McCutcheon volleyball coach Sara Sutter tinkered with her lineup slightly on Saturday, keeping Jade Humphrey in for six rotations.
Sutter was impressed with the results, and on Tuesday night, she let her freshman right side hitter remain in the lineup all the way around for the first time in her high school career.
The decision paid dividends when Humphrey toed the service line in Game 3 against Central Catholic with the score tied at 18. Humphrey served out the duration of the match to complete the Mavericks’ 25-14, 28-26, 25-18 sweep of the Knights at Resler Gymnasium.
“It was the first time I was actually able to serve, because I am usually taken out for my sister (Jalynn),” Humphrey said. “I was excited to actually be in all the time, so I said that I was going to get this and not mess it up. I’m pretty excited right now.”
Tuesday’s performance was more than just a victory for the Mavericks (5-7).
Perhaps it was evidence that a team that has no shortage of talent is starting to figure things out. To this point, McCutcheon knew its performances on the court weren’t meeting the expectations for a team with its skill set.
“We’ve really been working on our team trust. That’s what we need, that and confidence,” said junior Sydney Tracer, who matched Humphrey with a team-high seven kills. “I think we all put it together tonight and everything flowed so well.”
Tracer added 18 assists and 11 digs to her kill total. Dailey Vanderkolk contributed three blocks and Mikayla Berning provided six kills.
McCutcheon seems to be adapting just in time, with a road trip to rival Harrison on Thursday. Against a strong CC (7-3) team ranked No. 5 in Class A, the Mavericks found multiple ways to win each of the three games.
Game 1 was won with strong serving. Payton Taylor helped McCutcheon quickly build an 8-2 lead.
“I think our serving was key to winning,” said Jordan Foster, who served two aces. “Even when we got down in the second, Jade and her amazing serves were key to putting them out of rotation.”
In Game 2, the Mavericks showed they could not only come from behind, but also win a grueling back-and-forth battle that was sealed with Foster’s ace. Central Catholic led 21-17 before a late McCutcheon rally.
“The second game is always hardest for us, because we always win the first then lose our momentum, and it is hard for us to get back,” Humphrey said. “That second game taught us that we can pull ourselves out of that big of a hole.”
The Knights were led by Emily Denhart’s nine kills and 16 assists and 13 digs. Maddie Matson had four aces and 17 digs.