Times Sports Editor
The Northview volleyball team was coming off a very solid effort over the weekend at the Barr-Reeve Invitational when it hosted Cascade on Tuesday night. The Cadets squad was nearly the same one that forced the Knights to five games last season before Northview claimed the win. The 2010 edition of the Cadets brought an unblemished 9-0 mark into the match and a Class A No. 10 ranking.
It's pretty likely after Cascade left town with a 14-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-19 victory, that Northview is a believer in the small, up-and-coming program led by head coach Megan DeVault.
As good as Northview played in claiming a 25-14 win in the opening game as Kaylee Clark had four of her six kills and Shelbi Morris had three of her eight successful attacks, the Cadets owned the final three games.
The Knights ran their offense well in the opening game win, turning a 10-9 deficit into a 19-10 lead with Briana Cook at the service line. The Knights got kills from Elizabeth Emmert, Morris and Clark in the 11-0 run that gave them control of the game.
However, Cascade didn't hang their heads and instead, took advantage of Northview's mistakes the remainder of the match.
With a relative lack of height, Cascade implemented some 'small ball,' with a variety of well-placed tips and quick sets to open spots on the court. Their service game also gave the Cadets a boost with several key aces late in the second game to stretch out a 20-17 lead to a 25-18 win with Brittany Burdge at the service line.
Northview's own errors came back to bite them too with 20 hitting errors and 10 service errors leading directly to Cascade points.
"They killed us in the middle," coach Scott McDonald said. "We gave up way to many easy points with rolls, setter dumps, and tips. We have to be a scrappier team and need to anticipate that middle being used. We played really well in the first game and then after that, we had a mental let down and never recovered."
In the third game, Northview led 6-4 early on, but the wheels fell off shortly afterwards as Cascade strung together a 9-0 run. An ace by Bridget Smith started the run, two Knights' hitting mistakes and a Cadets attack boosted the lead to 9-6 and a second ace, a tip by Sydney Stein and a block by Chelsea Wichman completely stole the momentum of the match.
Trailing 13-7 after a kill by Brylie Riddell, the Knights couldn't string together a run as Riddell's serve sailed long on the following play. Kaylee Clark hit into the net, Morgan Estes drilled an attack and Clark found the net again as the Cadets' lead grew to 17-7. Northview wasn't able to climb back into the game, allowing Cascade to score 21 of the final 29 points.
The final game of the night wasn't much more satisfying for Northview as Cascade overtook a 10-7 lead by the Knights with an 11-3 run sparked by more mistakes by the Knights. With a late 21-17 lead, Cascade got back-to-back kills from Burdge to put the match out of reach.
Riddell led the Knights with 14 kills and five blocks with Emmert posting 15 assists and Kaylee Clark adding 16 digs and Cook adding 13 digs and 14 assists.
The Northview junior varsity improved to 7-2 this season by defeating Cascade 25-14, 25-23 led by 16 points from Samantha Montague and nine from Lindsay Potter.
Next match: Northview (9-6 overall) faces Sullivan and Brown County on Saturday at 10 a.m.