Times Sports Editor
If the Northview volleyball team could figure out how to keep its focus in the third games of matches this year, the team would be even closer to perfect.
As it is, the Knights remained unbeaten on the season with a 25-13, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19 win over a scrappy Cascade squad that fell to 7-3 overall.
"I think (Cascade) was the best team we've played all year," complimented Northview coach Scott McDonald of the Cadets. "They had hitters at four different spots. Cascade is much improved over last year."
The Knights didn't give the visitors much room to breathe in the first game, jumping our quickly 9-6 on a block and a kill from Samantha Solomon. But it wasn't until Hannah Emmert stepped to the service line and led the Knights on a six point run that Northview put the game away.
Emmert served out an ace to give the Knights a 15-12 lead before Lizzie Emmert blocked a Cadet attack and Brittaney Long busted one of her 12 kills in the match. A second ace and another kill by Long put the game out of reach at 20-13.
The second game was much closer as Cascade finally found its rhythm and remained close with balanced attacks from the front line.
Hannah Hayes ended a long rally with a tip that gave North-view a 12-10 lead, but the Cadets rallied back on back-to-back errors by the Knights to tie the score and eventually take a brief lead at 17-16.
Kaylee Clark's kill attempt that found the back line gave Northview a boost and an Alyssa Clarke block and a kill from Hannah Emmert shook the Cadets' confidence. A Cascade hitting error set up the final point on a tip from Clarke.
The third game has plagued the Knights throughout the season as a loss of focus has extended several matches. Tuesday was no different.
Cascade got its offense working and the Knights struggled to get on track after the Cadets went up 14-12 on back-to-back kills.
Playing aggressively, the Cadets strung together a small run to go up 23-17 after Solomon blocked a shot for the Knights. The Cadets finished out a 25-19 win on a hitting error by the Knights and a kill.
In the final game, Northview grabbed a 9-6 lead on a kill by Long and Hayes as the Knights took control.
Hayes and Lizzie Emmert had eight kills apiece for Northview and the lead grew to 18-15 late after Clarke controlled a 50/50 ball at the net and garnered the kill for Northview. She pushed the lead to 20-15 on back-to-back blocks and a kill by Long set up match point. Lizzie Emmert's tip at the net put the final touches on the victory.
"Clarke and Solomon did a nice job getting a ton of touches at the net," said McDonald. "We had that hiccup in the third game, but overall I thought we played pretty well."
Ali Sharton had six kills for Northview and Hannah Emmert added five for the Knights. Hayes had 17 assists and Sharton contributed 14 with Solomon topping the team with 10 blocks. Emily Chiles led the defense with 13 digs and Ashlen Buck had 12 with Kaylee Clark adding six.
In the JV game, Northview improved to 4-3 overall with a 25-24, 25-17 win as Briana Cook had 10 assists and Kalyn Beil had six kills and three blocks. Darcy Bass added four blocks with Samantha Montague chipping in with two blocks and two assists. Taylar Yocom had three assists for the Knights.
The Knights (10-0 overall) travel to Brown County on Saturday for a match with the Eagles and Sullivan.
Next game: Northview travels to Brown County on Saturday.