For the Brazil Times
AVON -- Losing in August may help the Northview Knights in October during the state volleyball tournament. At least Northview coach Scott McDonald hopes that is the case.
Northview started the day 6-0 and came out 8-2, losing to Franklin and Greenwood before beating Jennings County and finishing the day with a victory over Indianapolis North Central.
"We like coming to this tournament because it's a great tournament (against) teams we don't get to see very much. It gives us a chance to see where we are at. At this point of the season we're obviously working for late October and the sectional," McDonald said.
Ashlen Buck and Briana Cook are the only seniors on Northview's team. Both played big leadership roles on Saturday, but freshmen Taylor Hess, McKenzi Kumpf, Mikayla Rowan and sophomore Shelbi Morris -- just a year removed from eighth grade volleyball -- were thrown into the fires of varsity competition, too.
"I think when you play an unknown opponent, like we will at some point in the (state) tournament, at some points, we're just a little bit more timid than I would like us to be, especially the younger girls," McDonald said.
In the first loss to Franklin , the Knights won the first game 25-20, but got lost when they switched sides of the net, losing 25-12, 15-9.
Kumpf led the Knights' balanced net attack with six kills, while Morris made five and junior Brylie Riddell had four. Buck served three aces and Cook passed out 10 assists. Sophomore Audrey Clark had 10 digs.
Northview bounced back with a 25-16, 25-20 win over Jennings County.
Kumpf made seven kills and Riddell six to pace the Knights up front. Buck served two aces and came up with nine digs on defense. Cook passed out five assists.
Northview's lack of consistency was a consistent problem, and it cost them in a close match. Greenwood beat Northview 25-21, 26-24.
"I don't think we got off the bus until halfway through that last match (with Greenwood). We just haven't played very well today at all. We haven't been consistent with anything," McDonald said.
"It's hard for (our) hitters to get going because we can't get passing or setting going."
Riddell led the net game with nine kills and made eight digs on defense. Buck finished with 15 digs, while Cook passed out seven assists.
Northview finished the day with their best performance and an impressive three-game match win over North Central of the powerful Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, 23-25, 25-14, 15-8.
After losing game one, Northview jumped out to an 8-0 lead in game two and never trailed.
"For that whole match we played the way we are capable of playing. I think we had a little bit of big eye syndrome against these [bigger] schools, so [we] snapped out of that a little bit and they just relaxed and played a lot better," McDonald said.
Morris led the Knights' way with 13 kills and Buck came up with 13 digs. Taylor Hess passed out 17 assists and Cook 11.
Buck's defense is something McDonald has already come to expect.
"(She's the) best in the state, period," McDonald said.
Riddell was Northview's most consistent hitter in the four matches with nearly 40 kills.
"(Riddell) has hit the ball real well," McDonald said.
Northview, 8-2 overall and 1-0 in the Western Indiana Conference, returns to action at Linton-Stockton on Thursday with a 6 p.m. junior varsity match.
Avon Volleyball Invitational
Highlights: McKenzi Kumpf led the Knights with six kills, Shelbi Morris made five, Brylie Riddell had four. Briana Cook passed out 10 assists and Audrey Clark had 10 digs. Ashlen Buck served 3 aces.
Highlights: Kumpf made seven kills and Riddell six. Buck served two aces and came up with nine digs. Cook passed out five assists.
Highlights: Riddell pounded nine kills and made eight digs. Buck finished with 15 digs and Cook had seven assists.
Highlights: Morris led with 13 kills and Buck came up with 13 digs. Taylor Hess finished with 17 assists and Cook 11.