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
North girls, South boys win in county track rivalries
Terre Haute North’s girls team rested a bunch of its standouts but still managed to outpoint host Terre Haute South 69-63.
Meanwhile, the South boys benefited from the return of long-distance ace Jackson Bertoli to defeat the Patriots 86-45 in their annual high school track meet Thursday evening.
North baseball wins at McCutcheon; Vikings win
Zach Milam went 3-for-4 and Brett Herndon was 2-for-3 as Terre Haute North defeated McCutcheon 3-1 on Thursday in a game played at Purdue University.
Prep roundup: Bennett, Edwards boost W.Vigo baseball
Derrick Bennett went 2 for 4 and clouted a two-run homer in the sixth inning and Zach Edwards chalked up his first varsity pitching victory and also went 2 for 4 to help West Vigo defeat visiting Paris, Ill., 11-5 in high school baseball Wednesday evening.
Western Indiana Conference to expand to 12 schools
The long-rumored merger between the Western Indiana Conference and the five remaining high schools in the West Central Conference has become reality.
Late last week, the seven WIC principals and five WCC principals voted 12-0 to approve the new alignment.
“We now have 12 schools in the WIC,” proclaimed outgoing Sullivan principal David Springer, who’s serving as WIC president for the 2013-14 school year.
Busy Patriots get past Casey 7-1 in prep softball
Terre Haute North began a busy week of high school softball Tuesday, defeating Casey 7-1 at North.
The Patriots now are 6-3 and will take on Clay City, ranked second in the Class A poll, on Thursday in another home game.
PREP ROUNDUP: West Vigo baseball, softball pick up WIC victories
West Vigo won its Western Indiana Conference high school baseball opener at South Vermillion, scoring two seventh-inning runs and holding off a Wildcats’ rally.
Wabash Valley high school basketball players of the year: Their career numbers tell only part of the story
One of the prouder people in east-central Illinois, as the Tribune-Star awards its 2013-2014 high school basketball Player of the Year awards, is probably Barry Wolfe.
Vikings open busy week with victory
West Vigo defeated Shakamak 13-9 in a high school softball game played in cool, rainy conditions Monday evening at West Vigo.
Prep roundup: Yeryar's five hits lift Shakamak
Brett Yeryar went 5 for 5 with two doubles and drove in six runs to lead Shakamak to a 18-4 high school baseball victory Monday at North Central.
Terre Haute track and field athletes shine at Patriot Invitational
The Terre Haute North and Brown County girls and boys came out winners Saturday in the Patriot Invitational Track and Field Meet at Terre Haute North High School.
Prep roundup: North girls tennis beats ranked teams
Terre Haute North knocked off two state-ranked teams — No. 12 Fort Wayne Canterbury and No. 13 Delta — on its way to capturing the Delta Invitational championship for girls high school tennis Saturday.
Herrin's pitching effort leads South to win over Northview
When two good high school baseball teams get together, each using one of its better pitchers, the margin for error figures to be slim, and some defensive plays that weren’t made were the difference Friday evening as Terre Haute South beat Northview 7-1.
Stout home run sparks South softball at Sullivan
Terre Haute South junior Mariah Stout made her father proud and helped her team win its eighth game of the season at the same time Friday evening.
With the previously flat-looking Braves trailing host Sullivan 1-0 with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the second inning, Stout woke up her dugout mates by hammering a McKenzie Pirtle pitch over the fence in left-center field for a score-tying home run.
Terre Haute North baseball cruises past Warren Central
Terre Haute North swept a high school baseball doubleheader against Warren Central on Friday night by scores of 14-1 and 10-4.
PREP ROUNDUP: Sollars, Morrison lead West Vigo softball to win
Kaitlyn Sollars had a double, triple and four runs batted in and winning pitcher Leah Morrison contributed a pair of triples and a double to lead visiting West Vigo over Riverton Parke 14-1 in high school softball.
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.
- More High School Headlines
- North girls, South boys win in county track rivalries