But his Knights rose to the challenge, knocking off the Quakers in three games, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20, Thursday evening to improve to 29-3 overall.
"We did a pretty good job (against her)," McDonald said of Plainfield's senior hitter. "We were just kind of tracking her."
McDonald couldn't praise his defense enough in the way it responded against Plainfield's aggressive hitter.
"They just kept the ball in play," he said. "Tonight was about as tough as it's going to get."
The Knight started off a little slow Thursday, which McDonald attributed to senior night.
Northview honored its seven seniors, Lindsay Thomas, Kaley Huffman, Kyler Clark, Katie Timberman, Cari Laue, Ashley Hull and Lottie King prior to the varsity contest.
"It was tough," McDonald said. "When you start the game with tears in seven seniors' eyes, it's tough."
The Knights trailed the Quakers throughout the entire first game until a service point from Hull gave Northview its first lead, 23-22.
Plainfield responded but an error gave Northview a 24-23 lead and a block by King gave the Knights the win.
Hull found seam after seam to start the second game, giving Northview a 6-0 advantage.
"The kids never panicked," McDonald said. "They made plays and they stayed calm."
The Knights jumped out to a 19-11 lead after a point from Brittaney Long. However, the Quakers responded, pulling within five points.
After a point run by King that gave the Knights a 24-17 lead, Bernhardt pulled the Quakers within four points, 24-20. But another Plainfield error gave the Knights the win.
In the third game, Plainfield struck first, but the Knights responded quickly with steady all-around play.
Northview jumped out to a 10-4 lead thanks to three straight points from Thomas. But Plainfield would not give in, staying close.
But service points from Long gave Northview a 21-16 edge and even though the Quakers got as close as three points, the Knights closed out the contest with a point from Huffman off a kill by Hull.
McDonald said knocking off Plainfield should make other teams in the Class 4A Sectional weary of facing the Knights.
"This really sets the tone to know we're going to be a tough out in the sectional," he said.
Northview has defeated all the teams in the sectional field except Terre Haute South and Martinsville. The Knights do not face the Artesians in the regular season.
Hull finished with 15 points and 11 kills while King tallied 21 kills. In addition, Thomas had 36 assists while Clark finished with eight digs.
In junior varsity action, the Knights improved to 17-6 after knocking off the Quakers, 25-17, 24-25, 15-13. Ali Sharton had nine points to lead the Knights while Elizabeth Emmert added seven.
In C game action, Northview won, 25-10, 25-12, improving to 7-2 on the season.
Darcy Bass had nine points to lead NHS while Stephanie Webster tallied eight.