Times Sports Editor
The Northview volleyball team has had great success during the regular season the past handful of years, but they could never seem to get past rival Terre Haute South.
On Tuesday, that changed emphatically as the Knights took the fight to the Braves and came out with a convincing 25-21, 25-17, 25-27, 25-14 victory.
"That's the signature win since we took over the program," coach Scott McDonald said. "I mean (Terre Haute) South is a great team, a great program and for us to actually come out and beat them is a thrill for our kids. It's a nice way to end a special night," McDonald said.
One problem the Knights have had in the past is playing from behind and this time around, it was Northview that put the Braves in early holes in most of the games.
The first game was close with the Braves leading 19-18 before the Braves Larina Coutino sent an attack long and then Taylor Hayne had another hitting error. Kaylee Clark was huge all match for the Knights and her service ace and one from Ali Sharton combined with a kill from Brittaney Long gave the Knights a confidence building one-game lead.
Northview continued to build on the first game, running off five straight points on three kills by Long, an ace from Clark and a kill by Brylie Riddell. That run set the tone for the game as Alyssa Clarke took over in the middle of the game, capitalizing on quick sets by Hannah Hayes and Sharton.
Clarke drilled home two kills and Lizzie Emmert added one of her five kills as the Knights' lead grew to 15-8. Clarke, who had seven kills in the match, was key for the Knights along with Kaylee Clark, who had six kills and 11 digs and Riddell, who added nine kills.
"Kaylee Clark was outstanding and Brylie (Riddell) and Alyssa (Clarke) I thought were just excellent," McDonald said. "Alyssa was huge for us in that second game, I think she had five or six kills in the game. Her and Brylie got a ton of touches at the net. It was just a great all-around effort from our kids."
Northview continued to add to the lead with Hannah Hayes ringing up a 23-12 lead after a kill and despite a tip from Madison Steward and a kill from Kaitlyn Pluta of the Braves, back-to-back aces by the Knights won the game.
In the third game, Northview looked as it would finish the Braves quickly, leading 20-14 after a kill by Clark found the back line, but South hasn't had the success they've had without being scrappy.
Pluta blocked a pair of attacks and blocked another shot to start a 7-2 run to get within 23-20. The Braves' Taylor Lock served up an ace and Long had a hitting error to give the Braves their first lead and South held on for a 27-25 win.
"I thought they played that third game trying not to lose it even though we had that big lead and we finally got to that fourth game and showed killer instinct and some mental toughness in a tough environment against a great team," McDonald said.
"We're going to lose games, we've lost them before, but I thought our conditioning paid off," McDonald added. "We've run the girls like crazy because our game is based on defense and getting timely swings. I thought we were still fresh in the fourth game and we could have played a fifth."
That fifth game wasn't necessary as Northview ripped the Braves for a 9-0 run to start the fourth game as South committed several hitting errors. Two kills by Riddell put the Knights in a big hole and one of Long's 15 kills advanced to lead to 10-3. South was never really in the final game though Steward had a couple of late kills to get the Braves within 20-12, but Emmert was able to clinch the win with a kill and an ace ended the match.
Hayes had 28 assists and six kills with Sharton adding 17 assists and Ashlen Buck rang up 30 digs.
The Northview JV won a 25-13, 25-24 match as the Knights rallied from a nine-point deficit in game two. The freshmen fell 10-25, 8-25.
Northview improves to 14-3 overall and travel to Jasper for tournament play on Saturday.