Lady Eagles down Berwick in Big Pink game

By: SCOTT JOINER
Central Catholic hosted Berwick on Tuesday at the Matchbox for the Big Pink volleyball game.

The Lady Eagles came out on top 3-0 (25-9, 25-7, 25-16) but the game took a backseat to the festivities and fundraising effort.

The Matchbox was turned pink in a collaborative effort between the two teams and $3,316.12 was raised leading up to the event and proceeds from donations and concessions from the game were also donated.

“It was really great, the Berwick girls came over and helped us decorate after practice yesterday,” CCHS coach Kindra Halverson said. “Their parents were very supportive. They brought over candy, treats and stuff to sell. It was a real group effort. It wasn’t just them or us, it was a great team effort for a good cause.”

The ceremonial first serve was hit by breast cancer survivor Natalie Johnson, who is the aunt of CCHS sophomore Geralyn Garrett.

“It was a little hard to stay focused because our football team hasn’t really been supporting us like they are supposed to be,” Garrett said of the crowd being louder than usual. “Just being in this type of atmosphere really got us pumped up a lot.”

The Lady Eagles breezed through the first two games with early leads, but in the third game the Lady Panthers kept it close with an early 3-2 lead before CCHS steadily increased its lead and pulled away.

“We had a little set back in the third game but we were trying new things, we tried a new defense and we’re trying to work on the little things like feeding the middle and transitions,” Halverson said. “Our outside hitters had 11 kills each, our right side Amanda Barron had some good kills, she had a good game. We had good, aggressive serves. That’s what we’ve been focusing on.”

Barron was active and not afraid to hit the gym floor with a team-high 13 digs, five aces, four kills and two assists.

The atmosphere was drastically different than a routine regular season game and the delays for the check presentation and dance team performances threw both teams off the normal routine.

It likely affected Berwick more than CCHS, but both teams took a few minutes to get settled in.

“It was very tough, the hype of the pink game they were all excited about that,” BHS coach Charlotte Menard said. “The teams did a great job with the gym — it was a little bit intimidating. All these kids know each other, they all get along really, really well. I told our girls it was probably the worst game we’ve played as far as the team goes. But, they’ve been playing hard recently.”

Celine Flores and Meo Knight had 11 kills each from the outside hitter spots; Flores also had six aces and three digs, while Knight added two blocks and two digs.

In the most recent power rating, the Lady Eagles were the top team in Division V, but the lofty ranking hasn’t added any extra pressure.

“I think right now they’re more just honored,” Halverson said. “They’re just playing hard and the record is now 16-5, so they know we don’t have to be perfect to be successful. We struggled against Terrebonne this weekend, but we came out much stronger to start this week.”

The Lady Eagles have played a brutal schedule littered with much larger schools, which has played a big part in their rise up the power rankings. The team has embraced the ranking and the schedule and realizes it will pay off once the playoffs begin.

“We actually like being No. 1,” Garrett said. “(Our schedule) is going to prepare us for ESA and Country Day.”

Berwick (7-10) will face E.D. White at home on Thursday, while Central Catholic (16-5) hosts Rayne with both set for a 4 p.m. start.

For more photos from the Big Pink game see pg. 9

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