By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
SCARBOROUGH, ONT.- After beginning the regular season with a loss at home against the Durham Lords, the Centennial Colts were determined to get into the win column for the first time this season.
"She usually plays the left side but I decided yesterday to switch her to libero," Adrianna Bento, Colts Head Coach said. "She did a really good job and I think she's going to grow at that position."
After a relatively tense two sets, the Colts dominated the third set, eventually winning in straight sets (26-24, 25-21, 25-15) over the Georgian Grizzlies at the Athletic and Wellness Centre as Bento won her regular season debut.
"It's huge," Bento said of the team winning in straight sets. "I think it's great for their confidence."
Sanchez was dynamite, leading all scorers with 12 kills and five aces for a game high total of 17 points.
"You can put her anywhere on the court and she'll do her job, and she'll do it good," fellow player Nadjema Soro said about Sanchez's performance. "It was really great to have her out there and she got more comfortable as the game progressed."
"Heather makes a huge difference," Bento said matter-of-factly.
Soro dished out a game high 24 assists to go along with 11 digs and four aces of her own.
"We practiced for her to take more time on her serve and step back because she missed a lot of serves (previously)," Bento said of Soro. "I think she knows her rhythm right now and how she has to prepare for herself to serve."
Centennial outclassed Georgian in just about every stat: kills (31-25), assists (28-23), digs (39-31), and aces (10-4). The service game was the key for the home team, especially while pulling away in the final set.
"We're adapting really well to the consistency of the serve in our offense," Bento said. "When you're up, it's easy to push through."
"It was really important for us to get our serves in the court," Soro said. "Once you see that the other team is having difficulties with your serve, it makes it a lot easier to serve because you can kill them mentally."
The Colts went off to a 3-0 start and held the lead for that set but Georgian kept making things nerve wracking at times. But Sanchez, who had six points in the set, ended up being that steadying presence for her squad as she made up for her attack error with a kill and an ace to close out the first set, 26-24.
In the second set, Georgian took a lead for the first time in the game and an error from Sanchez forced Bento to call a timeout with the Colts down 15-12 in the set. The break in action got the ladies back on track as they outscored the Grizzlies, 13-6, to take the second set, 25-21, capped off by consecutive kills from Meilin Carmichael.
The Grizzlies went up 8-6 in the third set when a block from Soro got the ball rolling for the Colts, who proceeded to outscore Georgian, 20-7, the rest of the way, to take the third set and the match. The backbreaking moments came via the service game from Sanchez (four aces) and Soro (three aces).
"I was really focused on my serves this game because last game, I missed a bunch of serves," Soro said. "It was really fun tonight."
TOP 3 COLTS PERFORMERS OF THE GAME
Heather Sanchez: 17 points (12 kills, five aces)
Nadjema Soro: 24 assists, 11 digs, four aces
Katelyn Highfield: eight digs
CATCH OUR NEXT GAME
The Colts have seven days to rest before they head out on the road to play the Seneca Sting at 6:00 pm on Wednesday Oct. 31.