To say that Northmor’s district semifinal volleyball match at Buckeye Valley against second-seeded Utica Wednesday got off to a slow start would be an understatement.
The Redskins opened with a defensive point and then got four straight by Tatum Minton to take a 5-0 lead in the first game, at which point a power outage struck the Delaware area. While the Baron gym was able to remain lit, there was a brief delay.
When action resumed, Utica gradually added to their lead. Up 8-3, they got six points from Emily Londot to open up a double-digit lead on their way to winning the first game 25-12. They would then take the next two by scores of 25-19 and 25-14 to end Northmor’s season with a 19-6 record.
Knight coach Kara Wright noted that Utica’s hitting power was something they were unable to overcome on the night, as the Redskins controlled play at the net for much of the match.
“We knew that would be an issue,” she said. “We were hoping to break their offense up more to keep them from crushing the ball at us. I think we focused so much being afraid to be blocked that we didn’t run our offense.”
For much of the second game, the Knights did better at matching their opponents. Getting two points from Kelsie Fike and one more from Caitlin Thebeault, Northmor was able to match the Redskins point-for-point in the early stages of a defensive-minded set.
However, with the score tied at 10, Utica was able to go on a scoring run behind the serving of Minton, who tallied eight straight points to open up a big lead for her team. The Bulldogs maintained a big lead until the end of the game, when Hope Miracle scored three straight points with Northmor trailing 24-16. Unfortunately for the Knights, Utica would end that run with a defensive point to claim the second set.
“Probably the best game we played was the second,” said Wright. “I was really happy with how we played in the second.”
The Redskins then got out to another fast start in the third game, as Alexa Smitherman picked up four early points and Elizabeth Pritchard added another in helping Utica to a 7-1 lead.
Northmor would fight back offensively, getting two points from Jordyn Zoll and one each from Anna Donner, Miracle and Fike to close within a 14-11 score. They wouldn’t be able to get over the hump, though. Leading 16-12, Utica got two points from Pritchard, three from Londot and two more from Brooke Maxwell to finish the game and match.
Wright noted that Londot, a 6’1 freshman, created match-up problems throughout the match for her team.
“When #27 was in the front, she’s up and over our blockers and finding holes in our defense,” she said. “At that point, you question what you can do. We’re a defensive team, but we needed to be more offensive to give ourselves a chance.”
Fike finished with eight kills, eight digs and an ace, while Miracle and Donner each added six kills, with Donner also contributing 11 digs. Leslie Brubaker picked up four kills and a block and Chloe Meier tallied three kills and an assist. Zoll picked up 13 digs, one ace and 29 assists. Also, Thebeault had seven digs, one ace and one assist and Lindsey Wiseman tallied seven digs.
“I am extremely proud of the Northmor volleyball program and their tremendous dedication to each other and improving as volleyball players,” said Wright. “We will lose three seniors who have been integral to our success this year in Lindsey Wiseman, Rayanna Loyer and Erica McElvain. Next year, we will gain a tremendous amount of talent and experience from the JV and varsity program.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS