Times Sports Editor
MOORESVILLE -- Northview's volleyball team showed off plenty of resiliency on opening night despite playing on the road against a sectional opponent and starting three freshmen in the lineup.
The Knights overcame a 24-19 deficit in the first set to win 31-29 and then rallied in both of the final two games to sweep Mooresville by a 31-29, 25-18, 25-20 score.
With a total of five freshmen and sophomores on the varsity roster, the Knights got off to a bit of a shaky start with several serving errors and some hitting errors over the first half of the opening game. Mooresville took advantage in cruising out to an 18-12 lead before the Knights began to rally behind kills from Shelbi Morris and Hannah Wilcox. A kill from freshman McKenzi Kumpf, a block from Brylie Riddell and a hitting error by the Pioneers got Northview even at 24-all.
The game see-sawed into extra points as Mikayla Rowan rang up a block to tie the score at 29-all and Taylor Hess calmly stepped to the service line and served up a pair of aces to clinch the win.
"It was just first night jitters," Northview coach Scott McDonald said of the Knights' slow start. "When you start three freshmen like we did, 'I told them you are going to hit a ball out of bounds, you are going to hit a ball into the net and you are going to double-hit a ball.' They were nervous because it's opening night, but luckily we were able to overcome that early deficit and that got them a lot of confidence. The game sort of slowed down for them.
In game two, Mooresville again grabbed the early lead as a pair of aces by Brianna Love gave the Pioneers a 9-5 lead. However, the Knights surged late in the game once more with Hess serving up two more aces with Riddell adding her second block of the match to push the Knights ahead at 18-15. From there, Riddell finished out the game with three of her game-high six aces.
The third game looked to be a repeat of the second as Mooresville jumped ahead 11-8 before the Knights crept back to tie at 14-apiece with Rowan and Kumpf adding kills. Northview gained an 18-17 lead as Morris drilled one of her 14 kills and the Knights finished strong to earn an opening night victory.
Briana Cook had 16 assists and Hess contributed 20 assists for the Knights with Ashlen Buck posting 13 digs to go with 12 from Audrey Clark. Riddell had 10 kills, six aces and two blocks.
The Knights junior varsity dropped a three-set match, 25-15, 18-25, 11-15 and the freshmen also lost, 25-24, 16-25, 11-15.
All three teams will play on Thursday evening at home against Terre Haute North starting with a 5:30 p.m. freshmen game.