TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central broke another streak against its rivals on Wednesday night.
The Trojans and Titans volleyball teams battled for five sets on "Dig Pink" night at TC West, with the outcome in question down to the last point.
The Trojans came out victorious in five — 23-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-22, 15-13 — sweeping the regular season against West for the first time in eight years.
"I think is a good boost for us," Central head coach Jen Wright said. "It gives us a boost of confidence knowing that we hadn't beat West in eight years let alone swept them in the regular season. I am seeing a lot of good things out of the girls in practice and on the court they are doing their job."
Their job wasn't easy against their rival in front of a big crowd that came out in support of breast cancer — a cause close to home for the Titans.
"This event is huge for us," Titans head coach Emily Baumann said. "We really try to bring the community into it because a teacher in our school district is fighting cancer right now. Our JV coach fought bone cancer four years ago and she is a survivor, so this is close to her heart to be able to give back to somebody else because she had so much given to her."
The Trojans fell behind early as the Titans took the first game 25-23. TC Central then took their turn to lead from start to finish in game two, equalizing the match.
The Titans' night was defined by small runs that would bring them back into contention after letting the Trojans slip ahead. This was highlighted in the third game when the Titans fell behind 24-21 and risked letting the match slip away. Sophomore Leah Allen stepped up big after a long rally by sticking two kills, helping the Titans score five straight points to win game three 27-25.
This is when the Trojans felt they really made the difference. They were able to stay composed under pressure and knock out the Titans in two more games, each more tightly contested than the last.
"We needed to stay confident in ourselves and our team and trusting our teammates," Trojan junior Maggie McCrary said. "Never losing confidence while not thinking of the opposing team as a threat, but thinking of ourselves as the threat."
The Trojans have had an issue with letting other teams come back once they had them down, according to Wright, but tonight was a different story.
"I am really proud of them," Wright said. "They fought the whole night. We've had a big issue throughout the year when other teams push back on us we sit back and let them take over. We fought back tonight, over and over, and it ended up working out really well for us."
The Titans made another run in the fourth game, nearly erasing a three-point deficit late, but Central's Emma Turnquist made huge back-to-back blocks to keep the Trojans in front.
The final game was in question when the Titans made one final push to bring it within a point at 14-13, but McCrary picked her spots on consecutive kills to propel the Trojans to their season sweep of West.
McCrary finished with 21 kills and 16 digs. Annie Hunt tallied 52 assists and Olivia Fiebing played stellar defense to the tune of 38 digs. Marley Meindertsma was solid on the other side, totaling 16 kills for the Trojans.
This game has already proven to be a big energy boost for the Trojans and they hope to ride this feeling into the playoffs and beyond.
"This win pumps us up," McCrary said. "I think it gets us motivated for next season. We ware already thinking about what we can do better next season and what we can improve on. It gets us fired up for districts and the the rest of the season.
"I think this makes us like a threat. It makes us look like we are something to fight against."