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Friday, May 6, 2016

Knights spike Pioneers in season opener

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mikayla Rowan (No. 10) and Madison McDonald go up for a block of the Pioneers' Audrey Baysinger on Monday night. [Order this photo]

Times Sports Editor

Opening night always comes with its share of nerves and Monday's volleyball opener for Northview was no different. However, the Knights recovered to play some dominant volleyball in downing visiting Mooresville, 25-21, 25-9, 25-9.

Audrey Clark digs a ball against Mooresville. Clark had three digs in the victory. [Order this photo]
The Knights debuted a couple of freshmen in the lineup against the Pioneers and Northview committed several early net violations in falling behind 7-1 before a kill from McKenzi Kumpf. Junior Shelbi Morris added two more kills as the Knights began their comeback to even the score at 9-all.

"I thought first game jitters were easily seen tonight," Northview coach Scott McDonald said. "They were excited about playing and we started a couple of freshmen and had another one come into the game. I knew the jitters were going to be there."

Once the Knights settled down, the service game was pivotal as Northview gained control.

An ace by Morris and a hitting mistake by Mooresville's Hannah Lindsay gave the Knights a 13-10 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Mooresville got within 17-15 on a block and a kill by Audrey Baysinger, but Brylie Riddell returned the serve to the Knights with one of her five kills in the match. The Pioneers closed to 21-19 late in the first game before an ace by Morris and a kill from Kumpf finished off the win for Northview.

The final two games provided a glimpse of what Northview fans are looking for from a team that returns several returning starters and adds several more veterans coming off the bench.

Northview jumped out to a 6-0 lead quickly on a kill from freshman Morgan Stearley and a tip from Riddell, but the real damage was done with Taylor Hess at the serving line.

The sophomore setter served up three of her game-high seven aces in a nine-point run that pushed the Knights' lead to 18-3.

"We were able to hit every zone that I called. We were trying to find their weaker passers and we were able to do that," McDonald said. "The girls just did a great job of hitting zones all the way up and down the lineup. It was a great serving night for us."

One of Morris' seven kills and a block from sophomore Mikayla Rowan pushed the gap to 21-5 and an ace from Morris and one of Kumpf's seven kills finished the game two win.

After a ragged opening game, McDonald was much happier with how the final two sets played out.

"I thought athletically we were just able to overcome the mistakes we were making. That second and third game is what I thought this team could be like," McDonald said.

The final game was familiar to the Pioneers as Northview jumped out 12-5 and with Morris serving, ran off seven consecutive points to salt the game away.

Madison McDonald topped the team with 10 assists and added three kills. Hess provided eight assists to go with her serving prowess. On defense, Audrey Clark and Hannah Willocks had three digs with McDonald adding two and both Kumpf and Alexus Bex digging one apiece.

"I thought Audrey (Clark) did a really nice job of stepping in as a libero. She's new to the position, playing a new spot on defense," McDonald said. "I thought (Ashley) Heck did a nice job. She passed a lot of perfect balls to run our offense on and I thought our setters played well. Taylor (Hess) and Madison (McDonald) moved the ball around a little bit. We were able to spread our offense around and it makes it that much better."

The Knights junior varsity also picked up a victory with a 25-10, 23-25, 15-10 decision over the Pioneers.

The Knights (1-0 overall) host Greencastle Tuesday with a 6 p.m. JV start.

At Northview