Central volleyball goes 2-2 at Waterville tourney, Miller returns

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Kaylie Brazil (9) stays ready as Meagan Sons prepares a serve for Central during a 3-1 loss to Tri-City United Thursday. (NYA Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)

by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

Central volleyball went 2-4 over this past week, falling to Minnesota River Conference teams Jordan, 3-1, and Tri-City United, 3-1, before going 2-2 at a tournament in Waterville on Saturday.

Waterville Tournament
Central opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over St. Clair. Games scores were 13-25, 257-25 and 15-5.
Sami Jo Brinkmann led the Raiders with 10 kills, Meagan Sons served 8-9 with two aces and Natalie Stockman went 8-8 with an ace. Megan Miller had double-digit digs with 10 and Stockman had 21 assists.
The Raiders, with Nicole Miller back from an injury, then lost 1-2 to host Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (23-25, 27-25 and 3-15).
Megan Knickerbocker had eight kills to lead the Raiders and Brinkmann was excellent at the service line, going 12-13 with four aces. Both Kaylie Brazil and Stockman had double-digit digs with 16 and 11, respectively, and Stockman had 15 assists.
Central then defeated St. James, 2-0 (25-11 and 25-10).
Brinkmann had seven kills, Nicole Miller went 15-15 serving with three aces, Brazil had eight digs and Stockman had 10 assist to highlight Raider efforts.
They then concluded the tournament with a close 0-2 loss to Mankato West (25-27 and 21-25).
Meagan Sons recorded six kills, Nicole Miller went 9-9 serving with an ace, Brinkmann had two total blocks, Brazil had 11 digs and Nicole Miller had 10 and Stockman had 13 assists.

TCU 3, Central 1
Central volleyball lost a conference match-up to Tri-City United at home last Thursday. Game scores were 22-25, 25-27, 25-17 and 23-25.
Head coach Sarah Hammers was impressed with her team’s play, who were without injured outside hitter Nicole Miller, who was recovering from a left knee injury.
“It gets harder each time but it’s a great experience for the girls to step up and keep trying to prove themselves,” said Hammers. “I think the biggest thing right now is to stick together as a team and continue to do our job as a team. Because when one person tries to do too much we get in each other’s way.”
Despite losing a closely contested game two, Central rebounded in the third game gaining momentum after a long point.
Ahead 16-15 with TCU’s Amber Brockl serving, the squads rallied back-and-forth until Kaylie Brazil found the middle of the TCU team with a set shot.
Meagan Sons then served seven straight points for Central including several aces as they opened up a 23-16 advantage.
“Meagan, as a senior, stepped up,” said Hammers. “The one thing I said is ‘do something I’ll remember every time you’re out there’ because we can so play so many girls. And she did this time, she did something I can remember… As long as every game we go out there and do that, it’s going to help us keep improving.”
The two teams then exchanged possessions until Megan Geis’ tip-shot kill ended the game.
The final fourth game started close as the Titans gradually built a five-point lead late, 19-14.
Sami Jo Brinkmann then recorded a kill to give her team the serve and then, with Anna Willems serving, Brinkmann combined on a key double-block with Meagan Sons for another point.
The Raiders then got several ties, the last at 23-23 after a Brinkmann kill, but the Titans rallied off two straight points for the win.
The match started close with a see-saw game one with neither team able to build an advantage larger than three points. Megan Miller recorded an ace to give the Raiders a 22-20 advantage, but TCU recorded a point and Alex David then served four straight points.
Game two went back-and-forth with TCU building a 10-6 advantage early, but Central tied the game at 15-all and then took the lead on an ace by Sami Jo Brinkmann, 17-16. With Central holding a 20-17 lead, Jenna Bednar then served TCU to three straight points and the team exchanged points from that point on. Tied at 25 a service error gave TCU the lead and the Titans would win the game after a missed hit by Central, 27-25.
Sami Jo Brinkmann recorded 15 kills to lead Central, while Megan Knickerbocker was also in double-digits with 11 in her increased role with Nicole Miller out.
“It could be the Knickerbocker show if she had a little bit more confidence and kept going at it,” said Hammers. “She could dominate a game once she figures that out.”
Megan Geis added four kills and six others had one.
Meagan Sons went 16-16 from the service line with three aces, while Megan Miller went 13-14 with an ace and Brinkmann added an ace. Natalie Stockman went 18-19 from the line and Brazil went 16-17. Stockman also had 23 assists.
Defensively, Brazil was the lone Raider in double-digits with 18 digs and Stockman and Brinkmann both had two total blocks.
Hammers was optimistic that Nicole Miller would return to help the team.
“We’ve had a good week now and hopefully we can get her back on the court soon,” said Hammers.

Jordan 3, Central 1
Central fell 3-1 to conference opponent Jordan at home on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Game scores were 7-25, 18-25, 25-17 and 23-25.
Playing without injured outside hitter Nicole Miller, Sami Jo Brinkmann had 10 kills to lead the way for the Raiders. Megan Knickerbocker added seven, Ashley Luskey had six, Megan Geis and Natalie Stockman each two and Megan Miller and Kaylie Brazil added one apiece.
Central had a great day serving and limited their errors with only three on the night. Megan Miller went a perfect 17-17 from the service line with two aces, Abby Forner went 12-12 with two aces and Stockman went 12-12 with one ace to lead the way and also had 23 assists.
Defensively, Stockman had two total blocks, Brazil added 21 digs while Stockman and Megan Miller were also in double-digits with 12 and 10, respectively.

Next up
Central (8-5) will face Sibley East tonight, Sept. 19 and return there for a tournament on Saturday. Central will host Holy Family Catholic on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 7:15 p.m.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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