Trailing early in the first game of a Sept. 13 match at Yorktown, Centreville outside hitter Yasemin Atalay put away a kill, earning the Wildcats a side out. From there, the sophomore headed to the endline as she was next in Centreville’s service rotation.
Once in position, the first-year varsity player proceeded to pepper the Patriots with serves equal parts well-placed and fast-paced. Atalay had Yorktown off balance; contributing four aces during a 9-0 run that turned an 8-3 deficit into a 12-8 advantage. Shortly after, a pair of kills by sophomore middle hitter Grace Simmons gave Centreville a 15-10 lead.
The Wildcats played well early and showed flashes of ability throughout the match. But it was Yorktown that made plays more often as the Patriots overcame their deficit to win 3-0 (26-24, 25-11, 25-16).
"Too inconsistent," 11th-year Centreville head volleyball coach Ken Moser said of the team’s play. "Too many mistakes on our part. Game one was back and forth. I don’t think either team really got off to a great start, but [the Patriots] picked it up when they had to at the end of the game."
The loss dropped Wildcats to 0-2.
"They just couldn’t get over the hump," Moser said. "Every time they get two good plays they make three bad — and that’s not going to win you matches."
Centreville, a program that won three consecutive Concorde District championships from 2005-2007, is looking to bounce back from a three-win 2009 season. Leading the way for the Wildcats is senior setter Alyssa Muggleworth, who Moser described as "the captain of my court."
"Her drive and determination" make her a good setter, Moser said. "I think when she makes a mistake, she’s harder on herself than she is on anybody so next time it doesn’t happen."
Moser described Atalay as "a sophomore who’s a future star in this program." The 5-foot-7 Atalay finished with five aces and four kills against Yorktown.
"Yasemin’s just a fighter," Moser said. "When you’re 5 feet 7 and you’re an outside hitter, you’re a fighter. It’s basically you against the world. She’s just out there to prove she can play an outside hitter spot — that’s her role."
Atalay said the physical aspect of the game isn’t what’s causing the Wildcats to struggle.
"As a team, our chemistry is like, ‘blah,’" she said. "We need to communicate better as a team."
Moser also said Simmons has a bright future. Senior middle hitter Haley Diamond led Centreville with six kills against Yorktown.
Centreville will host South County at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 20.