Burlington Central an easy winner
The Burlington Central girls volleyball team stayed on point in pink Tuesday.
Three days after they won the Hampshire Tournament title by defeating Big Northern East rival Richmond-Burton for the second time this season, the Rockets kept their focus in front of a sizable crowd on Volley for the Cure Night and dispatched Rockford Christian 25-12, 25-10 to win their seventh straight.
"We played really well at the tournament and we all wanted to keep going and come out strong," said senior middle Makenna Jensen, who led all attackers with 11 kills. "I just wanted to go out strong and have a good time."
An enjoyable evening for Burlington Central (18-7, 7-0 BNC East) started with a Jensen kill of a Maddy Barry set. The Rockets overwhelmed Rockford Christian (7-14, 3-5) throughout with solid serving from junior outside hitter Lauren Wiltsie (4 aces) and senior libero Allie O'Reilly (3 aces) and a diverse attack spread between Jensen, Wiltsie (5 kills) and senior hitter Jenna Schudel (5 kills), all backed by O'Reilly's typically reliable defense. The school's record holder for single-season and career digs finished with 18 more. Her goal was to keep the team grounded and moving forward.
"Winning the tournament definitely builds your ego up a little bit, so we just wanted to come in and get it done," O'Reilly said. "We're doing pretty well in conference so we just want to keep it going."
Central was at its most dominant as the second set dawned. Jensen terminated 5 of the first 6 points to stake the Rockets to a 6-0 lead. Two of those kills came when she spiked consecutive overpasses by the Rockford Christian defense, which found Caitlin Seibert's serves too tough to to pass accurately.
"She's a monster at the net and we're thankful for that," O'Reilly said of Jensen.
The Rockets jumped to a 13-1 lead and began substituting liberally.
"I liked the way we played," Central coach Marv Leavitt said. "We were in control of the match the whole way. We were really effective on siding out whenever they served. I really liked our effort. We were focused. We could have lost the focus after a big tournament win.
"Now it's the second half and we have to hit the road and play a lot of tough teams on the road the rest of the way.
The Rockets play 4 of their final 5 Big Northern East matches on the road. Their remaining tournament is at Lincoln-Way Central on Oct. 18-19.
The next time Central plays at home will be its last. The Rockets host Marengo on Senior Night, Oct. 22.
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