Revenge was sweet for the Northmor volleyball team on Tuesday when they took on Fisher Catholic at Worthington Christian in a Division IV district semifinal.
Last year, the Golden Knights saw their season end in five sets to the Irish. However, this time, they battled back in the first set for a come-from-behind 26-24 win and then took the next two by scores of 25-12 and 25-17 to advance to the district finals against Newark Catholic on Saturday.
“The girls were pumped when they found out we’d play them again,” said head coach Josh Lehman. “We were much more balanced this year. Everybody stepped up and played a great game and picked each other up when we made errors.”
Early on, Fisher had control of the first set, taking an 11-5 lead. Northmor would fight back, though. With the score 13-8, the Golden Knights got three points from Emily Zeger to close within two. Fisher would start to pull away again, taking a 19-13 lead at one point.
They would not be able to put Northmor away, though. Trailing 21-17, the Golden Knights got a defensive point and then four straight off the serve of Lexi Wenger to take the lead at 22-21. Then, trailing 24-23 after giving up a point to the serve of Emma McCrady, the team got a big defensive stop to tie the game again. Lizzie Erlsten then scored two straight on her serve to give Northmor a 1-0 lead in dramatic fashion.
Lehman was not surprised his team was able to fight through that deficit, noting they have played a lot of tough matches throughout the season.
“Our team has dealt with that all season,” he said. “We’ve had so many five-game wins, so they know it’s not over until someone has won three. The girls did a great job in the first set.”
Northmor took the momentum from that set and rolled through the next. With the score 13-9 in their favor, the team got 11 straight points from Reagan Swihart that led to a 25-12 decision.
The Golden Knights then got out to a great start in the third set. Holding an 8-6 lead, they got six points from Wenger and three from Zeger to jump out to a 19-7 lead. While Fisher attempted to rally, getting as close as a 21-17 score, Northmor finished strongly. After getting a defensive point, the team finished off the match behind three points from Tuttle.
With a tough Newark Catholic team on the horizon, Lehman is hoping his team’s tough schedule has prepared them for what they’ll face.
“Our experience this year has helped with that,” he said. “We beat our huge rival in Cardington, who is Division III and we beat Galion, who is Division II and took a set from Big Walnut. So when we got to the tournament, we had those experiences.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS