It shouldn’t have been so easy.
Northview’s Knights had plenty of things that could have gone wrong in high school volleyball at the Class 3A Edgewood Sectional on Saturday, among them playing a revenge-minded home team on its own court and, after that task had been completed, facing the championship game without one of their key performers against a tall, experienced team that came in with a 21-6 record.
The results? A 27-25, 25-17, 25-13 win over Edgewood in the morning and a 25-14, 25-12, 25-13 win over Brown County in the title game that, with all due respect to a gritty Eagles team that battled hard, wasn’t nearly as close as those scores indicated.
Maybe it was because it was the coach’s birthday.
“Best birthday present I ever had,” Scott McDonald said after the championship match, and after a serenade from the considerable Northview crowd. “I’ve won seven sectionals, five in baseball and two in volleyball, but this is the first one I’ve been able to share with my daughter [Madison McDonald, a sophomore, is one of many stellar Knights], and it’s something I’ll never forget.”
The Knights weren’t perfect Saturday, and there are some teams that might have worried about a tendency to allow its opponent to get back into games that should have been over sooner -- such as when Northview turned a 20-11 lead into a 25-24 deficit before winning the first game against Edgewood.
Northview isn’t a team that tends to worry, however.
“You’re going to give up a few runs,” coach McDonald said after the championship match, “but we were pretty well in control the entire day.”
“There were times when we didn’t show who we were,” senior hitter Shelbi Morris admitted, “but we were able to work through it.
“We always get out of our ruts.”
Indeed, when an opponent shows any sign of gaining some traction against the Knights, they respond emphatically. Morris and Morgan Stearley were both adept Saturday night at coming up with momentum-killing blasts against the Eagles.
And when the Knights got momentum, their runs lasted a lot longer.
Brown County stayed relatively close early -- within 5-4, then 8-5, then 12-8 in the first game. Then Kenzi Kumpf stepped to the service line and put the match out of reach with eight straight points, three of them aces.
The second game was never close, Northview taking leads of 16-5 and 18-6. The Eagles rallied with five straight points, only to see the Knights answer with six in a row.
And if the point hadn’t been made by that time, Morris served nine straight points in the third game to open an 18-5 bulge.
All according to plan, the coach said.
“We had good passing, big hits and we served very well,” coach McDonald pointed out. “Our defense was phenomenal; we got so many touches [at the net] and were able to transition those into offense.”
“I think we played well,” summarized setter Taylor Hess. “It took a lot of hard work.”
Hess realizes, she said, that her team situation is a good one.
“My hitters are fantastic,” she said. “We even have options in the back row ... and Mac [coach McDonald] really works with us and tells us what we can do to throw the other team off.”
Morris said after the championship match that her only regret was being unable to celebrate it with longtime teammate Audrey Clark. The Northview libero had a family obligation that forced her to miss the night game.
“I cannot tell you how amazing she is, and it’s sad we’re not able to share this moment,” Morris said of her fellow senior.
“We’ve been planning for [Clark’s absence],” coach McDonald said. Audrey and Ashley [Heck] have been alternating at libero all year.”
The Knights are on the road at Shelbyville for Tuesday’s regional match, but will take time to enjoy their first sectional championship in four years.
“An awesome day,” the coach said.
“I’m not gonna sleep tonight; I don’t know about the other girls,” Morris promised, “but it’s back in the gym Monday.”
It shouldn’t have been so easy.
- High School
West Vigo baseball wins in rout
When Brandin Behringer drove in his first run Thursday evening, it gave West Vigo a short-lived lead in nonconference high school baseball.
The remainder of the Viking senior’s RBIs came four at a time in the bottom of the fourth inning, his grand-slam homer capping the second of consecutive seven-run innings that sent his team to a 15-3 win over visiting North Vermillion.
Prep roundup: Vikings get big hits to beat North Vermillion on softball diamond
The West Vigo softball team improved to 4-3 for the season with an 11-4 victory over North Vermillion on Thursday.
Leah Morrison busted the game open with a three-run double in the Vikings’ seven-run fourth inning.
Kenzie Little chipped in with a two-run triple in the sixth and Hannah Harden tossed a complete-game for the pitching win.
Prep baseball: Northview beats top-ranked Shakamak
Damon Bass pitched a three-hit shutout and struck out seven to lead Northview to a 7-0 high school baseball victory over Shakamak.
The visiting Knights blew open a tight game against Class A’s top-ranked team with a four-run seventh inning.
Austin Butts and Jake Harden combined for six hits for Northview.
PREP ROUNDUP: North girls tennis wins 5-0 at Plainfield
Terre Haute North’s girls tennis team swept its opening match of the high school season as it defeated Plainfield 5-0 on Wednesday.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Loss of Coach Bennett leaves hole in Marshall
My email box is a little less busy now, and there’ll be a familiar face missing on basketball trips to Marshall in the future.
Roncalli fights past North Central in extra innings on way to Braves Bash title
Roncalli became a three-time Gold Bracket champion of the sixth annual Braves Bash high school softball tournament at Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex Saturday night by defeating Evansville Mater Dei 7-1 in the title game.
The 12-team round-robin tournament, which started Friday evening with three pools, and concluded with bracket championships Saturday night.
Sullivan enjoys record golf day at Northview Invitational
Sullivan and No. 1 player Nathan Pirtle were top finishers in the Northview Invitational for high school boys golf teams played Saturday at Forest Park.
TH North loses to McCutcheon, beats Harrison (West Lafayette)
Terre Haute North bounced back from a big loss to host McCutcheon to defeat Harrison (West Lafayette) in a pair of high school baseball games Saturday.
The Mavericks defeated the Patriots 17-7 early Saturday, but North beat the Raiders 9-4 later in the day.
West Vigo baseball drops first two in Center Grove Classic
West Vigo hammered the baseball all over the field and had a double-digit lead through three innings early in the week at Seeger before rain washed it out short of a complete game.
TH South sweeps MIC baseball doubleheader
Justin Jenkins and Timmy Herrin led visiting Terre Haute South to a sweep of a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball doubleheader Saturday at Indianapolis North Central.
Opening their final MIC season, the Braves won the opener 9-6 and the nightcap 8-6.
Braves Softball Bash a 'premier' early-season tournament
The Braves Softball Bash has grown to 12 schools in 2014, with high school teams looking to gauge their early-season progress against quality competition.
The host Braves have put together a solid 3-1 start that includes a doubleheader sweep of Casey, Ill., a newcomer to the field along with West Vigo.
Golf season gets going Saturday with Northview Invitational
Most high school boys golf teams in the area will get the season started Saturday in the Northview Invitational at Forest Park.
New players will be in the lineups for many of the teams. Sullivan and Greencastle are the leaders in returning players.
PREP ROUNDUP: Allen homers in North softball win
Jazmine Allen had her first home run of the season and she and Conner Nelson combined for five hits and four RBIs as Terre Haute North defeated Sullivan 8-1 on Thursday in nonconference high school softball.
PREP ROUNDUP: South offense leads Braves to dominant win over Lincoln
Justin Jenkins had three hits and Jacob Johnson and Zach Donnelly drove in four runs apiece as Terre Haute South rolled to a 15-2 high school baseball victory Wednesday at Vincennes Lincoln.
Terre Haute North tops Sullivan, falls to Class A No. 1 Shakamak
Class A No. 1-ranked Shakamak got a big pitching performance and big hits from Braxton and Brett Yeryar Tuesday night while beating Terre Haute North 5-2 at Don Jennings Field.
Prep roundup: West Vigo softball wins in 4 1/2 innings
Charity Lane, Shelby Edington, Baylee Waters and Leah Morrison each had two hits and Lane knocked in three runs to lead West Vigo past visiting Turkey Run 13-2 in a run-rule high school softball game that went 4 1/2 innings Tuesday.
Terre Haute South cruises to Braves Bash title
Terre Haute South knew it had a deep pitching staff going into the 11th annual Braves Bash baseball tournament and that proved to be true. But the Braves’ offense surprised everyone but the players Saturday as South won two 10-run-rule games en route to the championship.
South defeated Mount Vernon 10-0 Saturday morning and capped the championship with a 14-4, come-from-behind victory over Munster in the finale.
PREP ROUNDUP: Collett homers as North splits doubleheader
Sophomore T.J. Collett hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader as Terre Haute North opened its high school baseball season with a 9-3 victory over host Hamilton Southeastern on Saturday.
The Patriots lost the nightcap 6-0 after three first-inning errors led to three unearned runs.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
PREP TRACK PREVIEW: Raetz, Holman among new coaches
Two new coaches are in charge among the eight Vigo County and Northview high school track teams in 2014, although one of them isn’t really that new.
Mark Raetz has taken over the Northview boys for Chad Smith, who is battling an illness. Raetz formerly headed the Terre Haute South boys program for two seasons.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Season preview: Vigo County, Northview baseball teams ready to roll
To no one’s surprise, Wabash Valley baseball fans don’t have to leave Vigo County — although they certainly could, as described later in this article — to find talented baseball players on the high school diamond this spring.
Terre Haute North has a quartet of .300 hitters returning — Zach Milam, Jonathan Eilbracht, Nathan Will and Lane Dransfield — in addition to super sophomore T.J. Collett, who led the Patriots with a team-best 50 runs batted in for the 24-7 Patriots last season. Collett hit .424 with six doubles, two triples and nine home runs as a freshman.
PREP ROUNDUP: Marlow's 10 RBI leads Braves' softball at Casey
Terre Haute South’s Kelsey Marlow had 10 runs-batted-in during a doubleheader sweep at Casey.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
Girls state finals leaving Terre Haute
The IHSAA and city of Terre Haute are still on excellent terms, insists Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Dave Patterson. But that didn’t keep the girls basketball state finals from returning to Indianapolis in 2015 after a three-year stint with Terre Haute’s Hulman Center serving as the host venue.
TH South comes out swinging in softball opener
The combination of experience and talent has created great expectations, from both the fans and players, for the Terre Haute South High School softball team. The Braves displayed both Friday afternoon in an impressive 11-4 season-opening victory over host Southmont.
SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Big Four teams looking to build off strong 2013 seasons
Although any of the four would have liked more postseason success, the spring of 2013 was a good one for the Big Four high school softball teams. That’s good news.
Even better news for the three Vigo County teams is that very few seniors who contributed to that success are missing, and hopes are even higher this year.
Til it's over: Long wait finally over for first-year West Vigo baseball coach
My sincerest apology if I jinx it, but winter should be done now. This means, first and foremost, baseball season has arrived. It’s been a long winter for Culley DeGroote, in particular. He takes over the West Vigo program that his father Steve DeGroote built into a perennial winner.
Metro sports: Silver Crown field filling up for Action Track
More than a dozen drivers are scheduled to seek their initial U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown championship victory April 6 when the Sumar Classic is run at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Amey Takes Aim: Columnist’s boys basketball tradition continues
In marked contrast to my recent whiny column about girls basketball, I was blessed this winter to see virtually every high school team in the Wabash Valley during the boys season.
Some might suggest that was a mixed blessing, since a few of our teams weren’t as successful as they are used to being (particularly in the 2014 portion of the season), but the Tribune-Star was still involved with two teams that came within a game of the state finals, one of them in an Indiana final four (no capitalization anymore, new system) and two teams that were in the top eight of their class. That’s only three great teams — Paris was both a game away and in the final eight — but that’s still a pretty good haul.
- More High School Headlines
- West Vigo baseball wins in rout