TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute South did what it could against Northview’s myriad of big-swinging offensive weapons Tuesday in high school volleyball inside the Braves’ gym, forcing long rally after long rally.
Defense was the story for the Braves when they evened the match at one game apiece. Ashley Bazier and Brittney Pink combined for a block to tie it at 18-18 and Pink’s block of Brylie Riddell put the Braves ahead two.
Bazier set up Pink for the kill that won the second game of a five-game match, but the Knights bounced back in the third as McKenzi Kumpf delivered two kills in the final three points.
Kumpf finished with a match-high total of 21 kills in the marathon match, which was won by Northview by scores of 25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 18-25, 15-12.
Riddell inched closer to becoming Northview’s all-time leader in matches won, winning her 100th as a Knight. The senior had 16 kills and four blocks.
“What a great night to get it, with a 15-13 Game 5 win at South. Just a great night of volleyball,” Northview coach Scott McDonald said.
South regained control in the fourth game thanks to more solid blocking at the net. Bailee Williams combined for a block of Mikayla Rowan, and Pink and Bazier stopped a swing by Kumpf as South took a 14-11 lead and forced a Knights’ timeout.
Etling and Williams came together for another block to force the fifth game.
Pink and Etling led the Braves with 41⁄2 blocks apiece, while Williams had 31⁄2 and Bazier 3.
“Our defense was fine. Our serve receive was fine. Our hitting is what hurt us tonight,” South coach Madison Minnick said.
South’s offense failed to get itself in a good attack mode as the two teams battled early in the fifth game. The Knights stretched their lead to 10-4, but South still battled. Freshman Riley Davis served up a clutch ace to make it 10-7, but the Knights answered with kills by Riddell and Rowan that made it 12-9.
Maddie Callahan, who ended up with a team-high 14 kills, had a powerful swing to make it 12-10 and Marissa Coutinho, who contributed a match-best 21 digs, placed a ball down the sideline to even it up. A violation against South at the net and an attack error set up Kumpf for the match-clinching kill.
“Everybody was getting good swings,” said Kumpf. “We couldn’t do it without team. It’s a team win for everything. They beat us earlier this season in a tournament. It’s great to come back and be able to win against them.”
McDonald said setters Taylor Hess and Madison McDonald were able to get the ball to Kumpf in big spots.
“I thought we were able to push [Kumpf] to the pin a little bit more and utilize her intelligence. She’s a really smart hitter, and was able to find some holes,” McDonald said.
It was a tight match just like the first one between the two rivals.
“It was very similar. It was close. We made more unforced errors this time. Our hitting errors were astronomical compared to what they were last time,” Minnick said.
McDonald thought the Braves were impressive.
“They are really good. They passed really well tonight. That’s what hurt us. We tried to put a lot of pressure on them at serve, but we missed too many. They blocked a lot as well,” McDonald said.
Could a third meeting be down the road? If so, it would be in the Class 4A sectional, and Minnick hopes her team is better prepared to deliver offensively.
“We had a gameplan and we didn’t quite execute quite like we needed to. Our hitting just wasn’t where it normally is or where it needed to be tonight,” Minnick said. “We’re just looking forward to the sectional now. That’s the next time we’d get to see them.”
Northview 25 22 25 18 15
Terre Haute South 23 25 18 25 12
Highlights — For Northview, Audrey Clark had 19 digs; Taylor Hess 21 assists and 4 digs; Madison McDonald 24 assists, 8 kills, 3 aces and 2 blocks; Brylie Riddell 16 kills, 5 digs and 4 blocks; Shlebi Morris 9 kills; McKenzi Kumpf 21 kills and 3 digs; Mikayla Rowan 4 kills; and Morgan Stearley 4 kills and a block. For Terre Haute South, Maddie Callahan 14 kills; Brittney Pink had 13 kills, 41⁄2 blocks; Meaghan Etling 9 kills and 41⁄2 blocks; Bailee Williams 31⁄3 blocks and 4 killis; Elizabeth Weber 8 kills; Ashley Bazier 3 blocks; Marissa Coutinho 21 digs; Saya Harazaki 15 digs; and Kaitlynn Gilmore 11 digs.
Next — Terre Haute South (9-8) plays Thursday at Terre Haute North. Northview (15-4) plays host to Brown County on Tuesday.