Northview’s record-setting high school volleyball season is rolling into the semistate on the strength of an impressive regional victory Tuesday night at Shelbyville.
Northview overwhelmed Shelbyville 3-0 before a boisterous crowd of Knights fans and a stunned group of Golden Bears supporters.
Now 34-3, Northview will play the winner of the Brebeuf-Western Boone match at 11 a.m. Saturday in the opening match of the Class 3A Edgewood Semistate.
“[The semistate berth] means the world to our team, it means the world to our coach, it means the world to our fans. We have a great support system so we are just glad that we could bring this out and give it to them and show everybody what we’re made of,” senior Shelbi Morris said.
Northview dominated play at the net and even the service line. The Knights served 11 aces en route to the 25-14, 25-12, 25-18 win. Morgan Stearley had four aces, Kenzi Kumpf and Madison McDonald three each and Taylor Hess one.
“We pride ourselves on being able to serve aggressive. We were able to hit every zone we wanted. Our goal was to stay away from their libero [Hailey Knecht] and we did that tonight and we were able to put them out of system,” McDonald said.
Hess, the setter, passed out 27 assists, getting kills from no less than five hitters at the net. Morris led the Knights with 12 kills, Kumpf had eight, Stearley six, McDonald four and Mikayla Rowan three plus three blocks.
“We have an amazing offense. We’re very blessed that our whole front row, we can depend on anyone,” Morris said.
Coach Scott McDonald was not the least bit surprised the Knights swept a home team at the regional level of the tournament.
“We had a plan that we had put together Saturday for what we were going to do and the weaknesses we could expose on them. I believe 100 percent in my kids and they produced tonight. I expected to win in three,” he said.
Northview’s victory was never in doubt.
The Knights tied Game 1 at 3-3 on a Kumpf kill, took the lead on a sideout and took command with a Kumpf kill and back-to-back aces for an 18-11 lead. Shelbyville gave away two points in the closing moments with service faults.
Morris put the Knights ahead for good at 3-2 in Game 2. Stearley served consecutive aces to give Northview a 10-3 lead and a block by Rowan put the Knights on top 14-6. Hess, normally a passer, put down a kill to give the Knights a 19-10 lead. Another Shelbyville service fault ended the game.
Northview came out a little flat in Game 3 and Shelbyville took an early 5-2 lead.
But the Knights regained control when Ashley Heck made a diving dig and Morris put the recovery down for a kill that tied the score 6-6. The Knights took the lead for good at 8-7, followed by a cross-court spike and tip on back-to-back plays by Kumpf and a block at the net by Rowan to give Northview an 11-7 lead and all the momentum.
“Even in the first game, Ashley Heck got a tremendous one-arm dig. I thought the ball was on the ground. She and Audrey [Clark] were fantastic tonight. They refused to let a ball hit the floor,” coach McDonald said.
Shelbyville closed within three, 16-13, but the net play of Stearley, Kumpf and Morris kept Northview on track. Madison McDonald delivered two aces in a row that gave the Knights a 22-17 lead.
“[The girls] just did phenomenal. They did everything I ask them [to do] and just the fact we were able to put a game plan together, put it in motion and make it work is just a great feeling,” coach McDonald said.
Northview 25 25 25
Shelbyville 14 12 18
Highlights — For Northview, Shelbi Morris had 12 kills; Kenzi Kumpf 8 kills, 3 aces and 7 digs; Morgan Stearley 6 kills and 4 aces; and Taylor Hess 27 assists. Also, Audrey Clark and Ashley Heck each came up with 5 digs.
Next — Northview (34-3) plays the winner of the Brebeuf-Western Boone match at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Edgewood Semistate. Shelbyville finished 16-19.