After losses in itâs first matches the past three seasons in the postseason, the Knights rebounded from a slow start to drill Terre Haute North, 26-24, 25-4, 25-10.
âWe came out with a lot of nerves,â commented coach Scott McDonald. âWe were out of character, we werenât playing aggressive and we were sort of playing not to lose.â
Northview eventually would fall behind as much as 16-7 after a kill from Patriotsâ senior Casey Hayne and a block of Ashley Hull. Unforced errors contributed to what looked like a loss in the first game for the Knights.
But beginning with a kill from Hull and then a service ace from Kaley Huffman, the Knights began to chip away at Northâs lead.
After a side out gave the serve back to the Patriots, a service error gave the Knights another point. A kill from sophomore Brittaney Long and an ace from Kaylee Clark forced a timeout from a suddenly struggling North team.
Within 18-13, Hull scored one of her seven kills and then added one of four aces. The Knights eventually would even the score at 23-all after another kill from Long.
A net violation by the Knights gave North a brief lead at 24-23, but Lindsay Thomas followed with a momentum shifting kill for the Knightsâ setter. She then tipped a shot that found the court and on match point, the Patriots mishit a shot into the net.
The Knights finished the game on a 16-8 run after North started the match on one of the same length.
After dropping the first game that they led comfortably, the Patriots never recovered as Northview found its groove.
After a 2-2 tie to start the game, Lindsay Thomas then served out the next 17 straight points for the Knights who would lead 19-2 before losing serve.
âAnytime you lose a big lead itâs demoralizing,â commented McDonald. âThe win in the first game gave us a burst of energy. Thatâs about as well as weâve played in a long time.â
Indeed, over the 17-point run, the Knights got kills on 12 of those to go with two aces from Thomas and a North hitting error.
âWhat (our hitters) bring is excitement,â mentioned McDonald. âWhen they play well it gives us confidence.â
Huffman started the run with a tip and King followed with one of her six kills in the game and 19 in the game. Cari Laue added a kill in the outburst. Huffman would have seven kills in the game with Hull adding two more as Northview drilled home a two-game lead.
âOur passing was so good that we could go anywhere,â said McDonald of his senior setter, Thomas, who had 39 assists in the match.
Even when Thomas didnât set up one of her hitters, the Knights got assists from Laue, Hull, Kaylee Clark and King as well.
Just one game away from a sectional match win, the Knights didnât let up in the third game either.
Hull opened the game with another kill and King followed with two more sandwiched around a service ace from Hull to gain quick control.
Leading 7-2, King blasted another shot through a block attempt and Huffman followed with one of her own.
Kyler Clark was key in her defensive play from her libero spot, adding up four digs and Huffman added five more of her own in the match.
The Knights extended their lead to 15-4 after an ace from Huffman and a hitting error by the Patriots. Back-to-back aces from Hull pushed the lead to 20-7 and the Knights finished out the match when Mary Kate Etling sent a kill attempt long.
âThe kids are excited to win a game in sectionals,â commented McDonald on his teamâs mindset following the win. âBut they know that they canât have a letdown (in the semifinal). I think that shows their maturity.â
For Northview, Laue added three kills and Long added four with Huffman scoring 14. King added five blocks to lead the team.
The Knights (31-3 overall) will play in the opening semifinal game at 11 a.m on Saturday.
Mooresville Volleyball Sectional
Next game: Northview (31-3) plays in the Mooresville Sectional at 11 a.m. on Saturday.