Times Sports Editor
The 2009 season will be one that is tough to beat for the Northview volleyball program, which claimed its first sectional championship since 1996. However, this year's edition has designs on doing just that as the Knights prepare for the regular season opener against Mooresville on Monday evening.
The Knights were 28-10 last year and graduated a talented group of seven seniors from a team that fell to eventual state semi-finalist, Floyd Central in the Seymour Regional.
Returning though are four very good starters and a group of athletes looking to build upon last year's success. Winning that sectional was a big confidence boost and gave the squad the proof that they can compete with the state's best.
The confidence that the girls gained from being a part of that championship gave them the confidence that they can do it again," coach Scott McDonald said. "They have shown themselves that the game is never over after having to go five sets in all three (sectional) matches."
Though the team graduated four, part or full-time starters, McDonald feels that this year's team can create its own identity.
"This year's version of Northview Volleyball is one that is extremely fast, athletic and versatile," McDonald said. "We have excellent team speed to the ball, which translates into our offense being able to run a faster attack."
Replacing veteran hitters, Alyssa Clarke and Brittaney Long along with talented passer, Ali Sharton, won't be easy, but McDonald believes that his returning talent can share the workload.
The senior class of Lizzie Emmert, Kaylee Clark, Hannah Hayes, Kalyn Beil and Darcy Bass will be critical to the team on the court and with their leadership and experience.
Samantha Montague also moves up to the varsity roster this season for her junior year after playing outside hitter on the junior varsity last year.
Emmert and freshman, Shelbi Morris will take over in the middle with Riddell, a sophomore, moving to the outside and junior, Briana Cook, moves into the role that Sharton had last season. According to McDonald, Cook has received some valuable tutelage from Hayes during the offseason.
What seemed, at the time, to be a disappointing end to the season in the loss to Floyd Central, might actually have great benefit to the Knights in 2010.
"The strengths of this team are first and foremost is our defense. We have worked very hard on ball control, which will allow our hitters to get a lot of swings," McDonald said. "We love where our offense is at as well. After facing Floyd Central last year and seeing what their offense was and what it did to us, we have worked hard to put ourselves into a similar style. The girls have taken great pride in speeding up the offense and are excited about where they are as well."
The defense that McDonald spoke of will feature two of the best the area has to offer in junior libero, Ashlen Buck and Clark as well.
"Our defense with those two back there is as good as I have seen in high school volleyball," McDonald said. "Kaylee and Ashlen both played club volleyball to get ready for this season. Kaylee playing for COA 18-1's team that went to the AAU Nationals and Ashlen playing for Circle City 18-1's as a 16-year-old has really made an impact on their play. The good part for us is that all of our girls have worked extremely hard on their defense."
Adding to the varsity roster will be junior Abby Hayes, who was a defensive specialist last season.
Northview hasn't had a shortage of freshmen that contribute immediately in recent years and Morris and classmate, Audrey Clark, will continue that trend. The two were a part of a North Clay eighth-grade team that lost only three matches last year.
"Shelbi and Audrey are expected to perform at a high level. The exciting thing for us as coaches is to see the impact that freshmen are continuing to have on our team," McDonald said. "Shelbi is very athletic and has adapted very well to high school level volleyball. She has picked up our offense very quickly and is bringing more power than even we expected. She is going to be very difficult for other team's to handle."
McDonald also has been very impressed with Clark and feels that she can be important on the defensive side for the Knights in 2010.
"Audrey has done a great job with defense and being in serve-receive. She and Ashlen have worked very well together and Audrey has really grown in her confidence that she belongs on the varsity. We are excited about what these two bring to our team and are really excited about getting the season started to see where we are."
The 2010 season opens up with a home match versus Mooresville on Monday evening at 6 p.m.
2010 Northview varsity volleyball schedule
|Mon. Aug. 16||vs. Mooresville||6 p.m.|
|Tue. Aug. 17||vs. Greencastle||6 p.m.|
|Thur. Aug. 19||at T.H. North||6:30 p.m.|
|Mon. Aug. 23||at Rockville||6 p.m.|
|Thu. Aug. 26||at Edgewood||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Aug. 28||at Avon Invite||9 a.m.|
|Thu. Sept. 2||vs. Linton||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 4||at Barr Reeve Invite||9 a.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 7||vs. Cascade||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 11||at Sullivan||10 a.m.|
|Mon. Sept. 13||at West Vigo||7 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 18||at Crawfordsville||10 a.m.|
|Mon. Sept. 20||at Clay City||6 p.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 21||at T.H. South||6 p.m.|
|Thu. Sept. 30||vs. S. Vermillion||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Oct. 2||at Boonville Invite||9 a.m.|
|Wed. Oct. 6||vs. Owen Valley||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Oct. 9||at N. Montgomery Tourney||TBA|
|Thu. Oct. 14||at Plainfield||6 p.m.|
|Mon. Oct. 18||vs. Danville||6 p.m.|
|Thu. Oct. 21||Sectional||6 p.m.|
|Sat. Oct. 23||Sectional||11 a.m.|