After Dominating the Season, Centaurs Lose in 3rd Round of Playoffs

Nicky Green

After dominating the Ocean League and easily winning the first two rounds of the playoffs, Culver finally met their match.  The Centaurs went down in a heartbreaking 3-2 set loss against the Elsinore Tigers at the Del Goodyear Gym on Nov. 15.
The Lady Centaurs were dominating the Elsinore Tigers in the first two sets.
Mckenna Stevens and Adili Rikondja seemed to be too big and powerful for the Tigers.  They were blocking shot after shot.  Rikondja, Captain Taylor Selfridge, and Armani Moultrie were getting sets by Jessica Stewart and got several kills throughout the whole match.  Captain Mina Grant and Stewart were keeping the ball alive by making digs and diving on the floor.   Culver won the first set 25-13.  The Tigers put up a fight in the second set but the Centaurs stayed strong and won 25-21.
In the third and fourth sets the Tigers found a way to counteract the dominant play of the Centaurs’ front line. They played hard but the Tigers caught them off guard in the beginning of the set and they never seemed to catch up.  Culver lost the third set 25-18.
The fourth set was a brawl.  It was back and forth the whole set.  The Tigers took a slight lead, Culver fought back but could not finish it off. The Centaurs lost the fourth set 25-23.
In the beginning of the fifth and final set, which only goes to 15 points instead of the normal 25 points, there were intense rallies and the crowd was getting loud for both sides.  When the score was 6-4 in the Tigers’ favor, the referee made a controversial call. To the Culver fans it appeared that the Tigers had hit a fourth shot after the ball hit the net, but the referee signaled Culver tipped the ball which would reset the Tigers’ limited hits.  The Tigers ended up getting the point and going on a 5 to 1 run.  Culver tried to fight back, but ended up losing 15-11.
This was a tough way to end the season. Selfridge, though disappointed in the loss, felt that they had a good season.  The team has much to be proud of, especially the seniors who can say they ended their high school volleyball careers in a strong fashion.   The team also has much to look forward to with several returning lower classmen.
According to the players, chemistry is one of the main factors that contributed to their success.   Both the freshmen, Stewart and Lena Johnson,  expressed  how close they felt as a team.  One of their most memorable moments from the season is when Grant said before each game, “I love and support you all.”
When commenting on the future of the team, Stewart said, “We are losing a lot of upper classmen, but the chemistry of the lower classmen will help us in the long run.”   When asking senior Selfridge about the future of the team she said, “I think we will still remain the best team in the league.”
Though the Centaurs fell short of their ultimate goal, they finished 7-1 in league and 26-7 overall.