Fairfield Christian’s volleyball team overcame its own struggles Tuesday to advance in the postseason.
The Knights hammered visiting Northside Christian in two sets and held onto a lead in another for a 25-11, 18-25, 25-11, 25-20 win in a Division IV first-round district tournament game. The Knights play at 6 p.m. Thursday at Granville Christian in the second round.
“It was a slow-paced game, a little frustrating,” sophomore Madison Doolittle said. “We weren’t communicating (well), but I’m glad we won so we can advance.”
The Knights (10-13) dominated the first and third sets with solid play. They won the first five points of the first to set the pace and remained in control. In the third set, the Knights built another large lead, as the Lions often scrambled just to return the ball.
In the middle, however, Fairfield Christian struggled. Northside Christian’s 8-0 run to start the second set put the Knight in a hole. They worked back into the match and were twice within three points, but the Lions put the set away to the dismay of FCA coach Mary Beth Dewese.
“They were a little too confident. I had to get them back on track,” Dewese said. “Service errors, attacking errors — we just can’t afford errors.”
Dewese tallied 14 serve receive errors and 21 attacking miscues for her team for the match. Both of those numbers were way too high, she said.
“They got too confident and lackadaisical and just started creating errors,” Dewese said. “I’m guessing a majority of these errors came in that second set.”
Still, the Knights rebounded from the second set to dominate the third and cling to the win in the fourth. The Lions came back after FCA opened a 10-2 lead, but the Knights went to Doolittle and Lindsey Beatty on the attack.
The pair of sophomores did not disappoint, as they combined for 26 kills. Lyndsay Noland added 31 assists, and Katie King served eight aces for the Knights.
“We just had to kind of like pump each other up and get going,” Doolittle said. “Once we started scoring points, we kind of got on a roll.”
The Knights dropped both their matches to Granville Christian this season.
Dewese said the Knights have to limit the mistakes they made Tuesday to stand any chance of winning, but she also added it’s difficult for one team to beat another three times in a season.
Facing Granville Christian again is a similar scenario for the Knights. Delaware Christian beat FCA twice in the regular season last year before the Knights exacted some revenge with a tournament win. FCA is hoping to do the same Thursday.
“I’m really excited,” Doolittle said.
“I really want to win and keep going. I have a feeling we’ll get them this time. I hope so. I really want to.”