TERRE HAUTE —
The high school volleyball match her Terre Haute North team played against visiting Northview was pretty simple to explain, Kris Painter said Thursday.
“When we passed well, we played well,” the Patriot coach said after her team fell 25-14, 25-19, 25-16. “When we didn’t pass well, we didn’t play well.”
From the Northview perspective, the match was a good start, followed by the ability to overcome two big North rallies.
“Obviously, this was a big game for us,” coach Scott McDonald said. “North is extremely well coached and very athletic.
“We were good in service — when we hit to our zones — and that helped make [the Patriots] hit to the strength of our defense … we played about as well we can play this early in the season.”
Northview never trailed in the first game, and got all the daylight it needed when a flurry of Patriot errors helped the Knights’ lead go from 12-8 to 19-10. When the visitors jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead in game two, it looked ominous for North.
Moments later, however, the Patriots were on top after a 9-1 run of their own. A block by freshman Valerie Lewis tied the score, North took the lead on a Northview error, and the lead seesawed for awhile.
North’s Mandee Eberle had three big kills as the lead never got bigger than a point for either team, and the third of them put North back on top 18-17. But Northview freshman Madison McDonald — whose job description is setter — got a kill and a block to put her team ahead to stay and an ace by Brylie Riddell and a kill by Mikayla Rowan capped a 4-0 run, the start of an 8-1 burst enabling the Knights to close out the game.
“We had spurts of greatness,” Painter said afterward, “but then our passing would go away and we’d kind of break down.”
She could also have been talking about the start of the third game, when North burst into a 7-1 lead. Northview soon had an 8-1 run to take an 11-10 lead, McKenzi Kumpf getting a block and a kill and Shelbi Morris a service ace to help the visitors take the lead.
And at 13-13, the Knights sucked all the suspense out of the match with a clinching 7-0 run that included a tie-breaking kill by freshman Morgan Stearley, two blocks by Riddell, an ace by Hannah Willocks and a couple of overenthusiastic spike attempts by the Patriots.
“[The Knights] are very, very good,” Painter said. “They have a lot of weapons … and our bad passing allowed them to set up and run what they wanted to.”
Morris had 13 kills and Kumpf 11, the only attackers to reach double figures for either team, but coach McDonald was more impressed by his team’s assists — 16 by Taylor Hess and 15 by his daughter.
“I was happy with our setting,” he said. “They spread the ball around so well … we kept [North’s] middles off-balance.
“This was a great measuring stick for us, and a nice start [3-0] for the first week.”
“We have a long way to go,” Painter said, “but it’s a long season.”
Northview 25 25 25
Terre Haute North 14 19 16
Highlights — For Northview, Taylor Hess had 16 assists, a kill, 9 points and an ace; Madison McDonald 15 assists, 3 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks and 3 points; Shelbi Morris 13 kills, 2 blocks, 8 points and an ace; McKenzi Kumpf 11 kills, a block, 8 points and an ace; Brylie Riddell 7 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs, an assist, 7 points and an ace; Hannah Willocks 4 digs, 9 points and 2 aces; Audrey Clark 5 digs; Morgan Stearley 4 assists and a kill; Mikayla Rowan 2 kills, 2 blocks and an assist; and Ashley Heck 2 digs.
For North, Anna Taylor had 15 assists, 11 digs, a block, a point and an ace; Mandee Eberle 7 kills, 6 digs, 3 blocks, an assist and 6 points; Maddy Howes 10 digs, 2 assists and 4 points; Valerie Lewis 3 kills, 2 blocks, a dig, 5 points and 2 aces; Danielle Krupa 5 kills, a dig, 3 points and an ace; Brianna Burgess and Natalie Lewis 3 kills and 2 digs each; Shelby Lawler 3 digs; Kristen Mauer a dig, an assist and a point; and Lauren Comer a dig and a kill.
JV — North won 25-22, 25-17.
Next — Northview (3-0) plays Monday at Rockville. Terre Haute North (1-1) plays next Thursday at North Vermillion.