Central vs. Centennial in a prep volleyball match at Centennial in Champaign on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.
CHAMPAIGN — Mira Chopra didn’t enjoy the final result when Champaign Central volleyball squared off with rival Centennial last season.
That being a three-set victory for the Chargers — on the Maroons’ home floor inside Combes Gymnasium.
So the University of Michigan commit set about reversing those feelings in Tuesday’s rematch.
“I was really trying to get my revenge,” the junior said. “I’m just glad it all worked out.”
Chopra was a big reason why, compiling team highs in kills, blocks and aces while nearly doing so in digs as Central rallied past Centennial 22-25, 25-13, 25-20 in the Chargers’ venue.
“We played good,” said Chopra, who finished with 12 kills, four blocks, four aces and eight digs. “There were moments where we didn’t, but we definitely bounced back at all times, so I’m just glad it all came together at the end.”
The “moments where we didn’t” primarily transpired in the first set for the Maroons (13-11, 6-2 Big 12 Conference).
Three of the first nine points banked by the Chargers (12-14, 4-3) occurred on Central service miscues, and the Maroons never led in the opening game.
“We didn’t give them so many points (in the other two sets),” Central coach Mike Deterding said. “Mostly our errors. (We were) nervous, which always (happens) when we play Centennial. And rightfully so — they make us move, they make us play our positions, and they make us execute our skills well.”
Chargers leader Taylor Swords couldn’t quite say whether the Maroons’ early woes were caused by one team or the other, but she acknowledged the troubles “helped to pick us up a little bit.”
“Once we got ourselves down we just sank, and we’re not able to pick ourselves back up,” Swords said. “We started making error after error.”
The programs’ annual Volley for a Cure evening, which raised $1,500 for the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, included strong play on both sides of the net despite each coach’s admission of mistakes.
Chopra was backed by seven kills from Elise Bossenbroek and five apiece from Katelyn Swartz and Kitty Rossow, as well as 11 assists from Emily Perez.
Deterding described the efforts of Swartz — who also dished out seven digs and three aces — as critical both Tuesday night and throughout the season.
“Her passing and digging and serving’s been pretty much brilliant,” Deterding said. “It’s kept us in every match. And we’ve been working on her hitting — more terminating.”
As for Centennial, Maggie Pitcher turned in a squad-best 10 kills, Leah Luchinski completed 21 assists and Ashlyn Perry boasted seven digs.
But the Chargers still dropped their third consecutive match overall and haven’t come out ahead in their last three league tilts.
“We’re a very up-and-down team all around,” Swords said. “We can show up and look amazing one day, and the next day we struggle. So I would say our biggest thing to work on right now is our consistency.”
The Maroons likely wouldn’t be opposed to that concept.
Their longest win streak this season is three matches, and recent Big 12 action has seen Central defeat Urbana before losing to Normal Community, then topple Danville prior to falling versus Bloomington.
Once the Maroons’ 6-2 offense got into gear Tuesday, it displayed signs indicating a run of success could be just around the corner.
“I feel really confident,” Chopra said. “We have two really good middles ... We have three good hitters at all times, so definitely a plus.”