It took a big third-set comeback, but the Northmor volleyball team was able to complete a sweep of visiting Danville in their Division IV tournament opener on Thursday.
After winning the first two games by scores of 25-12 and 25-22, the Golden Knights found themselves in a 16-8 hole after Hannah Bailey served for three straight Blue Devil points. However, Bailey’s fourth serve was errant to give the ball back to Northmor, trailing by seven points.
The team gradually battled its way back, getting one point from Megan Adkins, two from Macy Miracle and one each from Julianne Kincaid and Lexi Wenger to get within a 19-17 margin. However, Danville would get two straight points to lead by four, while also being four points away from forcing a fourth set.
They would only muster one of those points, though, as Northmor got a defensive score and two points from Leslie Brubaker to get within one. After Danville scored on defense, the Golden Knights followed suit to be within a 22-21 margin. Reagan Swihart then finished off the set and match with four straight points.
“We’re getting these girls to realize the potential they have,” said coach Kara Wright. “They have leadership, but sometimes don’t trust themselves. I feel Danville prepared well for us. They blocked the outside better than they had against us.”
Initially, it looked like Northmor would cruise to the victory. After giving up a quick score to the Blue Devils, they got a defensive point and then Miracle served for eight straight to put her team in front by a 9-1 margin. The Golden Knights continued pouring it on, getting two from Kincaid, one each from Wenger and Swihart and three from Adkins to lead 21-6 on their way to taking a 25-12 win.
“We last played them two weeks ago and all three games were 25-17 or 20 scores, so to come out and play strong was good,” said Wright. “That 1-0 lead was huge for us.”
The team also got out to a fast start in the second set, getting one point from Miracle, two from Wenger and six from Brubaker to lead 12-5. However, a scoring drought would allow their opponents to nearly catch up, getting within a a 17-15 margin.
A defensive point followed by three from Wenger made it 21-15, but the Blue Devils retaliated with a defensive score and four from Sierra Arnald to get within one. Northmor would finish strongly, though, as a defensive point and a score by Brubaker put them two away from winning the game, which they earned on defense.
Despite getting two early points from Kincaid, Danville dominated the early stages of the third game, but Northmor’s big comeback preserved the three-set sweep of their opponents.
For Northmor, the win provided the volleyball team with its fourth straight sectional title, as well as their sixth in the past seven years — something that Wright looks at as a great sign for how far the program has come.
“I started coaching in 2005 and, at first, a sectional title felt unattainable for us,” she said. “To come in and get a sectional title — they’ve put in a lot of work.”
Northmor got 11 kills and 12 digs from Kincaid, while Brubaker had 10 kills and three blocks and both Adkins and Swihart added six kills. Also, Miracle finished with four aces and 29 assists and Emily Zeger contributed 12 digs.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS