FOUNTAIN CITY, Ind.
Northeastern did a little bit of everything.
The Knights got ahead and stayed ahead. They rallied when needed. And when Thursday’s match with Centerville became nip-and-tuck near the end, they pulled ahead for a volleyball sweep of their Tri-Eastern Conference rival.
“We all have learned to work as a team,” said Northeastern senior Kristian Ketron after the 25-11, 25-17, 25-23 victory. “It finally all came together after all these years.”
The Knights have come together enough to raise their season record to 16-3.
They are also now 3-1 in the TEC after Thursday’s win, which started out as all Northeastern.
The Knights surged to a 10-1 lead and never looked back in Game 1.
“We played really hard because we wanted it to be a big win,” said Kerri Kircher, whose nine kills led Northeastern.
” … Right now, we keep each other up, which is a big game-changer for us. We’re good power hitters and blockers, and when we get that good pass right to the setter and get that good, quick kill, it’s good for us.”
That happened often Thursday night.
Cierra Guenther and Ketron each had eight kills for the Knights, while Ketron added seven digs and four aces.
Sarah Scotten finished with 19 assists and three aces, Michaela Barker had eight digs and Ashley McDaniel contributed six digs.
“These kids have played consistent all year, whether they get ahead big or they get behind,” said Northeastern coach Jerry Middleton. “It doesn’t matter. They play ball.”
Centerville took leads in both Games 2 and 3, but each time Northeastern charged back.
Jordan Vanwinkle led Centerville’s effort with seven kills, Alexis Cox had 16 assists and Sarah Stelle four kills.
“They showed heart in the end,” Centerville coach Melissa Spurlock said of her squad. “We’re still young. They were senior heavy.”
Guenther, Ketron, Kircher, Scotten and Ashleigh Reece are the seniors on Northeastern’s roster.
The Knights showed determination in denying the Bulldogs a shot at extending the match. Centerville led for much of Game 3, but the Knights turned away a 23-21 deficit to score four straight points — three served by Guenther — to clinch the victory.
“We had a lot of drive,” Ketron said.
Northeastern takes that drive into Saturday’s Brebeuf Invitational. Both the Knights and Bulldogs (9-13) will also participate in the Wayne County Tournament at Hagerstown on Sept. 29.
“It’s a learning experience,” Middleton said. “We’re playing good teams and learning to play hard.”