Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Northview and Clay City's volleyball teams were scheduled to face each other in Clay City on Monday night. While the match did indeed take play, the bigger cause was raising money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Donations were taken through a variety of methods and a great crowd was on hand to take in the county match-up.
Though the Knights had the far better record on the season with a 14-0 record to the Eels' 5-7, Clay City was the team that came out quickly on the attack.
The Eels had the best of the early play in both of the first two games, leading 5-1 in game one and 8-6 in game two, but each time the Knights dug in for a rally.
Northview was able to come back in the first two games before leading from the beginning in the third for a 25-16, 25-20, 25-15 victory.
"I think the girls were looking a bit forward to (Terre Haute South this evening)," said Scott McDonald. "But Clay City hit the ball well for a young team. In a couple of years they are going to be tough."
"I felt like we played kind of scared," said the first-year coach. "I thought in the second game we should have beat them, but we were playing not to lose."
The second game was a cliffhanger for much of the contest with eight ties following an 11-all deadlock midway through the game.
The Eels took one point leads off a Lynsey Higgins kill off a block attempt, a kill by LaKyla Cook, another kill by Megan Vansickle and one by Shelby Hane.
With the score tied at 19-all after Northview's Ali Sharton tipped the ball past a Clay City defender, the Knights' Alyssa Clarke stepped into the spotlight.
Clarke, who had a team-high seven kills in the match and three blocks, scored the next two points on kills. A net violation by the Eels tipped the momentum into Northview's favor with a 22-19 lead. Clarke then stuffed an attack by the Eels, who were unable to regain their rhythm in the 25-20 loss.
"Alyssa really had a nice streak there for us," mentioned McDonald. "She gave us the momentum we needed."
"It was almost like we felt we shouldn't win that second game," said McCullough. "Like we were thinking that Northview is too big and we shouldn't win. But there were plenty of positives. Our block coverage was much better and our serve receive improved."
The third game saw Northview jump ahead quickly on four aces by Hannah Hayes, who also had 14 assists and five kills for the Knights.
"I thought Megan Vansickle passed the ball well for us," said McCullough of her senior. "We don't see many teams who have the versatility that Northview has."
Hayes' service run propelled Northview to a 9-2 and a pair of Brittaney Long kills, along with two of Samantha Solomon's four kills, pushed the lead out of reach for the Eels.
Long and Lizzie Emmert each had six kills for the Knights to go with five from Hayes and Hannah Emmert.
On defense, Northview got 16 digs from Ashlen Buck, six each from Hannah Emmert and Kaylee Clark, five from Emily Chiles and one from senior Allison Stearley.
In the JV game, Northview won 25-19, 24-25, 15-4 over the Eels as Stephanie McMains had six kills along with Kylee McKee. Darcy Bass added three and Brianne Cook contributed 13 assists. Brailyn Whitson added nine digs as Northview improves to 9-3 overall.
Northview travels to Terre Haute South tonight for a 6 p.m. game while the Eels host Eminence on Thursday at 6 p.m.
At Clay City
Next game: Northview visits Terre Haute South tonight and Clay City hosts Eminence on Thursday.