If you’re counting on statistics to tell the story of high school volleyball, the Western Indiana Conference match at Northview against visiting Sullivan on Thursday evening wasn’t the place to be.
Since the host Knights had just 11 digs in their 25-10, 25-13, 25-6 win, you might figure they didn’t have a very good defensive game, when that was hardly the case.
Because the Golden Arrows got 11 of their 29 points off missed serves by the Knights, you could assume that Northview had a poor serving night, when nothing could be further from the truth.
And after the home team recorded 43 kills to just three for the visitors, you might think they were hitting the ball well … OK, at least one of the stats told an accurate story.
It was not exactly a high-pressure match for the Knights, who were giddy from the pregame ceremonies honoring seniors Audrey Clark and Shelbi Morris for joining the 100-win club — apparently the freshman picture of the two of them was kind of a hoot — and who never really got the smiles off their faces.
They played fast and loose, they substituted liberally, they dove for everything and — to the astonishment of many — coach Scott McDonald even gave back a point with a self-called violation against his team.
“First time ever,” he acknowledged afterward. “There was no reason to try to steal a point … a dominant performance.”
From the Sullivan perspective, coach Sue Chagnon was happy with the 39 digs her own team got, because that was a marked improvement over some earlier games for the Arrows.
“We only have two girls with [previous] varsity experience, so we knew it would be a real learning year for all these girls,” she said, “but every match we’ve played, we’ve grown.”
The Knights quickly raced to a 14-3 lead in the first game, Morris opening it up with a five-point service run that included three kills by Kenzi Kumpf. Sullivan had a 5-2 run to creep within 19-9, Tori Stamper getting an ace, but a kill by Madison McDonald set up her game-ending four-point run.
Sullivan stayed within 10-6 in the second game, but then Northview had a 9-3 run. The Arrows regrouped to get within 22-13, but Taylor Hess served out the match from there, ending it with an ace.
“We worked on being aggressive with our serve,” said coach McDonald, happy to shrug off a few errors, “and that worked tonight. We kind of determined whast [the Arrows] were going to do with our serve.”
Then, to put the icing on the cake, Kumpf started the third game with a 9-0 service run that included aces to four different spots on the court.
The variety of location was not an accident. Misdirection is Kumpf’s game, both serving and hitting, and her 11 kills for the match came off her hand in several different ways and traveled in many directions, from a host of angles.
“It has to be pretty hard [to read my hits],” said Kumpf, who practices her style diligently in pregame warmup. “My coaches have always taught me to use my shots. The angles are what I’ve always been known for.”
Kumpf, a junior, is not yet a member of the Knights’ 100-win club that Clark and Morris joined recently, but she’ll almost certainly get there.
“Not a lot,” she answered when asked how many more wins she needed to do so. “Me, MiKayla [Rowan] and Taylor [Hess] are all pretty close. We could almost make it by the end of this season.”
Morris, the hammer to Kumpf’s stiletto in the Northview attack, and the dainty Clark, another in the long line of Northview defensive specialists, became the 10th and 11th members of a club that didn’t exist until a few years ago. Morris had a match-high 12 kills and Clark had three digs for the other misleading stat: someone has to hit the ball to you for you to record a dig.
“I love them both,” Kumpf said of her teammates. “I’ve played with them since we were all very little, and they’re really great people to play with and to be around.”
Sullivan 10 13 6
Northview 25 25 25
Highlights — For Northview, Taylor Hess had 33 assists, 2 kills, 2 digs, 7 points and 2 aces; Kenzi Kumpf 11 kills, a dig, 14 points and 4 aces; Madison McDonald 9 kills, 2 digs, an assist, 9 points and 3 aces; Shelbi Morris 12 kills, an assist, 7 points and 2 aces; Morgan Stearley 7 kills, 3 blocks, 4 points and an ace; Ashley Heck 2 digs, 2 assists, 3 points and an ace; Kerstie Shaw 6 points and 2 aces; Lindsey Potter 4 assists; Audrey Clark 3 digs; MiKayla Rowan 2 kills and Emily Pollard a dig.
For Sullivan, Abigail Hornback had 13 digs, 2 kills and a point; Tori Stamper 10 digs, 2 points and an ace; Ashley Durall 5 digs, a kill, a point and an ace; Kathryn Gilbert 2 assists and 2 digs; Sam Vernelson 3 digs; Cierra McCammon 2 digs and an assist; Presley Vaught and Skye Dillingham 2 digs each; and Hallie Durall a point.
JV — Northview won 25-17, 25-9.
Next — Sullivan (4-7, 0-2 WIC) plays tonight at Brown County. Northview (14-2, 2-0) hosts West Vigo on Monday.