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Division 2 girls volleyball: Amherst cruises past Central in quarterfinals

AMHERST — The Amherst Regional girls volleyball team shook off a slow start and never looked back, beating Central 3-0 in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament quarterfinal round.

Tied 8-8 in the first set, the Hurricanes closed with a 17-3 run to win 25-11. Amherst won the final two sets 25-6, 25-15.

No. 2 Amherst (11-6) will host No. 3 Chicopee Comp (16-4) at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Comp beat Agawam 3-0 on Tuesday.

“I think we’re ready,” Amherst coach Kacey Schmitt said. “We’ve been practicing great. We have had a terrific week of practice, and I feel like they (Amherst) are peaking really well right now. We’re ready to take them on, but it’s going to be a challenge.”

No matter what Central did during the match, Amherst had an answer, whether it was by responding to streaks with one of its own, or by simply keeping rallies going.

Shaya Shally-Jensen led the way for Amherst, finishing with eight kills along with a block and a dig. Justine Bohl also played very well, finishing with 25 assists, two aces and three digs. Ali Ziomek finished with six kills, four digs and a block.

“I felt like they tried to keep to our game plan, which is sometimes hard to do,” Schmitt said. “I think that everybody came out really pumped and ready to play, and I think they played really good teamwork. The passing was excellent, which is key, and starts it all. (Central) had some really good servers, but once we gauged their serves we were really able to start really attacking off of the serve-receive, which is huge. I’m proud of how they continued to stay tough and play our game and keep attacking on our side of the court.”

Amherst and Comp played once this season, with the Hurricanes winning 3-2 in September.

“I feel like it’s an advantage,” Schmitt said of playing at home. “But it’s going to have to be an advantage in order to beat Chicopee Comp, because they are going to come in here ready to play.”

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