Fast starts helped pace host Northmor to a four-game win over Cardington in volleyball Tuesday night by scores of 25-17, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-15.
Northmor tended to get early runs in those four games to stake themselves to a lead. While Cardington was able to battle back to win the third game, they would not be able to come back in the other three.
“It seemed we were down 8-3 every set,” said Pirate coach Ryan Treese. “We played with no emotion or enthusiasm other than the third set. Something was off.”
The first game was the only one in which Cardington didn’t fall into an early hole. Four points from Kirsten Bonnette staked them to an early 6-3 advantage, but Northmor responded with a defensive stop and four scores from Hanna Bentley to move in front 8-6 in a game they would not trail in again.
The Pirates were able to tie things up at 11, but Northmor would get three points each from Aly Blunk and Macy Miracle to jump out to a 20-13 lead on their way to taking the first game. Knight coach Kara Wright felt her team has a lot of good hitters who were able to show what they’re capable of during the match.
“We do a pretty good job of putting the ball in our hitters’ hands,” she said. “We have six hitters able to step up when the opportunity arises. Lily Tate had a season high in kills. She had the opportunity to swing tonight.”
The teams played evenly in the early going of the second game, but with it tied at eight, Northmor got four points from Julianne Kincaid and five from Miracle to jump in front 18-10. While Cardington fought back down the stretch, getting two points from Kyleigh Bonnette and Liz Long in coming within a 23-20 margin, they would be unable to complete the comeback, as the Knights were able to hold on to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Northmor then got six points from Bentley to jump out to an 8-3 lead in the third game. However, this time, Cardington was able to come back. Two points each from Long and Kirsten Bonnette helped narrow the gap to a 13-12 margin and then Paige Clinger scored sevent straight to stake her team to a 19-13 lead.
While a defensive stop and four points from Miracle got Northmor back into the game at 19-18, Cardington was able to maintain a slim advantage and pick up a 25-22 win.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, they would not be able to maintain their momentum going into the fourth game. The score was tied at three, but Northmor got a defensive point and then tallied four points from Blunk, two from Anna Donner and two more from Tate to jump out to a 14-5 advantage.
“We had a game plan because they play a different defense than anyone in the league,” said Treese. “But we didn’t keep to it.”
Northmor was able to maintain that lead for the rest of the game in taking a 25-15 win that handed them the match and kept them undefeated on the season — an impressive feat considering they lost six members of last year’s team due to graduation.
“We’ve got four seniors this year and graduated six last year,” said Wright. “They’ve known all summer they’d be vying for spots and didn’t want to settle.”
Cardington got 11 kills each from Hannah Wickline and Clinger, with Wickline adding six solo blocks. Maci Morgan finished with 39 digs.
For the Knights, Miracle had 25 assists, three aces, 12 digs and three blocks; while Donner had 14 assists, 17 kills, an ace and 17 digs. Tate tallied six assists and 10 kills, Leslie Brubaker picked up eight kills and three blocks and Bentley finished with an ace and three blocks. Also, Kincaid had nine kills and Blunk had 25 digs.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS