Morris Knolls girls volleyball soars into second round

Morris Knolls girls volleyball soars into second round

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Morris Knolls girls volleyball soars into second round

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DENVILLE

Brianna Mott came into Morris Knolls’ NJSIAA Group III opening-round match against Mount Olive with “a new perspective.”

These teams had already played a pair of NJAC-American regular-season matches. But the feeling was different on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re not guaranteed any game from here on out,” Mott said, shortly after the Golden Eagles’ 25-15-25-21 victory. “We came out harder and stronger and with more desire to move on.”

Morris Knolls, the No. 13 seed, will visit fourth-seeded Pascack Valley on Friday afternoon. The host Golden Eagles soared through the first game behind a balanced offensive attack. The 20th-seeded Marauders, meanwhile, were tentative and made uncharacteristic errors.

Senior setter Caylee Horohoe opened the second game with an ace, and the Golden Eagles were off again. After an ace by sophomore Caroline Sceurman, Mount Olive coach Lee Clowers called a timeout and exhorted his players to show some hustle and heart. Earning a sideout on a Morris Knolls error, Marauders setter Sydney Summerville had a solid run at the service line.

Summerville put up back to back aces, and Mount Olive junior Katie Murray had consecutive kills to tie the second game at 10-10. Summerville finished with four aces, two kills, a block five digs and three assists. Junior Meghan Masotti added a kill, four digs and six assists as the Marauders pulled as close as two points at 23-21 late in the second game.

“It’s the last game, and I don’t think anybody wanted to leave each other yet,” said Marauders senior Alicia Warren, a sparkplug off the bench with two kills, eight digs and an assist. “We were all pretty pumped up. We could’ve given a little bit more, but we fought back at the end.”

Morris Knolls sophomore Marlena Todd tipped the final point, one of her seven kills. Mott added six kills. Senior Erin Bongo led the Golden Eagles with 10 kills and two aces.

Morris Knolls made just five total errors in the first game — three hitting and two on serve — and seven in the second, a highlight for Mott which also drew praise from head coach Dave DeNure. DeNure noted that the Golden Eagles had played one of the best matches of the season to defeat Mount Olive on Sept. 18, and they also had a more modulated road victory three weeks ago.

“We were focused and determined to win,” Todd said. “We were loud, talking, full of energy. All of us were in a good state of mind. We played confidently, with a good mentality.”

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