LAFAYETTE -- The Erie volleyball team's 2015 season ended in frustrating fashion, with a one-set playoff loss to Silver Creek at the Class 4A Region 8 tournament.
Losing that pivotal set against a lower-seeded team and falling just short of the 4A state tournament showed the Tigers they'll need to take every set seriously if they want to crack the state tournament this season. Dropping the first set of the season opener against Centaurus on Thursday hammered the point home for the Tigers.
The Tigers responded, coming back to win the match, 18-25, 25-14, 25-17, 25-18.
"We had so much emotion after the end of last year that it has kind of flown into this year," Tigers senior middle Mya Michaelson said. "We really want to go to state and to pursue that. That emotion is still there and we've gotten a lot better. We beat the top seed at regionals last year but then we lost to the bottom seed so we know we can't overlook teams this year."
Getting the jump on Erie, Imani Licata-Bercerril's offense and defense got Centaurus (0-1) going early and the home squad went on to win the first set 25-18 despite a late rally from the Tigers. Erie (1-0) opened the second set on a 6-0 run and pulled away to win 25-14.
With the third set tied at 5-5 early on, several quality serves from Darby Berringer and a pair of blocks from Michaelson sparked another distancing run of 13-6 and the Tigers held on to win 25-17 and take a one-set lead. The fourth set was tied late at 16, 17 and 18 before the Tigers scored the final seven points to close out the match. Senior Sydney Marler fired an ace for the final point.
"It was tied and then our senior Sydney Marler served really well to end the game," Tigers head coach Russell Fox said. "There's a lot of pressure on a team in the opener on its home court so when you can put even more pressure on them with a tough ball off your serves like that, it can really make a huge difference."
Warriors head coach Kacey Koonce, who has high expectations of her own for the Warriors' senior-laden lineup after going 10-12 last season, was generally pleased with the opener.
"I actually think it was a great effort by our side," Koonce said. "We were playing a great team. We found ourselves against Erie and stayed up at their level. We were serving really great, especially in that first game, and when we do that we can go on some nice runs. Once we started missing a little, they took advantage."
The Warriors will play at Englewood on Thursday. The Tigers will host Fort Morgan on Tuesday.
Erie 3, Centaurus 1
At Centaurus H.S.Erie (1-0) 18 25 25 25 Centaurus (0-1) 25 14 17 18
Kills — Erie: Weigand 12, Michaelson 11, Crites 9, Berringer 7, Marler 5, Mount, Casillas; Centaurus: Scates 5, Schultz 2.
Blocks — Erie: Michaelson 4, Weigan, Casillas, Purcell, Marler, Crites; Centaurus: Licata-Bererril 3, Bedford 3.
Assists — Erie: Casillas 43; Centaurus: Scates 14, Ferry 3, Bedford 2, Schultz.
Aces — Erie: Crites 4, Casillas 4, Marler 3, Michaelson 2, Weigand 2, Berringer, Mount; Centaurus: Ferry 3, Morgan 2, Scates 2, Schultz.
Digs — Erie: Mount 8, Quijas 4, Rasmussen 4, Crites 3, Purcell 3, Marler 2, Berringer 2, Weigand, Michaelson, Casillas; Centaurus: Scates 10, Buchler 2.