Terre Haute North can look back at the point where its Class 4A sectional high school volleyball match got away from it against Terre Haute South on Thursday night.
Northview won’t need to find a turning point. Martinsville never let the Knights get close to one.
After a pair of three-game sweeps at the Plainfield Sectional, Martinsville and South will meet in an 11 a.m. semifinal match Saturday, the Artesians beating the highly regarded Knights 25-14, 25-14, 25-17 and the Braves nipping the Patriots 25-17, 26-24, 25-22.
What had looked like a potential turning point in the North-South match came early in its second game. South got a point after a long rally, cutting a North lead to 4-3, then realigned its rotation for the next serve.
Problem? South was already serving. The lineup error gave North some momentum, and the Patriots sped to an 11-4 lead.
The Braves responded with the next four points, but North held the lead the rest of the way — all the way to 23-20 before yielding four straight points, fighting off one game point, then surrendering the last two.
“If we close out game two, it could have been a different match,” coach Kris Painter of North said afterward. “[Losing that game] took wind out of our sails.”
“We did that to ourselves with the substitution error,” coach Madison Minnick of the Braves said, “plus an overall letdown after game one. It wasn’t what I wanted, but [the comeback] shows something about [the Braves’] character.”
South appeared ready to ride that momentum home, taking leads of 7-2 and 9-3 in the third game. North then got seven straight points for a brief lead, and after falling behind 22-15 rallied again in the final moments that made Painter feel a little better.
“We missed too many serves and we didn’t take advantage of opportunities when we had them,” she concluded.
South had some big kills by Brittney Pink and “drastically cut down our hitting errors, which was a big factor,” Minnick said.
Unsung heroes for the Braves included freshman Riley Davis — “I think every time she came in to serve, her first one was an ace,” Minnick noted — and unheralded outside hitter Elizabeth Weber. “[Weber] stepped up in the sectional last year too,” the coach said, “and we reminded her of that today.”
Northview had hoped to gain some revenge from a sectional loss to Martinsville last year, but the pre-sectional favorites showed why they got that designation.
Martinsville opened up the first game with an 8-0 run for a 13-7 lead; got six points in a row to jump out 12-4 in the second; and used a 9-1 third-game run to take a 17-8 lead before coasting home.
“We had a ton of hitting errors and we couldn’t get our serve-receive going,” said coach Scott McDonald later. “We did some things that we talked about, and when we got serve-receive and got the ball to target, we were able to get swings and score.
“But [the Artesians are] good, no two ways about it ... we had to get our hitters a chance to swing.”
Suffering just their sixth loss of the season, the Knights had to say goodbye to three “family” members — seniors Brylie Riddell, Alexus Bex and Hannah Willocks.
“That’s three great kids,” McDonald said. “Brylie is probably the best player at Northview ever from a hitting standpoint. She has school records for kills, blocks and aces [and is also the program’s all-time winner in her four-year career].”
Martinsville 25 25 25
Northview 14 14 17
Highlights — For Northview, Madison McDonald had 8 assists, 3 digs, 2 kills, 4 pints and an ace; Brylie Riddell 4 kills, a block, an assist, a dig, 3 points and an ace; McKenzi Kumpf 3 digs, a kill, a block, 4 points and 2 aces; Taylor Hess 6 assists, 2 digs and a point; Shelbi Morris 7 kills, a dig and a point; Audrey Clark 7 digs; Hannah Willocks 6 digs and a kill; Ashley Heck 4 points and an ace; and Morgan Stearley a kill and a block.
For Martinsville, Makayla Ferguson had 38 assists, 3 kills, 2 blocks and 2 points; Gabby Fisher 10 kills, 3 blocks, 13 points and 2 aces; Cailin Nix 6 kills, an assist, 12 points and 2 aces; Alyxa Shields 10 kills, 8 points and an ace; Teylor Rains 4 kills, an assist, 7 points and an ace; Mackenzie Dailey 4 points; and Madi Kutruff a kill.
Terre Haute North 17 24 22
Terre Haute South 25 26 25
Highlights — For South, Ashley Bazier had 33 assists, 5 digs, 3 kills, 2 blocks and 4 points; Riley Davis 17 digs, 11 points and 6 aces; Marissa Coutinho 23 digs, 4 assists and 3 points; Maddie Callahan 10 kills, a block, 3 digs, 9 points and an ace; Saya Harazaki 10 digs, an assist, 10 points and 2 aces; Brittney Pink 13 kills, 3 blocks and a dig; Kaitlynn Gilmore 13 digs and a point; Elizabeth Weber 9 kills; Meaghan Etling 3 kills, a block and an assist; and Bailee Williams 2 kills and a dig.
For North, Anna Taylor had 23 assists, 16 digs, a kill, a block and 2 points; Mandee Eberle 13 digs, 7 kills, a block, an assist, 11 points and 6 aces; Kristen Mauer 16 digs, an assist, 6 points and an ace; Maddy Howes 19 digs; Brianna Burgess 6 kills, 4 digs and a block; Danielle Krupa 4 kills, 2 digs, 3 points and an ace; Valerie Lewis 4 kills, 3 blocks, a dig and a point; Natalie Lewis 4 digs and 2 kills; Emily New 3 digs; Brittani Chamberlain 3 points; and Shelby Lawler and Lauren Comer 2 digs each.
Next — Martinsville (27-4) and Terre Haute South (17-13) play at 11 a.m. Saturday, with Mooresville and host Plainfield in the second match. Northview finished 28-6, Terre Haute North 16-9.