North Union’s Journey Blevins blasts a hit over the net as an Indian Laker blocker attempts to get her hands on the shot. Blevins tallied 24 kills during the Lady Cats’ 3-0 sweep of the Lakers to remain in a tie for first place in the Central Buckeye Conference.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
North Union’s volleyball squad took another step closer toward a Central Buckeye Conference championship on Tuesday.
NU remains tied at the top of the standings with Benjamin Logan after a 3-0 victory over Indian Lake.
“It (the CBC title) is a goal of ours and it is definitely pushing us to play better,” said coach Peg Curts. “The girls want those numerals up there on that banner that has hung in the gym for too long and which has been blank.”
The Lady Cats started set one with winning on their minds.
They showed that winning spirit with strong net play from Journey Blevins, Lissie Michael, Kaitlin O’Conners and Grace Brandt.
The quartet was able to keep the Lady Lakers at bay with solid blocking while crushing the ball over the net.
The front line was aided by setter Josie Duncan to take a set one win by the score of 25-9.
“One of the great strengths of our team is that we have multiple different hitters,” said Curts. “We are not relying on just one hitter to carry the whole team.
“If they shut one down, we can put our sets in different positions and ultimately come up with those kills.”
Indian Lake kept pace with NU in the first few points of the second game.
O’Conners, though, put several good serves over the net for a 7-4 NU lead.
That margin quickly jumped to 20-10 as Michael began showcasing the power that eventually led to 18 kills.
Brandt came up with a big block that helped win the set, 25-10.
The Lady Cats maintained their consistency in set three as they jumped out to an early 13-2 lead on Blevins’ front-line play.
She tipped, blasted and hit the ball over the net with enough success for 24 kills.
That success continued throughout the match for the Lady Cats as they kept the score climbing in their directions.
Brandt came through again with a solid block for the final set point and a 25-8 triumph. She also have five blocks in the match.
“That (consistent play) is what the girls are focused on right now, especially over the last few games,” said Curts. “The fact is that we play really well for the first and second set and then we kind of relax.
“We wanted to make sure that we stayed explosive in that third set.”
The win puts the Lady Cats (8-1) in a tie for first place in the Mad River Division of the CBC with Benjamin Logan, also 8-1.
The Raiders moved past Graham 3-1 on Tuesday to collect their eighth victory.
NU and Ben Logan each have a game remaining in the CBC with the Lady Cats taking on Urbana and the Raiders playing Indian Lake on Thursday at 7 p.m.
North Union also received their seed for the post season on Sunday where they landed in ninth. They will host the 15th seeded East Knox Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Curts said she doesn’t know much about the Lady Bulldogs, but is doing her homework.
“I’m trying to gather some information by reaching out to other coaches,” she said. “East Knox plays in the Knox-Morrow County league, so I still have some contacts from my MOAC (Mid Ohio Athletic Conference) days.”
Even with the limited knowledge, Curts believes her Lady Cats are ready for any challenge.
“I like going in not playing our opponent before,” she said. “The girls don’t have any preconceived notions, so we’re going in and will play as hard as we can play.”
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