Grand Island Central Catholic came out and took care of business during the first day of the Centennial Conference Tournament.
The Class C-2, No. 3 Crusaders grabbed a pair of victories during Thursday’s action by defeating Lincoln Christian 27-25, 25-16 and Class C-1, No. 10 Columbus Scotus 25-9, 25-20 at GICC.
Overall, GICC coach Sharon Zavala said she was pleased with how the Crusaders played.
“I thought we played very well tonight against two quality teams,” Zavala said. “We passed and served well in both matches. We had a lot of kids do some good things for us tonight.”
It appeared Central Catholic was going to get a comfortable first-set win over Lincoln Christian after taking an early 13-5 lead. But Christian kept battling and battling to get back into the match.
A Lauryn Willman kill put GICC at set point at 24-18, but Alexis Johnson had two kills and two blocks, while Kaelee Byh had two ace serves to help Christian survive six set points and take a 25-24 lead.
But freshman Gracie Woods tied the match with a kill before GICC took the first set on back-to-back Christian errors.
Allison Kalvoda helped GICC get going in the second set with four early kills for a 9-5 lead. Twin sister Avery also had four kills to up the lead to 17-11 and managed to pull away to the win.
Allison Kalvoda had 10 kills, while Avery added nine. Katie Maser had 27 assists and Willman had 20 digs.
“We were pretty fortunate to get that first set win,” Zavala said. “Christian did a lot of great things to get back into the match. They have a great setter with some nice players. Our girls played with a lot of passion in that match. We won another close set and we’ve been winning a lot of those close sets.”
In its second match, GICC jumped all over Scotus in the early going as Willman and Kate McFarland combined to serve a 13-1 run and the Crusaders were never threatened in the first set.
Scotus played better in the second set as Amber Buhman delivered two kills and a block to help them tie it at 13-all.
But after a Chloe Cloud kill, Maser served a 6-0 run to put GICC in command at 20-14.
Woods led the way with nine kills, while the Kalvoda sisters and Cloud all added six. Cloud had two blocks. Maser had 25 set assists.
Zavala said she was pleased with the serving as the Crusaders had three serving errors and four ace serves.
“We didn’t miss a lot of serves,” Zavala said. “We did a nice job serving against Scotus.”
Zavala said Willman was the one player that impressed her in the two matches. On the night, the 5-7 senior had seven kills, an ace serve, an ace block and 30 digs.
“This is the first time I played Lauryn all the way around and she did a great job,” Zavala said. “She did a lot of good things tonight. Hitting, serving, and even blocking. She played great defense in both matches.”
The Crusaders will play the rest of the conference tournament on Saturday at Aquinas. They play the host Monarchs at 11 a.m., then play Class C-2, No. 6 Bishop Neumann at 1 p.m. The championship match is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.
Zavala said she expects Saturday to be challenging as well. Aquinas pushed Scotus before falling 25-23, 28-26 in the earlier match. Neumann also played at GICC and defeated Aquinas 25-11, 25-22 and Christian 25-19, 25-19.
“Aquinas is a dangerous team and we’re playing them at their place. They really played well against Scotus earlier,” Zavala said. “And Neumann has some nice athletes. We’ll need to play well.”