LOWELL | It wasn't listed in the community sports briefs, but Lake Central held a clinic on aggressive serving Tuesday at Lowell High School.
Though it seemed like an odd venue and time, it was part of the Indians' 25-12, 25-3, 25-19 sweep of E.C. Central in the opening match of the Class 4A volleyball sectional.
Sarah Anderson, Kelsey Doyle and Marisa Beemsterboer were among the main presenters at the clinic. Lake Central had 12 aces in the sweep, but kept E.C. Central out of its system with an array of line drives, balls with no spin and serves aimed directly at two people that forced quick, often wrong, decisions.
"It really creates a lot of positive energy when you get an ace," said Doyle, who served 12 consecutive points to put L.C. up 24-2 in the second game.
"It's nice to go in and keep the flow going and keep the serving game strong."
One of six seniors for the Indians, who emptied their bench throughout the match, Doyle had four aces on a 16-of-16 serving night to lead Lake Central into Saturday's 10 a.m. semifinal, where they'll face host Lowell.
Lake Central (20-13), which started the season 3-5, is on a roll after placing third at Penn last weekend. The Indians already beat Lowell once on this floor, using the same in-your-face approach from the line.
"Aggressive serving is the quickest way to score points," L.C. coach Tina Tinberg said. "All season long we've talked about that. If you can't get that first ball up, you can't get into your system and effectively run your offense."
Anderson, who had 17 assists, added three aces on 13-13 serving, including the first six points of the lopsided second game.
"That second game, they weren't able to pick up our serves," Anderson said. "We practice serving a lot. We spend a good 20 minutes each day serving to passers.
"We're positive and looking forward to playing more. People underestimate us, but we definitely have a shot."
E.C. (13-12), which started seven seniors including the libero, led for most of the third game. Zhanaja Harris and Deauntra Pryor helped the Cardinals jump out to leads of 8-3, 15-11 and, after a 15-15 tie, 19-15.
Lake Central, however, capitalized on an E.C. attack into the net and gave the serve to Beemsterboer, who stayed on the serve line for the next nine points to close out the match.
"Our girls just fell asleep the first two games," said E.C. coach Cynthia Wilson, who led the Cardinals to a second consecutive above-.500 record.
"The third game, a whole new team showed up. These girls have been with me since sixth grade, and they've always had outstanding attitude."