In the biggest game of its season so far, Westminster’s senior captain came up huge.
Outside hitter Cassi Shields dominated the opening set with seven kills, on the way to finishing with a match-high 20, and the Owls rolled to straight-set victory over visiting Century Tuesday.
Shields helped the Owls take control of the first set, pushing an 8-7 advantage out to 14-7. The senior blasted four kills during that decisive run for Westminster (5-0, 4-0 CCAL). She also put the capper on the set with a pair of un-returnable serves for the final points of a 25-12 win.
“My team just really helped me keep the momentum,” Shields said. “They are very encouraging. It helps me keep my mindset in the game. [They provided] energy and positive feedback.”
The senior continued to exert her dominance in the second set. Shields delivered three straight aces at the service line as the Owls pushed out to a 13-9 lead.
After fellow senior Meghan Spratt helped get Westminster in position for a win with a successful service run that put the Owls up 22-17, Shields ended the set with kills on two out of the final three points.
“Hats off to Westminster, they really passed well,” Century head coach Bryan Trumbo said. “Cassie Shields is in a league of her own. She is probably one of the best players in Maryland. Not only was she dominant on the front row, but she really killed us on her serve.”
The third set was more of the same from Westminster’s powerful leader. Shields used a blistering serve to turn a narrow lead for the Owls into a 13-3 advantage.
Century (5-1, 3-1) showed resolve and fight in the final set behind their own senior leader Eva Brandt. With Brandt serving, the Knights closed the gap to 14-13.
Sophomore Emma Reaves helped restore order for the Owls on the next point, using a nice touch to loft a ball between several Knights for a kill. Westminster didn’t look back from there, dominating the rest of the game. Spratt used a strong serve to get the game to 23-14 and Shields closed it out with one more kill for good measure.
“I felt their best weapon was their serve,” Trumbo said. “We didn’t pass out of [receiving serves] very well. It made us very predictable.”
Shields finished with 5 aces and a block to go with her kills. Sophomore setter Faith Mohr was also in the middle of the action for the Owls with 34 assists. Senior Ellie Yaider and freshman Molly Thomas each had 7 digs.
Shields said that her team always gets up for playing against a quality team like Century, usually because the stakes are so high.
“We love playing Century, that’s our favorite game of the season,” she said. “It’s super competitive because they are right up there with us. It’s very fun and good volleyball in general.”
With the victory, the Owls have taken control of the county race as the last remaining undefeated team. Head coach Evan Frock likes the direction his team is heading but knows there are a lot of tough opponents remaining on the county slate.
“We are excited to get the win tonight, but we have another big game Thursday against Liberty,” Frock said. “We are going to focus on each game as they come, but it’s always nice to get that big win.”