Northmor saw its volleyball season end Tuesday in a five-set contest against Fisher Catholic by scores of 19-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-15, 14-16.
The Golden Knights had match point in the fifth set, but were unable to score with a 14-13 lead and the serve. Then, with the score tied at 14, Fisher got a pair of points from Abby Kenney to claim the set and match.
“Both teams played a really good match,” said Northmor coach Josh Lehman. “The girls played well, but just didn’t get it at the end. It came down to the end. They took the lead at the end and we didn’t.”
In the district semifinal match between top-seeded Northmor and third-seeded Fisher, the two teams played a back-and-forth match that needed the full five sets to determine a winner.
Behind a pair of points from Megan Adkins, Northmor held an early 4-2 lead in the first set. However, the Irish battled back. With the score tied at five, they got seven straight points from Olivia Carbol to open up a commanding lead. Northmor would battle back to within a 19-18 margin behind two points from Riley Yunker and Lexi Wenger and one from Maddie Blunk, Reagan Swihart and Julianne Kincaid, but Fisher got a defensive point and then four more from Carbol to lead 24-19 on their way to taking a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Irish then opened up a 7-3 lead in the second set, but the Golden Knights showed it would be a quick night for their opponents by getting two from Blunk and three from Swihart in surging in front 10-8. While the set remained close until the end, Northmor would be able to hold a slim lead for the duration in winning 25-23 to tie the match at one set each.
After falling in an early hole in the third set, Northmor got three points from Swihart to go up by a 10-9 count and Adkins followed with two points to make it 13-10. Unfortunately for the locals, Fisher dominated the rest of the set. After a defensive score, five points by Haylee Cordle put them in front by a 16-13 score. Then, with the score 18-15, Carbol picked up four points to put her team three points from winning a set they would eventually take by a 25-17 count.
Northmor would return the favor in the fourth set. Holding a 7-6 lead in the early going, they got two points each from Maggie Tuttle, Swihart and Adkins, while giving up nothing to the Irish offense, to move in front by a 15-8 score.
The Golden Knights would maintain a sizable lead for the remainder of the set as they won by a 25-15 margin to tie the match at two sets apiece. They would then get a pair of points from Wenger to take a 3-1 lead in the fifth.
However, Fisher fought back. With the score tied at five, they would get two points from Averie Bruce. After one point by Northmor’s Tuttle, the Irish got two more from Emma McCrady to go in front by a 10-7 count.
Northmor responded with a defensive point and four from Swihart to go back ahead at 12-10. Unfortunately, they would not be able to score again on their serve and Fisher was able to edge them for the win, advancing to Saturday’s district final match against Newark Catholic.
“It was a good season,” said Lehman after Northmor finished with a 17-7 record. “Obviously, we wanted to go a little further, but I told them that if you play your best and lose, you have nothing to be ashamed about.”
Lehman is excited about the future of his team. While they graduate Adkins and Kincaid, they will return a lot of players who had integral roles on this year’s team.
“We lose two big seniors and will have to find someone to replace them,” he said. “We’re excited about next season. We have the 28-day cool-off period and then we’ll hit the weight room and be ready for next season.”
After a hard-fought five-set tournament match, the coach noted that having to wait through that cool-off period isn’t going to be easy.
“It’s tough to have to stop after a game like that,” he said. “We’ll use it as motivation to come out and fight hard next year and do what we can.”
Northmor’s Julianne Kincaid prepares to serve the ball in Tuesday’s tournament volleyball match against Fisher Catholic.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS