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Columbia Academy opened its volleyball season Monday with a five-set victory over visiting Columbia Central, winning 15-10 in the finale.

COLUMBIA -- There’s nothing like a crosstown rivalry to get the volleyball season off to a great start.

That may be more true for Columbia Academy than Columbia Central at this point, as the host Lady Bulldogs held on for a five-set victory Monday in the season opener for both teams.

“I do love an exciting game,” CA second-year coach Rebekah Holmes said after her squad won the first two sets (25-13, 26-24), then saw the Lady Lions grab back-to-back 25-18 decisions before closing out the matchup with a 15-10 win.

“I think we had an adrenaline rush early, then we got too comfortable and slipped, then we found that last little bit and took care of it.”

Central, meanwhile, had to adjust to playing without co-captains Kaydence Houston and Tessa Butler – both nursing shoulder injuries – and may have been a bit flat early, according to coach Megan Kilburn.

“We can’t wait until the third or fourth (set) to show up. That’s what we did,” Kilburn said. “The third wasn’t our best. I’ve seen their best, and that didn’t touch it. If we’d started with that energy, it’s a different situation.”

The Lady Lions did find another gear in their two wins, leading the fourth set 15-6 before and swapping scores down the stretch, before CA surged in the final set.

“That energy, or lack of (was the difference),” Kilburn said. “We had a lot of new people playing, new and young people. That was part of it, but there’s no excuse for the lack of energy in the beginning.”

Holmes was pleased with the play of Averi Slaughter and Isabelle Dees at the net, as well as Tori Duval and Laney Turner on the back line and Chloe Carter running the offense.

“I trust all six we put on the floor,” she said.

Both teams resume play at home Tuesday – Central against Loretto, CA against University School of Nashville. On Thursday, Central hosts Lincoln County with Columbia Academy taking on visiting Grace Christian. Both will participate in the KD’s Hope Tournament Friday and Saturday at Columbia Central.

● Mt. Pleasant opened volleyball play on the road Monday, defeating Giles County in straight sets – 25-12, 25-10 and 25-3.

● In soccer play, Culleoka fell 5-1 Monday to Giles County.

Maurice Patton is sports editor for Main Street Maury. A Franklin native, an MTSU graduate and a journalism veteran of 30-plus years, Patton is a 2021 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame inductee. Follow on Twitter @mopatton_sports.

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