Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

For Centralia Volleyball, Title No. 14 'Feels as Good as No. 1'

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

For Centralia Volleyball, Title No. 14 'Feels as Good as No. 1'

Article excerpt

HAYS -- The court at Gross Memorial Coliseum has been a second home to the Centralia volleyball program.

Before this year's Class 1A Division I state tournament started, the Panthers had won 13 state championships on this floor since 1994. With an incredible second-set flurry Saturday, Centralia added a 14th title, beating Coldwater-South Central, 25-17, 26-24, in the championship game.

"It feels as good as No. 1. It really does," Centralia coach Kimbrook Tennal said. "It never really changes, the feel of this. It's as good as it ever was. Maybe even more so. Those girls fought so hard."

Tennal has been a part of most of the Panthers state titles as the head coach or assistant to his wife, Kim Tennal.

On Saturday, No. 1 seeded Centralia went into the finale after putting down Pretty Prairie in quick work with a 25-11, 25-14 win in the semifinals. After a short break in the locker room, the team watched from floor level as South Central went a lengthy three sets to beat Sylvan-Lucas, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23.

Once the championship game started, Centralia (43-1) took to the court with the same demeanor it has so many times before -- as a team that wouldn't lose.

"Coach Tennal has prepared us for this all year," Centralia junior Madison Lueger said. "We had the mindset we weren't going to lose. We all have that mindset. We all came together and played as a team."

The Panthers took a 16-9 lead in the first set after senior Katie Glatzcak scored a kill from her knees that landed on the Timberwolves' side and was unable to be returned. The lead grew to 23-9 before South Central began to fight back. What appeared to be headed toward a big first-set win suddenly became 24-17. A kill by junior Kate Elliott ended the Timberwolves' chance for a miraculous comeback, though.

"I think we were letting up a little," Centralia sophomore outside hitter Kennedy Becker said about the end of the first set. "They were gaining from that a little bit in the second set."

The Timberwolves became the team in charge early in the second set, grabbing the first four points. It was a lead they would continue to build off, sneaking out to a 13-7 advantage after a service ace from senior Rylee Alexander. It became 16-7 on a Centralia miscue. …

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