Northview’s volleyball team set a new standard for success in its program in 2013.
While winning a school-record 34 matches, the Knights won the Western Indiana Conference plus sectional and regional championships in their first season in Class 3A.
The Knights would have liked a shot at the semistate crown, but Brebeuf was just too good Saturday morning. The Braves swept Northview 3-0 in the opening match of the Edgewood Semistate.
The 25-23, 25-19, 25-12 loss ended the record-setting careers of Northview seniors Audrey Clark, Emily Pollard, Lindsey Potter and Shelbi Morris. Clark and Morris finished with 114 career wins.
“We set a school record for wins, we win a regional. They put Northview volleyball on the map,” Northview coach Scott McDonald said.
Morris led the Knights’ net game with eight kills, two blocks and 10 digs, while junior Kenzi Kumpf had seven kills and one block and sophomores Morgan Stearley and Madison McDonald each had six kills. McDonald also served four aces.
Quarterbacking Northview’s 30-kill match, junior setter Taylor Hess not only passed out 22 assists but also came up with 11 digs.
The Knights simply didn’t have an answer for Brebeuf’s Sierra Witham, a powerful a 6-foot outside hitter. They knew about Witham, but couldn’t stop her 18 kills and three blocks.
“[Witham’s] good. She hits the ball well. We just didn’t get enough touches at the net. We knew where they were going and we were just late almost every time. Our block just wasn’t where it should have been and that was the difference,” coach McDonald said.
The Knights also had some unusual problems receiving the serve, which hurt their offense.
“[The Braves] floated [their serves] well. The ball had good movement. [They] had some power behind it. We didn’t pass consistent enough to be successful. When we passed well, we could score and we could dictate what we were doing,” McDonald said.
Kills by Stearley, Morris and an ace by Kumpf got Northview off to a 3-0 start in the first game. McDonald served two of her four aces for the match to give the Knights a 6-1 lead.
But Brebeuf went on a 9-4 run that tied the score 10-10. The Braves stretched the lead to 20-13 before a block by Hess got the Knights back on track.
“Early in the game, we were in system, we had the lead. Then we have a breakdown for a while. Then we got ourselves back into it with a good serve-receive,” coach McDonald said.
Getting digs and net play from everyone on the court, the Knights closed within one, 24-23, before the Braves scored the final point.
Brebeuf led Game 2 from start to finish, and Northview put up a fight early in Game 3.
The Knights took a 5-2 lead with two kills from Stearley and a McDonald ace. But at that point, the Braves put together a 7-0 run — powered by three Witham kills — to take a 9-5 lead.
“We lose the first game 25-23, we’re right there. There was nothing psychological about it. We were confident we could compete with them and did in two [games]. The third [game], we just ran out of gas and started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, for lack of better terms,” McDonald said.
Northview 23 19 12
Brebeuf 25 25 25
Highlights — For Northview, Shelbi Morris had 8 kills, 2 blocks, 10 digs and 2 assists; Kenzi Kumpf 7 kills, a block, 2 digs and 2 aces; Madison McDonald 6 kills, 4 aces, 3 digs and an assist; Morgan Stearley 6 kills, a block and 3 digs; Taylor Hess 22 assists and 11 digs; Audrey Clark 9 digs; and Mikayla Rowan 3 kills and a dig.
Record — Northview finished 34-4.