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  1. Sports

Volleyball: CCC rallies to top Northside Christian

By Rodney Page

Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Just two days removed from winning a highly competitive tournament in Miami, Clearwater Central Catholic was back on the court Tuesday for a Class 3A, District 9 match against Northside Christian. After fighting off fatigue, the Marauders rallied to defeat the Mustangs 17-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-12.

CCC (19-5, 6-0) has won 14 straight matches and secured the top seed for the district tournament in two weeks. Northside Christian (12-4, 4-2) had a nine-game winning streak end and will be the No. 3 district seed.

"We were a little tired from the weekend and I also think we underestimated how good Northside is,"' said CCC senior outside hitter Rachel Odell, who had eight kills. "We talked between the first and second games about how important it was going to be to concentrate on every point. Luckily we got it turned around."

After trading points early the Mustangs went on a 7-2 run to take a 17-11 lead in Game 1. Some of points came on CCC errors, but Dani Bierman also had some big kills. Northside Christian kept the lead and finished the game on Bierman's kill.

Then CCC started to take control.

The Marauders had a 9-0 run early in Game 2. Reliable hitters Katie Moore and Shea Hamilton started to heat up and the game ended on a Sara Brown kill.

The Mustangs hung close midway through the third game, but Moore and Hamilton got on another roll and helped CCC jump to an 18-12 lead they never gave up.

In the final game, the Marauders scored seven of the first nine points and were never seriously threatened.

"I was a little worried after the first game," CCC coach Stephen Shepherd said. "We didn't get back (from Miami) until 2 a.m. on Sunday and we didn't have a very good practice on Monday. I knew Northside was a tough team. But we were able to settle down."

Hamilton ended the match with 20 kills, Moore 18. Ashley Albers had 44 assists and Brown had 26 digs for CCC.

"Our four seniors had to be better than their seniors," Northside coach Julius Hasko said. "For the first game they were. Now we'll have to see if we can work our way back to playing them in the district tournament."