A fast start proved beneficial to the Northmor volleyball team Tuesday night when they opened Division III tournament play with a 25-6, 25-12, 25-8 win over visiting Africentric.
In the opening set, the Knights scored the opening seven points behind the serving of Macy Miracle. They wouldn’t let up after that, getting three points from Hanna Bentley, two from Anna Donner and six from Abby Donner to lead by a 21-4 margin. Points by Aly Blunk and Lily Tate, as well as a pair of defensive points, gave Northmor a 1-0 lead in the sectional match-up.
Northmor struggled a bit in the second set, as they struggled with Africentric’s size at the net, resulting in a number of blocks. While Bentley and Anna Donner both scored three points each and Leslie Brubaker added two, the Knights only led 13-12 when coach Kara Wright called a time-out.
“I thought we started really well and the offense was doing its job,” she said. “In game two, we struggled a bit with offense and finding block coverage. Aly Blunk as Libero got to a lot of balls and we started passing at a faster tempo, which got us excited in game two.”
After the time-out, it didn’t take long for the Knights to turn things around. They tallied a quick defensive point to get the ball back with a 14-12 lead and Tate then served for 11 straight points to turn a closely-contested set to a 25-12 win.
Wright noted that her team did a good job of serving in the match — a big positive as the Nubians struggled with serve reception.
“Our service was good,” she said. “We took advantage of a weakness on their side and got a lot of aces.”
While the score was close early in the third game, the Knights relied on strong serving to blow open the contest. Leading 4-3, the team got six straight points by both Abby Donner and Blunk to lead 17-4. Miracle then added two and Bentley scored three points to close out the straight-set sweep.
Wright noted her team got tested in aspects of their game they need to work on in the win.
“We know we have to work on block coverage and they provided a good block for us,” she said. “We had a lot of girls stepping up to swing.”
The coach feels that lesson will be useful on Saturday when the team goes up against Elgin in their second-round match-up, also at home.
“They’re 15-7, so we know it’ll be a good match-up,” she said. “Having to work on block coverage will be good preparation for Elgin.”
Statistically, Abby Donner finished with five aces, while Blunk had five aces and seven digs; Miracle tallied five aces, eight kills, eight assists and a block and Bentley finished with four aces, three kills and three blocks. Lily Tate contributed two aces, 10 assists and a block and Anna Donner had six digs, eight kills and eight assists. Also, Julianne Kincaid had six kills and Leslie Brubaker added six kills and a block.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS