
Since losing a game in a district-opening win against Calvary Christian last month, CCC has swept all three games in its past five matches against 3A-9 opponents to all but wrap up the top seed.
"We started a little slow at the beginning of the season," Shepherd said. "We were trying some different things, but we're getting better and staying on top of things with each match."
On Tuesday, Moore had a team-leading 13 kills to go along with four blocks and three aces.
"We were able to play to our strengths at the net, and our setters and passers did a great job of getting the ball high for us," Moore said. "We're getting off to faster starts in games and we're learning how to keep that momentum."