Times Sports Editor
Forgive the Northview volleyball team if they had a few opening night jitters. After all, most of the 2008 starting lineup was competing at the JV level or in one case, junior high.
But those nerves didn't keep them from scoring a victory, albeit a win that was a tad nerve wracking, 27-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-21 over Mooresville.
"The girls were so nervous going in," admitted coach Scott McDonald. "I talked to them during the first timeout, but for a lot of them it was their first varsity experience."
Mooresville took advantage of the Knights' inexperience early, building an 18-8 lead during the first game before an impressive rally by Northview, keyed by a block from Hannah Hayes.
Hayes' block and a couple of hitting errors by the Pioneers gave Northview new life as they climbed back to within 21-16 after Hayes served up to aces.
The rally continued on a kill by Hannah Emmert and an ace from Alyssa Clarke. Emmert blasted another kill through a Pioneer block and a service ace from Samantha Solomon knotted the game at 24-apiece.
The rally to victory was completed on a Clarke kill that resulted in an important sideout on match point by Mooresville. Brittaney Long smashed a kill to the floor to give the Knights their first lead of the match at 26-25 and Mooresville's Heather Mason sent a shot long to put the Knights ahead by one game.
Northview was able to ride that momentum into the second game, leading early before the Pioneers found out a way to get the ball to their 6'1 middle, Maegan Callaway.
"I was pleased that we could get down 18-8 and still come back to win," said McDonald. "Their middle was tough, she could hit the ball wherever we wanted and we were trying everything to stop it."
The second game see-sawed back and forth throughout the second half, with six different ties after a kill from Mooresville's Heather Mason tied the game at 17-all. Ten points later, the game was still tied, this time at 22-22.
Hayes was able to earn a sideout on a kill to give Northview a 23-22 and back-to-back kills from Kaylee Clark and Long finished off the game to put the Knights ahead two games to none.
With a chance to put the match away, Northview struggled in the third set, falling behind at 11-10 and were doubled up the rest of the way in dropping a 17-25 game.
The fourth game proved just as dramatic as Northview led early on aces by Ali Sharton, but Mooresville rallied to lead 19-16 after two hitting errors by the Knights and a kill from Mason.
Lizzie Emmert started the rally with a tip and Mooresville's Kim Nelson and Ashley Antic sent two kill attempts long to narrow the gap. Solomon tied the score at 20 with a kill.
The final rush came from back-to-back kills from Hannah Emmert, part of a nine kill evening. Hayes finished off the win with her ninth kill of the game to give Northview the win.
"At times we had our older, more experienced kids step up," said McDonald. "Hannah Emmert made some huge shots in that fourth game and Emily Chiles had some crucial passes. We gave up a lot of points tonight, but we just needed to get through this first game. We'll be fine."
Long led the Knights in offensive statistics with 14 kills to go with nine more from Lizzie Emmert. Sharton had 24 assists for the Knights along with 21 from Hayes.
The Knights freshmen team won a 25-23, 15-25, 15-11 decision over the Pioneers as Samantha Montague had 11 points in the match and Kylie Clark served out the final four points of the match. Kalyn Lucas added four points in the first game.
The JV team fell by a 17-25, 18-25 score despite eight points from Darcy Bass, twto from Briana Cook and two from Montague.
The varsity and JV Knights take on Greencastle at home beginning at 6 p.m.
Northview (1-0) takes on Greencastle tonight at 6 p.m.