MONTGOMERY -- As a coach, tournament play against tough competition is often the way to find out just what sort of team you have.
On Saturday, coach Scott McDonald saw his Northview volleyball squad mature before his eyes, winning three of four matches at the Barr-Reeve Invitational.
The Knights squared off against Linton in the opening contest, a re-match of a battle from Thursday night. The Knights fell behind in the opening set via hitting and service errors and actually trailed in the deciding game by a 14-8 score, but rallied back to claim the win by a 21-25, 27-25, 17-15 score, which impressed their coach.
"It was great to see us going three games and answering the bell to handle that pressure, especially in the Linton game being down match point to eight and fighting back to win," McDonald said. "We try and work on the pressure situations in practice and it pays off in the games. We have a system that allows the girls to be successful and know how to handle the tough game situations. We also allow them to be kids by not restricting them from things outside of the volleyball court, which is critical to team morale."
In the second match of the day, Northview faced off against Evansville Mater Dei and played well, but came up a bit short in the deciding third set, 23-25, 30-28, 14-16.
"In match two against Mater Dei, we made a lineup change and probably played our best volleyball of the season," McDonald said. "When playing private schools, you have to play very well in every phase, and we did just that. We only gave up a couple of four-point runs that ended up costing us in the end."
Northview bounced back to defeat Princeton easily, 25-18, 25-11 before capping a long day of competition with a 25-18, 17-25, 16-14 victory against Perry Central.
Afterwards, McDonald found plenty to be happy about, especially the team's defense and passing.
"Ashlen (Buck) was outstanding all day with some really big hitters going at us. Audrey (Clark) played very well also having to play two different positions in our new system," McDonald said. "Briana had another excellent day finding the hot hitters and letting them do what they do.
Buck had 66 digs on the day along with six aces while Kaylee Clark added 29 digs, 13 kills, eight aces and two blocks with Clark posting 19 digs and Cook passing out 48 assists and adding 13 digs.
"Kaylee (Clark) played much better today by serving extremely tough and also 'pancaked' a ball against Mater Dei that they thought hit the floor and were celebrating, only to have us get the ball over the their side while they were cheering a victory," McDonald said.
Elizabeth Emmert passed out 46 assists to go with 20 kills and nine digs for the Knights and was also singled out by McDonald for her play.
"Elizabeth was outstanding today as well," the Knights' coach said. "We felt she played some of her best volleyball today, as well as setting. In our new system, she is also setting and is extremely smart with the ball."
Brylie Riddell led the way with 38 kills with six blocks and nine aces to go with 12 digs and freshman teammate, Shelbi Morris, posted 15 kills, five blocks and three aces.
"Brylie dominated the net all day with great swings and a great jump serve," McDonald said of the sophomore standout. "Shelbi is gaining more and more confidence and got a lot of touches at the net."
Alexus Bex added two digs, two kills, two aces and an assist while Darcy Bass had two digs and a kill and Kalyn Beil scored four blocks, three kills and had a dig.
"Alexus was scrappy all day diving all over what seemed like the entire county," McDonald joked. "Kalyn Beil gave us a much needed presence in the middle getting a lot of touches and Darcy Bass did a good job when called on as well in defense."
|Ev. Mater Dei||25||28||16|