By CAREY FOX
The Linton Miners came into Northview's gym with a 4-1 mark and the confidence of besting rival Clay City this week. The expected showdown with the 9-0 Knights brought a big crowd to the contest, but the battle never quite materialized.
The Knights came out fired up and confident, built a quick early lead and never really let the Miners catch their breath in sweeping to their 10th straight win, 25-14, 25-19, 25-17.
"(Linton) is probably on the best teams we've played," commented coach Ali Pinkston. "But in game one I think we kind of took them out of their game. We stayed so strong in the game, it's a real credit to our girls, this is a big win."
Northview powered out to a quick 7-2 lead in the first game on a block and a kill from Brianne Arvin and after weathering a brief run by the Miners, extended their lead to 20-10. A 9-2 run with Lindsay Thomas at the service line and Lottie King getting a pair of kills and a block at the net scored the big lead for the Knights.
"We're getting a lot smarter with our hitting," noted Pinkston. "Lottie is placing her hits and the girls are really listening to me when I tell them to hit sideline or corners and both Kaley (Huffman) and Cari (Laue) are starting to do that too."
Indeed, the Knights made a living out of well placed shots to far corners of the court to avoid the blocking schemes of the Miners.
Northview showed off more of the same in the second game as they ran out to a huge 21-8 lead.
The gap came due to a combination of Linton miscommunication problems, three aces from Thomas to go with a block and a kill from King and a Huffman kill as well. The streak was an 11-2 run that essentially put the game out of reach though Linton, made a game of it with a 6-1 run of their own late. But, in the end, the Knights' lead was just to big to overcome as they gained a two game advantage.
In the final game, the Knights again put the Miners into a haul from the opening serve, leading 8-3 after a pair of kills from King, who had 13 in the game. Linton got within 10-7 briefly, but Megan Barnes was whistled for carrying the ball, an Arvin ace and a kill from Huffman pushed the lead to 13-8.
The hitting of King, Huffman (14 kills), Laue and the heads up placement of a few tips from Thomas, kept the Miners off balance and on their heels much of the evening.
Arvin was once more at the service line as Northview led 21-17, Huffman laid down a nice tip that found empty court, a Linton carry and kills from Ashley Hull and Huffman ended the contest.
"I think the biggest thing for us is that our defense has been outstanding," said Pinkston. "Kyler Clark and (Kaley) Huffman have been doing such a great job, not only digging, but digging to a target."
Thomas led the team with 23 assists tonight while Clark had nine digs, and both Thomas and Huffman had four apiece. King led the way with seven solo blocks.
Next up for Northview is a Tuesday contest with Cascade at home beginning at 6 p.m.
The JV team lost in three games, 15-25, 25-12, 11-15 despite eight kills from Allie Melega and three apiece from Hannah Emmert and Ali Sharton, who also had nine assists. Rentschler, Mallory Heffner and Emily Chiles all had seven digs and Olivia Kumpf added six assists.