Times Sports Editor
Control of the Western Indiana Conference was at stake as Brown County visited Northview for a match-up of WIC unbeaten volleyball teams on Tuesday night.
Northview jumped out front early on its hitting as freshman Morgan Stearley posting two of her five kills early. McKenzi Kumpf served up an ace and both Brylie Riddell and Shelbi Morris smashed kills. Riddell then made perhaps the biggest impression when her second of a team-high 10 kills richocheted off an Eagle's forehead for a 10-3 lead.
"From the 10th point when Brylie (Riddell) hit the girl in the forehead, it really set the tone," McDonald said. "(Brown County) was able to make some runs at us in sets two and three, but for the most part we were in control."
Morris came to the service line with the Knights ahead 16-6 and she served up five aces in a 6-0 run that gave the first set to Northview.
The second set was considerably closer and was tied 9-9 before a kill by Riddell put the Knights ahead. However, 5-0 run paced by kills by Stearley, Riddell and Morris put Northview out front to stay.
Brown County was able to get within 17-15 after an ace by Sasha Robinson and a kill from Morgan Dobbs, but Mikayla Rowan halted the run with a kill.
The Eagles stayed within two points most of the remainder of the game and got within 21-20 after a hitting error by the Knights. Brown County had a chance to tie, but served wide to give Northview a 22-20 lead. From there, Taylor Hess served out an ace that found the back line, Morris added a kill and Rowan finished the win with a block.
Defense was a big part of the win against a sizable Brown County front line according to McDonald.
"We had so much time to prepare, we talked about our block coverage and how the back row really has to set the tone for us to get our offense going," McDonald said. "I'm not sure how many balls we had out of system, but for the most part we were really good. Audrey (Clark), Hannah (Willocks) and Ashley (Heck) were just really good in the back row for us tonight. Once we got our offense going we were in pretty good shape."
Clark, Willocks and Heck combined for 14 of the Knights' digs in the match. However, Riddell added seven, Madison McDonald posted four along with Kumpf.
The final game started well for the Knights with Riddell posting a pair of blocks and Morris added two of her eight kills. Stearley's successful attack put the Knights ahead 12-7. Northview would lead 18-13 after Robinson sent an attack long and Northview pulled away down the stretch.
The service game was essential for the Knights in the win as 10 aces helped Northview gain traction.
"We worked on our serving for a lot of that time (off)," McDonald said. "In that third set it kind of left us and we made six service errors. I think it was us being excited," McDonald said. "Brown County was undefeated (in WIC) coming in and was 15-4 (overall) and started five seniors. We stepped up and grinded that last (game) out. Hopefully we get a couple more and win the conference again."
In the junior varsity match, Whitney Halfhill helped halt an Eagles' run in the first game as the sophomore didn't make a single hitting error in a 25-22, 25-16 victory. Gracie Geswein played a strong floor game for the Knights in the victory and the setting was good throughout the win that improved Northview to 13-1 overall.
Next match: Northview (16-4 overall, 4-0 WIC) plays in the Boonville Invitational on Saturday at 10 a.m.