The Peacock Toilers spoiled Central’s undefeated season by winning the league final in three sets, 25-23, 25-20 and 25-16.
“It’s awesome and almost overwhelming winning seven years in a row, but it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Peacock’s Taylor Stevenson.
In the first set, both teams came out pumped and fought hard for every point. Stevenson and fellow Grade 12, Karsten Van Tassel were strong and spot on with their spikes at the net, able to get past the double block that the Cyclones set up.
The Toilers seemed to be able to carry the momentum from the first set into the second as they took an early lead. The Cyclones couldn’t handle the strong serves by Mayson Bernt and Maddie Rice. The a couple quick mistakes, the momentum switch to Central as they tried for the comeback, but came up short. Central’s Nicole Nestor had a strong game, diving all over the court, trying to salvage some crucial points. Sidney Holoien also had a good game for Central, making strong serves all night. As the Cyclones walked off the court, the ladies hung their heads knowing a comeback would be even more difficult.
“We are very disappointed as it was our only loss all season, but that’s why you play cities,” said Central’s head coach Brad Hennenfent. “Peacock is a really good team and they played well and deserved it. We just couldn’t get any flow going.
Hennenfent said that the Cyclones team have been sick leading up to the league final and were not able to have full practices, but didn’t make excuses for the team in the loss.
“We weren’t ready to go, that was my fault…I just couldn’t get them going,” Hennenfent said.
In the final set, the Toilers remained calm and continued to play a unit on the court and didn’t stop battling until the last point. Stevenson was serving the match point for the gold medal and was able to place it deep in the back row and the Cyclones were not able to handle it.
“It was nerve racking, but you just think about how bad you want it,” said Stevenson. “I was scared to look at the clock to see the score. I just kept thinking ‘in the court’, ‘in the court’. It felt awesome.”
For more on this story, read Wednesday's Times-Herald.