The road back to another Gateway Athletic Conference Central volleyball title keeps getting shorter for Washington.

The Lady Jays (19-7-2, 7-1) won another conference contest Tuesday, sweeping Ft. Zumwalt North (13-6-2, 5-3) in Blue Jay Gym, 25-22, 25-12. Washington followed up with a three-set win on the road at Francis Howell Central (16-7) Thursday, 20-25, 25-20, 25-12.

Zumwalt North

With the win, Washington keeps pace atop the conference standings with 6-1 Timberland, who the Lady Jays already split the season series against.

“This was a great conference win for us,” Washington Head Coach Susan Harms said. “Fort Zumwalt North has a very good team. It was very unfortunate that their big middle hitter, Mya Young,  sprained her ankle during warmups and in the first set another girl hurt her wrist going after a loose ball on defense. We send our thoughts for a speedy recovery for both of the girls. North played outstanding defense the first set. We were attaching the ball well and they were not letting it hit the floor. It made for a fun, exciting set.”

Washington did not allow the second set to be as competitive.

“The second set we took control early and played a great all-around game,” Harms said. “Our passing off the serve and our defense was phenomenal. Kate Freitag does such a good job as our libero. She makes it look so effortless, reading the play and making perfect passes. All of our girls do a good job on the defensive side.”

Kassidy Phillips was the leading attacker for Washington with eight kills and added three blocks with one ace.

Josie Kleekamp made seven kills to go with two assists.

Taylor Bauer knocked down five kills.

Lacey Jaycox made three kills and one block.

Jackie Oetterer contributed six assists and knocked down two kills.

Josie Kleinheider blocked two and served two aces with one kill.

Cierstyn Jaquin and Abby Redd each served an ace.

Redd posted two blocks and one assist.

Emma Zanin turned in 12 assists.

The Washington scorebook credited Freitag with 31 digs, Phillips and Kleekamp with 19 digs each, Zanin and Kleinheider both with seven digs, Oeterrer with five, Bauer with three and Jaycox, Redd and Jaquin with one dig apiece.

Howell Central

Phillips led the Lady Jays’ attack with her highest kill total of the season, finishing with 20.

“The second and third set we took a quick lead and control of the game,” Harms said. “We ran a much quicker offense, which kept their blockers guessing and moving on the net, because of the setting by Emma Zanin and Jackie Oetterer.  Kassidy Phillips had an awesome night hitting around the block, and Jose Kleekamp and Josie Kleinheider followed suit, putting down some dominating hits. Taylor Bauer, Lacy Jaycox and Abby Redd, also played a great offensive game.”

Kleekamp notched 10 kills with two blocks and three assists.

Kleinheider recorded seven kills.

Bauer made five kills and two blocks.

Jaycox and Redd made two kills each.

Oetterer led in assists with 21. Zanin made eight assists and Freitag one.

“All of our attaching happens because of our outstanding defense which is led by Kate Frietag,” Harms said. “She is so consistent with her passing and reading the plays, that often she goes unnoticed. Kassidy and Josie Kleekamp also play a huge role in our defense. It was a big team win.”

Freitag was credited with 40 digs against Howell Central.

Kleekamp recorded 34 digs and Phillips 29.

Washington continues conference play at home Tuesday against Ft. Zumwalt East at 6 p.m.