TRAVERSE CITY — Everything came up roses for Katie Placek on Wednesday.
The Traverse City West volleyball star remained undefeated for her career against rival Traverse City Central and recorded her 1,000th career kill in the process.
"I was actually only one kill away," the junior said. "And if it would have happened over the weekend, it wouldn't have been as fun to do. I'm really glad I got to do it here with everyone."
The Titan crowd knew what was up, and started cheering loudly when Placek's first kill of the night gave West an early 3-1 lead in the first game and Titan players started immediately celebrating. The match was halted, and she was given the game ball and dozen white roses.
West went on to win 25-21, 25-10, 25-13 on Central's floor.
"That's a pretty big milestone for only being a junior and hitting 1,000 kills," West coach Emily Baumann said. "That's pretty awesome. We've very proud of her."
The milestone also puts Placek is pretty select company on the West volleyball record books — if there are any.
"I don't know if we have stats from way back," Baumann said when asked how many Titans have 1,000 kills. "Not very many, I would have to say. Probably me and Katie could be it."
The victory also makes Placek a perfect 7-0 against the Trojans in her three varsity seasons. And the Titans haven't lost a single game to Central in that span, either.
"Not yet," Placek said. "Hopefully, we'll keep it that way."
Central actually jumped out to leads in each of the first games. The Trojans were up 6-4, 9-7, 12-9 and 14-11 in the first before West reeled off a 14-7 spurt aided by two Placek kills and two Alyson Peters aces.
The Trojans were up 5-1 in the second game, then saw that lead evaporate as West's hitters — led by Placek and Anna O'Hara — began to wear on the Central defense.
"The girls are always fired up when we play West," Central coach Mike Kelly said. "They were fired up in the locker room before. We played really tough against them in the first game. And I felt we should have won the first game, which hopefully would have turned the match around. They're a good team, and we kind of fell apart after we lost that first, close game — which is a little heart-breaking. Sop we have a little work to do mentally. You can't lose a game and then give up — and that's kind of what we did. But hopefully we'll meet them again in the district finals."
For that to happen, both squads would have to win two postseason matches first.
"They say it's always tough to win three (in a season), so hopefully that will be the case with them," Kelly said.
The third game was mostly West (24-7-1, 7-0 Big North Conference), as the Titans pulled out to a slim 8-5 lead before pulling away to win 25-13. That marked 25 straight games against Central that West has claimed.
"The girls definitely showed they had a little fight in them," Baumann said. "They did not play to their potential and definitely played a little slow. It shows they can fight through a little adversity.
"We couldn't pass, pretty much. So we had to make it up by just being scrappy. Normally, we're a big hitting team, and because we couldn't pass, we were having a hard time setting up and putting the ball away."
Placek finished with 15 kills, seven digs and four aces. Mattison Mokanyk had 24 assists, Alyson Peters put up 13 digs, Kimmy Bilinski had six digs and O'Hara pitched in four aces, five kills and six digs.
Central (17-11-2, 4-2 BNC) returns to action Monday at Cadillac, while West is off until traveling to Ogemaw Heights next Wednesday.
"Jessie Kushner, one of our captains, played really well," Kelly said. "She swung, she wasn't intimidated and didn't back down. She's a captain and tried to lead through her play.
Kushner had seven kills and five digs to lead Central, while Devon Dotterer dished out 20 assists and Callie Bartkowiak had five kills. Emily Jenkins and Dotterer also had perfect serving for the evening.
Italian foreign-exchange student Irene Pozzi saw her first extended playing time of the season and was a bright spot.
"She went in to serve for a player and play back row — and she really did well," Kelly said. "She really stepped up."
West won the junior varsity match 26-24, 26-24, 25-10 as the Titans were led by Emily Nunemaker (11 kills, 13 digs, two aces), Emma Vandermuelen (22 assists, 10 digs, two aces), Riley Fedewa (four blocks), Lexi Peters (six kills, three digs) and Victoria Green (15 digs, one ace). West is 7-0 against Big North opponents.
TC Central won the freshman match.