After two facile victories against West Ouachita High School (set scores 25-16, 25-11, 25-23) and Northwood High School (set scores 25-10, 25-10, 25-5), the Chiefs set their sights on bigger competition, Calvary Baptist Academy. After a competitive win last year, Natchitoches Central knew they would need to play their best to take down the Calvary Cavaliers. Additionally, the Chiefs selected Calvary to be their senior night opponent. Before the match began, Natchitoches Central Seniors were recognized for their academic and athletic excellence and escorted by family members
Seniors include Co-Captains Outside Bailey Newlee and Setter Addison Teddlie, Outside Chloe Coutee, Rightside Shelbi Sampson, Rightside BethAnne Methvin, Middle Blocker Ma’kira Carpenter and Defensive Specialist Emma Giddens. Giddens says, “Senior night was amazing and being presented was such an honor. My advice to the underclassmen is that even when struggles arise, when you keep God first you will always succeed!” The first set began explosively, with senior outside hitter Chloe Coutee serving tough. The Cavaliers boasted several taller players and put up a sizable middle block. However, the Chiefs were able to adjust and score. Calvary also utilized deep corner shots, which challenged sophomore libero Madelyn Riles.
The first set concluded a nail-biting 25-23 Chiefs. Beginning the second set, the Chiefs came out slow. The crowd scratched their heads as they watched the Cavaliers put down several balls in a row as the Chiefs struggled to keep the ball live. Being out of position defensively, as well as a late block, created the perfect storm for Calvary to make a comeback. After a time-out, the Chiefs snapped back and began playing with more urgency and vigor.
The Chiefs almost evened the score, winning long rallies and making impressive dives to keep the ball in play. Newlee led the team in digs with 21 total, however, their momentum halted in the last few points of the set after three consecutive hitting and serving errors. The second set ended 25-21, Calvary. Rolling into the third set, the Chief’s defense fully adjusted to the Cavalier’s deep shots and began playing at a higher speed.
Critical to the Chief’s offense, Chloe Coutee led in kills, racking up 35 total, prioritizing sharp cross shots to eliminate Calvary’s middle blocker. Coutee also led in aces, preventing the Cavaliers from gaining any momentum. The third set concluded 25-10, a stark contrast to the closeness of the first two sets. Natchitoches Central was determined not to let the match go to five sets, so they set their sights high for the fourth.
The Cavaliers came out more timid, playing carefully. This soft approach did not work in their favor as junior Middle Blocker Lora Cole shut down Calvary’s offense, leading the team in blocks with five total. The Cavaliers became anxious, sailing balls out and failing to communicate on defense. Conversely, the Chief’s offense began to shine, with Natchitoches Central setter Teddlie effectively running the Chief’s offense to actualize 38 assists. The fourth and final set ended 25-15, concluding the match 3-1, Chiefs.
This game officially brings Natchitoches Central Volleyball’s regular season to a close. The Chief’s official season record is 28-5 and currently ranked 5 of 52 for Louisiana Division 1 volleyball. The Chief’s playoff opponent will be announced Monday, Oct. 31.