Maybe it was first-day-of-school jitters, but it took Centennial a few minutes to get into the swing of things before the Golden Hawks prevailed with a sweep of Ridgeview in the first volleyball match of the 2016 season, 25-12, 25-13, 25-17 on Wednesday at Ridgeview.
Ridgeview, under first-year coach and former Shafter athletic director Deb Whitbey (formerly Medina), tied the score at 8-8 in the first set and tied the third set at 17-17, but the dynamic trio of Emily Hansen, Alexus McLeod and Mikaela Maughan were too tough for the Wolf Pack.
“It was a lot of fun,” Hansen said. “It was a lot of fun to see everyone play and see them swing and be aggressive. It was a good night.”
Centennial advanced to the Central Section Division I semifinals a season ago and appears to have plenty of firepower again this fall. It all starts with Hansen, who’s verbally committed to Cal State Bakersfield.
“She really helps our team in that way and is someone we can really count on,” Centennial coach Lacey Coppolo said.
Hansen led the Golden Hawks (1-0) with 10 kills and 15 assists while staying on the court for most of the match and working through sets with younger players. That leadership role is something Hansen has taken on this season.
“I am starting to think more outside the box,” Hansen said. “It’s more about my teammates and how to make them better and not just me. It’s about working with everyone and not just me. I am trying to improve my teammates with me.”
The most explosive plays came from McLeod, a junior who might be one of the hardest hitters in the section.
“(McLeod) is amazing. Her line shots are beautiful,” Hansen said. “She is so consistent.”
Coppolo, who is in her second year as Centennial’s coach, agrees.
“She had a very good night,” Coppolo said. “But we have been seeing that every day in practice. It’s been fun to watch that growth.”
Madisen Dougherty led Ridgeview with four kills and 11 assists; Whitbey took away more positives than negatives in the first volleyball game played this season in Kern County.
“It went better than I expected,” Whitbey said. “Centennial has been consistently dominant. I am glad we played them early in the season. It gives us points to learn off and get better.”
Girls golf tourney today
Liberty will host the third annual CS/T6 High School Girls Golf Tournament at noon today at Mifflin-Buena Vista Golf Course.
Stockdale senior Lexi Keene, the three-time defending BVarsity Girls Golfer of the Year, leads the local individual players in the field. Also in the field are Clovis West, Clovis North, Frontier, Garces, Liberty and Walnut, a CIF state qualifying team out of the Southern Section.
Centennial d. Ridgeview 25-12, 25-13, 25-17
CHS (1-0): Kills: Hansen 10, Maughan 8, McLeod 5, Richert 5. Assists: Hansen 15, Maughan 7. Aces: Eknoian 4. Digs: Durham 11, Yanez 8, Maughan 8, McLeod 5, Eknoian 4. Blocks: Fulmer 3.
RHS (0-1): Kills: Dougherty 4. Assists: Dougherty 11, Natividad 7.
JV: CHS d. RHS 15-1, 15-6. F/S: CHS d. RHS 15-7, 15-11.