BREMEN — Without looking past Thursday's Class 2A Bremen Sectional opener with South Bend Career Academy, South Central had one eye peeking ahead to a potential Saturday semifinal against Rochester.
The Zebras topped the Satellites a few weeks ago in the Warsaw tournament when, as coach Jan Fitzpatrick put it, some girls had a foot out the gym door, thinking about the homecoming dance that night at the high school.
"We feel we didn't play our best," Lexy Wade said of the Rochester match. "We had a rough day. It was a close game, a good game, but we're hungry to play them again. We'll be ready."
S.C. earned that chance at some redemption with a comfortable 25-10, 25-11, 25-11 win over the undersized Trailblazers, who had no one over 5-foot-8 and dressed just eight players.
"We're still struggling at learning how to finish," Fitzpatrick said of a 7-4 deficit early in the third game. "We got complacent. We talked in the huddle, who's leading this team? Nobody. We're starting to slide and no one is stepping up. We had to remind them it wasn't done. (Career Academy) has moments of athleticism, we get back on our heels, they get back in it, and we start playing with fear. You never know."
The Satellites promptly regrouped to put the game away without any drama.
"Basically, I like what we did," Fitxpatrick said. "We moved the ball around. I'd still like to see us get the middles involved a little more and our block needs to show up. We have to fine tune some things."
Allee Garner added four aces and Lanie Criswell 24 assists for S.C.
"I felt we played really hard, we were very prepared," Wade said. "We had our ups and downs. You want to play, have fun, but at the same time, put the ball away when you have the chance. We need to play strong all the way and finish out matches."
In the opener, Westville (19-12) lacked a spark from the beginning and could never sustain momentum in a 25-20, 25-10, 25-19 loss to the host Lions.
"I'm really kind of dumbfounded," Blackhawks coach Dale Lake said. "I wanted to make a good showing our first time in 2A. I really thought we would come out and get it done. I wouldn't say it was a lack of effort, but I thought we'd come out with more energy. I ran out of pep talks."
Westville rallied from 12-7 deficit in the first game to pull even, but fell behind again and never challenged the rest of the match. It trailed as much as 16-1 in the second game and while it hung around in the third game, it trailed the whole way.
"Bremen played well," Lake said. "We were in the wrong spot, the wrong place. We gave them so many free balls, we made it real easy for them to hit. We didn't have much of an offensive attack."
It was a disappointing end for a team that graduates six seniors, notably setter Sarah Henrich.
"I told 'em I love 'em," Lake said. "We shared some good memories."
South Central will play Rochester in the second semifinal at approximately noon, following Bremen and LaVille.
Class 2A Bremen Sectional
Bremen 25-25-25, Westville 20-10-19
South Central 25-25-25, South Bend Career Academy 10-11-11