Central Christian turned to its stopper to stem the momentum and pull out a five-set win over West Holmes in a non-conference battle in the Dungeon.
Sydney Mast hammered home 27 kills to lead the Comets' attack in a 25-22, 16-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-9 victory.
"To beat anybody, especially a team like West Holmes, you have to terminate rallies," Central Christian coach John Finn said. "You can play great defense, but you have to stop rallies. Sydney can terminate. Makenna (Granger) can terminate. Sarah (Miller) can terminate. When you've got someone like Sydney, our setter knows she has to go to her."
And Central setter Melissa Nussbaum found her senior hitter quite often, doling out 38 assists between Mast and Granger, who hammered home 18 kills for the winners, who improved their record to 19-2 on the season.
"I was pretty much mad. I didn't feel like I played very well the first four games," Mast said. "I just thought I'd go out and hit the ball as hard as I can and see what happened."
What happened was, the Comets pulled out to a 7-1 advantage as Mast pounded home one kill after another.
The Knights responded with six straight points from Katie Welsh, who came out serving bullets that led to easy kills for West Holmes.
A trio of West Holmes hitters combined for 43 kills on the evening, with Laina Snyder leading the way with 17.
But it was Mast who rose to the occasion in crunch time, slamming home a kill to break an 8-8 tie. She then took over at the service line and helped the Comets pull out to a 13-8 lead before putting the game away.
"It really tested us as a team whether we could keep our momentum through the whole thing," Mast said. "We finally got it there at the end. We really came together."
The first game went to Central after West Holmes led most of the way.
The Comets pulled even at 18-18. The teams traded points to 22 before Central scored the final three for the win.
Central took a lead in Game 2 before the Knights surged ahead behind their trio of big hitters. The Comets were up 8-1 behind the servicing strength of Miller, who finished the night with 17 points and a pair of aces.
This time the Knights rallied to tie things up at 11. Cara Park (four aces) took over at the service line with the game knotted at 18 and thanks to a couple of aces along the way, served out to the victory, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead.
"To be up two games to one, and not come out in Game 4 fired up and put the pedal down is unexplainable. You pay in the long run," West Holmes coach Jim Park said. "You give them a chance to hang around, they start to play better and get more confident. They played really hard, really well, and instead of putting it to them, they fought back and we hoped they would lose, but they beat us. Bottom line.
"We blocked one shot. One shot," Park added. "We didn't block Sydney one time. She pretty much killed us. You don't block one ball by the other team's best hitter, and you get aced 24 times, I can't think of a team we can beat. We look like Jekyll and Hyde from game to game, sometimes from point to point. We've got to figure it out. We've only got a week. If we don't, we won't get by Dover."
The loss dropped West Holmes to 13-7 on the season.
"West Holmes has a great attack. His daughter is a great setter," Finn said. "They've got very strong servers. We just weren't responding, but somehow we managed to take the fourth set.
"Then we got off to a great start, but in games three, four and five, we got off to big leads, but lost it each time. It's unexplainable. You could ask our girls, and I don't think they know why either. When you're playing a very good team, if you're less than 110 percent all the time, you're in trouble.