It had been an up-and-down start to the high school volleyball season for Terre Haute North entering Wednesday’s bout with Riverton Parke.
The Patriots’ record – 5-5 – said it all as they hadn’t been able to string together many victories in a row.
But after winning two of its three games at last weekend’s Ben Davis Invitational, North felt like it had started to find its footing a bit more, and that continued with a 3-0 sweep over the Panthers Wednesday night.
“We’ve been really trying to focus on communication and working together wholly as a team. That’s been our purpose in practice, and I think it’s starting to show,” said Terre Haute North assistant coach Kristen Mauer, who filled in for head coach Kelsey Patrick.
North got the evening off to a quality start, ripping off the first four points in the initial set and then 12 of the first 15 points to take a commanding advantage.
Senior Abigail Wright led the way during the first set, anchoring a front row that was quite impressive the entire night.
Wright had five blocks and two kills in the 25-17 first game win and 10 blocks and six kills overall for the match.
She, along with Erika Funkhouser (five kills and one ace), Ellie Staggs (four kills) and Ella Bell (five kills and one block) did their part in defending the net, as well as the high-velocity right-handed swing of Riverton Parke’s Katrina Cruser, who still managed to collect 14 kills.
“We have a lot of tall front row players, which is very good when you have big hitters like [Cruser],” Mauer said of the Patriot front row. “They did a good job of touching the ball and getting our defense set up.”
North, like in the first set, rattled off a long run to open the second and were in prime position to pick up a quick 2-0 lead.
But Riverton fought back to tie it at 16-16 before the Patriots ended the game on a 5-0 run to capture the all-important two-set edge.
Mauer said she noticed her team’s ability to combat the Panther rallies by getting back to communicating with one another, a step in the right direction with what they’ve been working hard on.
“There were times that they got quiet and that’s when Riverton Parke started coming back,” she said. “I was glad they were able to come out of that and not let the lead get bigger than a couple of points.”
The two went toe-to-toe throughout the third set with neither leading by more than four points at any given point, while also being tied seven separate times.
North, again though, was able to put it all together towards the end, winning 25-21 to complete the 3-0 sweep.
Despite falling in three games, Riverton Parke coach John Memmer knew his team held its own against the Patriots and were in position to potentially take one or two of them, but weren’t able to due to a few untimely miscues.
“We had moments where we made a lot of crucial mistakes, whether it was a passing mistake or a serve into the net, we just doomed ourselves,” he said. “In crucial moments where we could’ve closed out those games, we couldn’t achieve those moments, and that was our fault.”
Terre Haute North returns to action against Edgewood at home today, while Riverton Parke will visit Attica on Wednesday.
Terre Haute North=25=25=25
Highlights – Riverton Parke, Katrina Cruser led the way with 14 kills, 3 digs and 2 blocks. Amber Cruser added 9 assists, 2 aces, 2 blocks, 2 kills and 1 block, while Lindsey Sowers had 4 kills and 1 block. For Terre Haute North, Abigail Wright led the way with 10 blocks, 7 kills and 1 dig. Madi Halls added 9 assists, 5 aces and 5 kills, while Ella Bell and Erika Funkhouser each had 5 kills.
JV – Terre Haute North won 25-20, 25-18.
Next – Terre Haute North (6-5) hosts Edgewood Thursday. Riverton Parke (3-3) visit Attica Wednesday.