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Knights looking to make the next step in 2009 volleyball season

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kaylee Clark (left) and Brittaney Long go at it at the net during a scrimmage this week at Northview. The regular season begins on Monday with a trip to Mooresville.

Times Sports Editor

The Northview volleyball program has won a lot of games during the last four regular seasons. In fact, the Knights have averaged a 28-6 record over those four years, including the postseason. But one thing is missing, a sectional trophy.

Head coach Scott McDonald is in his second season at the helm of the Knights and he is certainly ready to add that championship hardware to the Northview trophy case.

"We have won a lot of games, but sectionals are tough to win," said McDonald. "We play in a very competitive sectional that requires some breaks to go your way. Our first year, we won a match, last year we lost in 4 to a very talented Terre Haute South team. We were so proud of the effort our kids gave last year, but a season is not based on what you did last year or the year before."

In preparing for the 2009 season, the Knights return a wealth of experience and talent, including three All-Conference athletes in Hannah Hayes, Brittaney Long and Ashlen Buck.

Long returns as part of a versatile front line for the Knights and led the team in kills last year with 349. She also had 33 aces to top the squad and was fourth in blocks with 13.

Samantha Solomon is another senior hitter and had 175 kills from the middle position. Solomon is joined by Alyssa Clarke, who is returning after a late season knee injury last year. Clarke had a team-high 56 blocks and 166 kills.

Helping fill the spot left by the graduated Hannah Emmert will be Kaylee Clark and Stephanie McMains.

"Kaylee has tremendous experience from club ball and playing varsity since her freshman year," McDonald said. "Stephanie has really grown as a player over the last couple of years in our program as well. We have very good depth at all of our positions."

McConald is confident that his team's offense will be in good shape this season with versatility and talent to spare.

"Our offense will run through returning Co-MVP Brittaney Long. She is a four-year starter and one of the best outside hitters that I have seen at the high school level," McDonald commented. "Alyssa Clarke, Samantha Solomon, Stephanie McMains, Kaylee Clark, Lizzie Emmert, and Brylie Riddell give us a variety of hitters that can put numbers in the stat line."

Though the Knights have an experienced group of hitters, they wouldn't be able to do their jobs without having some special players that can get them the ball.

Ali Sharton enters her senior year after placing second in assists with 279. Hannah Hayes returns for her junior year and topped the squad with 294 assists.

"The fact that we return two excellent setters is a definite advantage for us," McDonald said. "They understand the offense that we run very well and utilize the hitters that we have. Using your hitters is vital in playing at the varsity level because defenses are faster and cover so much more floor."

McDonald believes that his team's own defense will also be improved, which is pivotal in the Knights' chase for a sectional title.

"With returning Co-MVP Ashlen Buck anchoring the defense, we are able to make adjustments to the other positions," McDonald said. "The girls are so much more physically and mentally tougher, they have taking great pride in their defense. We have had so many floor burns and bruises, but they get immediately back off the floor and are ready for more."

Buck is a product of playing travel volleyball for the Crossroads of America team based out of Terre Haute. McDonald was quick to credit club volleyball for preparing athletes to contribute quickly to high school programs. This year Riddell is on the varsity roster in her first high school season.

Riddell continues a long line of talented freshmen that have been able to step in and contribute to the varsity squad in their first year. McDonald already has high hopes for her after seeing her work in practice.

"Our approach with freshmen, is that if they can play at the varsity level, then they will be on the floor," McDonald said. "It is a tremendous benefit having kids playing club volleyball, coming in and they have already competed at a high level. Brylie is the first player that we have had that is playing club at Circle City. She is a tremendous athlete with a high volleyball IQ, and a work ethic to match."

This will also be the final season for five seniors, Long, Brailyn Whitson, Sharton, Clarke and Solomon are looking to claim a title in their senior year.

"They have been an absolute dream to coach," McDonald said of the senior class. "They work hard, play hard, and want to get better. They also are a very entertaining group to be around. This season is about getting these kids the sectional championship they so richly deserve. We would say that they have been a huge part of laying the foundation for the type of kids that we want in our program.

Northview varsity volleyball

Mon. Aug. 17at Mooresville6:30 p.m.
Tue. Aug. 18at Greencastle7 p.m.
Thu. Aug. 20vs. T.H. North7 p.m.
Mon. Aug. 24vs. Rockville6 p.m.
Thu. Aug. 27vs. Edgewood6 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 29at Avon Invite9 a.m.
Thu. Sept. 3at Linton6 p.m.
Tue., Sept. 8at Cascade6 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 12vs. Sullivan10 a.m.

Brown County

Mon. Sept. 14vs. West Vigo5:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 19vs. Crawfordsville10 a.m.
Mon. Sept. 21vs. Clay City6 p.m.
Tue. Sept. 22vs. T.H. South6 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 26at JasperTBA
Thu. Oct. 1at S.Vermillion6 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 3at Boonville InviteTBA
Wed. Oct. 7at Owen Valley6 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 10at N.Montgomery InviteTBA
Thu. Oct. 15vs. Plainfield5 p.m.
Mon. Oct. 19at Danville5:30 p.m.
Thu. Oct. 22at Martinsville Sectional6 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 24at Martinsville Sectional11 a.m.

Freshmen volleyball schedule

Mon. Aug. 17at Mooresville5 p.m.
Thu. Aug. 20vs. T.H. North5:30 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 29at Crawfordsville Tourney8 a.m.
Wed. Sept. 2at Cascade6 p.m.
Thu. Sept. 10vs. Edgewood5:30 p.m.

Vs. Bloomington North

Sat. Sept. 12at T.H. North Tourney9 a.m.
Mon. Sept. 14vs. West Vigo5:30 p.m.
Tue. Sept. 15vs. Linton5:30 p.m.

Vs. Sullivan

Thu. Sept. 17at T.H. South6 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 26at Southmont Tourney8 a.m.
Sat. Oct. 10at Brown County Tourney10 a.m.
Sat. Oct. 15vs. Plainfield5 p.m.