1 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Centennial's #17 Jourdan Muro gets a shot past Liberty's defenders in their Tuesday night game.

2 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Centennial High's volleyball team can almost feel the victory over Liberty High as their Tuesday night game nears the end.

3 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Centennial High's volleyball team starts their celebration after they beat Liberty High in 3 sets Tuesday night.

4 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Liberty High's Emma Reynolds goes up to block a shot as Centennial's Cassidy George, center, and Jourdan Muro attempt to defend.

5 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Liberty's Bailey Slayton, left, and Sarah Hahn, right, attempt to block a shot by Centennial's Abby Campbell in their Tuesday night game.

6 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Liberty's Emma Reynolds, left, and Sarah Hahn make a huge effort to block a shot by Centennial in their Tuesday night game.

7 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Point Centennial in their game against Liberty Tuesday night.

8 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Centennial's Maddie Black, foreground, and Tori Smith go after a Liberty shot in their Tuesday night game.

9 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Liberty's Halle Harker goes after a ball as Morginne DeMarco keeps an eye for a rebound in their game against Centennial High Tuesday.

10 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

The Centennial student section erupts in celebration after winning the 1st set in their volleyball game against Liberty High Tuesday night.

11 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Centennial's Cassidy George goes for a kill against Liberty High defenders Tuesday night.

12 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

There is not much Liberty High's Bailey Slayton can do as the ball goes into the net while Centennial High's Addy Peters puts up a defense in their Tuesday night game.

13 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Liberty's Halle Harker makes a big effort against Centennial High in their Tuesday night volleyball game.

14 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Early in the 3rd set Centennial's Jourdan Muro and Liberty's Emma Reynolds battle at the net in their Tuesday game.

15 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

With victory at hand over Liberty, the Centennial volleyball players enjoy themselves in the closing minutes of their game.

16 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Winning is fun as is evidenced by these Centennial High volleyball players after their victory over Liberty High Tuesday night.

17 of 17

Buy Photo

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Liberty's Morginne DeMarco taps the ball over the net against Centennial Tuesday night.

Centennial isn't the biggest volleyball team in town, but it appears to be the best. The same might be true for the Central Section's top playoff division.

The Golden Hawks swept Liberty 25-20, 25-19, 25-23 at home Tuesday in a battle for the Southwest Yosemite League and the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the Division I playoffs.

"It was incredible," Centennial setter Tori Smith said. "We set the standard for ourselves for the rest of league and into Valley. Now we know our potential."

That potential, apparently, has nothing to do with height. Centennial (14-6, 5-0 SWYL) has only one player with any notable size, middle blocker Cassidy George. She played big Tuesday, with 15 kills, three blocks and numerous other Liberty attacks were tipped or altered to keep a point alive.

"She was everywhere tonight," Centennial coach Brooke Roberts said.

Then there was the Golden Hawks' back-row defense: Five players had at least 12 digs, led by Addy Peters' 24 and Abby Campbell's 22.

Time and again, points between the two rivals would develop into long rallies, and time and again, Centennial seemed to win them.

"We've been practicing that a lot, and tonight we were actually able to get a hold of that," said Smith, who had 14 digs to go with 35 assists. "Defense is one of our fortes this year, because we're not as tall as other teams. We have to focus on it."

Offensively, Campbell had 10 kills and sophomore Jourdan Muro added a career-high 12.

"I am so proud of Jourdan," Roberts said. "She did a fabulous job. In giving her an opportunity to play (more), we've begun to see her play better."

Nikki Leonard had 17 kills, 22 digs and 4 blocks, Halle Harker made 44 digs and Morginne DeMarco added 10 kills and 22 digs for Liberty (18-8, 4-1. The Patriots led for most of the first set, but Centennial caught up and then won the final five points of the set to win 25-20.

Centennial led nearly the whole way in Game 2, but again in the third set, the Golden Hawks trailed early before late ties at 20 and 23. Kills by Campbell and Peters ended it for the Golden Hawks.

"There were some great rallies," Liberty coach Lean Slayton said. "We just didn't end up winning most of them, and it's hard to get momentum that way. We just didn't catch any breaks."

Roberts, meanwhile, has her team focus on scoring multiple points in a row during practice, so that momentum in match situations turns their way more easily.

"That's what I hope, anyway," Roberts said. "It just gives you a point of reference, so that during a timeout, I can refer to those drills."

In another high-level Division I match Tuesday, Clovis West beat Clovis in five sets. Liberty owns a non-league victory over Clovis West, and Centennial beat Clovis. That makes the SWYL winner, whoever it ends up being, will be a near lock for the top seed.

But Roberts was having none of that just yet.

"It means that we face Frontier on Thursday, and we have to maintain this same level," she said.