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Rams pass first league test, move to 8-0 on the year

VOLLEYBALL - Central Catholic turns away early challenge from Barlow
by: Kris Anderson Central’s Martenne Bettendorf pounds out a kill during the Rams win Thursday.

Barlow's volleyball team traded punches with the 6A defending champs in the first set, but Central Catholic began to pull away midway through game 2 behind the dominant hitting of senior Martenne Bettendorf.

Bettendorf's offense and long serving stretches by the Rams, allowed them to control the match for a 26-24, 25-16, 25-12 win Thursday night.

The Rams leaned on the kills of Bettendorf throughout the match, and in the second set the Bruins couldn't find an answer for the Rams hitter.

'We only had one effective hitter,' Rams' head coach Rick Lorenz said, 'and that was Martenne, and she was huge. She carried us.'

With the victory, the Rams pushed their record to 8-0 overall, 3-0 in league. They have not lost a set this season, but that streak was in jeopardy early in the match.

Tied at 13 in the first set, an ace by Bruins setter Becky Sheller gave the Bruins their first lead. The Bruins maintained a slight edge keyed by winning a long rally that saw two tough digs by Bruins defensive specialist Ally Rombach, who came up with 15 digs in the match, to re-take the lead, 19-18.

The Rams benefited from two errors in the final points of the set, allowing them to escape in extra points.

'I thought they fought-for most of the game,' Bruins head coach Jessie Camp said. 'I think it needed to be a little more of a focused fight.'

The Bruins kept close in the second set before Monica Gajda ran-off nine straight serves to give the Rams a 21-12 lead. Again, serving would control the match and give the Rams a comfortable lead, this time in the third set, as freshman Kealia Rosa served 11 straight balls.

'The serving kept us in it,' Bettendorf said. 'Our blocking was a big key. We work on serving every day, so as long as we're keeping it in tough, we're pretty good, because we can back up the server with the offense and the defense.'

The Rams blocking put an exclamation point on the night, as Raina Hembry had three blocks in the final five points of the match.