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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Knights' eyes on the volleyball prize

Thursday, August 16, 2007

All indications point to this being the year that Northview's volleyball team finally could cash in on all the experience and talent that they've been building the last several years. The Knights won 26 games last year with a junior dominated lineup, but lost in the semifinals of the sectional which left a hollow feeling inside fans and players alike despite winning another conference championship.

Nothing short of a sectional title will alleviate last year's pain for a varsity roster that includes six seniors who all have seen a great deal of starting time since they reached high school.

The team will be under their third coach in as many years and Scott McDonald has the task of elevating this team's play to championship level.

(above) Lindsay Thomas and Lottie King go up for a block in last season's action while (top) Cari Laue receives a serve. All three seniors will be key factors for the Knights this season.
"Our sectional is one of the toughest in the state in my opinion," commented McDonald during Wednesday's practice. "Martinsville is a state champion, Plainfield has been tough in recent years and Terre Haute South has a strong program as well."

One of the first things that McDonald did when he took over the program was upgrade the summer schedule for the Knights.

"I think playing some tougher opponents in the summer will be big," said McDonald. "We beat Ben Davis this summer and Carmel too. In fact, Carmel's coach, who has been around a lot of state caliber teams, said our team was one of the best he's seen in two or three years."

"We played Pike and Richmond in a camp early in the summer and even though we lost to Richmond, it gave us a chance to face some adversity," said McDonald.

The Knights will have plenty of senior leadership to get them through the tough spots that they face during the season.

Returning are 6'1 middle hitter Lottie King who received All-Tourney honors at the AAU Nationals as her 18 Red team went 8-3 and placed third in the Club division. She was joined on that team by classmates Kaley Huffman, a 5'5 outside hitter and Lindsay Thomas, a 5'9 setter.

In the early season, King has already posted double-digit kills in both matches and Huffman had a balanced seven kill, 12 dig night against Greencastle on Tuesday. Thomas also had 29 assists against the Tiger Cubs.

Cari Laue and Ashley Hull have each helped bridge the gap left by the graduation of Brianne Arvin and Chelsea Mershon. Katie Timberman adds more hitting experience for the Knights in her senior year.

Junior libero, Kyler Clark, has gotten stronger nearly each game since she moved to the newly created position last season and had 10 digs in Northview's last game.

Along with junior setter Emily Chiles and Laue, Clark was part of the Crossroads of America 18 White team.

According to McDonald, the experience of playing top competition over the summer is invaluable in creating a strong program.

"I think playing against players of that caliber certainly helps. We're trying to build that killer instinct and we've been trying to create situations in practice with competition drills and playing class versus class so that we see who our competitors are on this team."

Juniors include Hannah Emmert who played at the outside hitter position last year. She is joined by Allison Stearley and Chiles.

The Knights also have a strong group of underclassmen who can contribute as well including sophomore Brittaney Long who saw a great deal of varsity time last year as well as Ali Sharton and Alyssa Clarke. Several freshman could also bring their talent to the varsity as well.

Getting the best out of this team is the chief goal for McDonald in continuing to build the Northview volleyball program.

"We're trying to take this one step at a time," he said. "We want to win the WIC and then let the sectional take care of itself. To win a title you have to get some breaks and in the past we just haven't gotten any of them. Our goal is to play to the best of our abilities."

The Knights will face another member of their sectional tonight when they take on visiting Terre Haute North in a triple header beginning with the 'C' team match at 5:30 p.m.

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