BY PATRICK KELLEY
---- — DANVILLE — The Champaign Central volleyball team sent the Danville Vikings home with a loss on Thursday night, defeating the home team in two games.
Sophomore outside hitter, Dana Westfield, led the Maroons with seven kills and three aces. Also headlining Central’s win was fellow sophomore outside hitter, Maddie LeGrande with six kills.
Leading the way for Danville was Mackenzie King with two kills and Megan Burton with two aces.
The Vikings took an early lead in the first game as they scored nine of the first 17 points without trailing. But the tide turned on the game’s 19th point when Maddie LeGrande leaped above the net to deliver a powerful spike, putting Central on top 10-9 for its first lead of the game.
Danville briefly tied Central on the game’s 20th point, but, from that point on, Central never relinquished their lead.
The Maroons went on a 6-0 run during which Danville head coach Cathy Wenthe called a timeout.
But the pause in the action did little to slow Central down as they only let up four more points during the remainder of the first game, winning 25-14.
The second and final game mirrored the latter portion of the first. Central jumped out to an early 7-1 run that featured two consecutive aces from Dana Westfield on Central’s sixth and seventh points.
Central continued their steady onslaught, and prompted another Danville timeout after taking a 12 – 4 lead.
Much like in the first game, Danville’s timeout did little kill Central’s vibe as the Maroons proceeded to a 25 – 8 victory.
In the aggregate, Danville scored 22 points, three fewer than needed to win one game.
Central was coming off of a loss to Champaign Centennial, and the most recent practices have been focused on becoming a more cohesive unit.
“We’ve really been working on teamwork … being more about the other player than the individual,” Central head coach Evan Hook said. “It [tonight] was one of the first times I’ve sat down as a coach because it is time for them to start leading the team, and they did a great job of it. I watched when another girl was successful … I watched the entire team get happy for her. It was every single person. … Tonight was the first we had 100 percent of our team supporting each other.
With the victory, Central improves to 15-11 on the year with Danville falling to 3 – 20. The Viking’s squad is young, only featuring four upperclassmen, with no players on the team competing in year-round club volleyball while many of their 4A, Big 12 competitors hit the hardwood 12 months of the year.
“We’re struggling,” Danville head coach Cathy Wenthe said. “We’re in the Big 12 and we’re not playing any fluff schedule. We’re 4A, we’re not 3A, we’re 4A, so it’s tough, it’s really tough. … Not one of my kids plays club. We’re multi-sport athletes. We go from volleyball to basketball to track, so it’s hard for us to compete.”
Danville is in action again on Tuesday against Decatur Eisenhower.