Tro­jans are rolling

North Park beats As­sump­tion for sec­ond straight win in se­nior girls vol­ley­ball

The Expositor (Brantford) - - SPORTS - BRIAN SMI­LEY EXPOSITOR STAFF bsmi­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/expb­smi­ley

North Park Col­le­giate’s se­nior girls vol­ley­ball team is start­ing to roll.

Fol­low­ing a sea­son-open­ing loss last week, the Tro­jans have reeled off two straight wins in Brant County high school ac­tion, in­clud­ing a 19-25, 25-19, 25-20, 22-25 and 15-8 vic­tory at As­sump­tion Col­lege on Thurs­day against the Lions.

“It’s al­ways tough when you lose the first one,” NPC cap­tain Noelle Adams said of drop­ping the open­ing set in the Thurs­day’s match. “It felt so good to win.” North Park started its sea­son with a loss to de­fend­ing cham­pion Paris but has now posted wins against St. John’s Col­lege and As­sump­tion.

Adams, a fifth-year player, is one of the lead­ers of a group that in­cludes six vet­er­ans and six rook­ies.

“I’ve known them all for a while, es­pe­cially some of the girls who play bas­ket­ball to­gether,” she said. “It’s like a fam­ily. “It’s al­ways a chal­lenge at the start of the sea­son but, even in the first week, we’ve had crazy im­prove­ment.”

Adams said that Paris will be tough to de­throne.

“We lost in three,” she said of the first game the teams played. “I think we def­i­nitely could have taken one or two (sets).

“They’ll be a chal­lenge for sure.”

Serv­ing was a bit of an is­sue for both sides at the start of Thurs­day’s game but, fol­low­ing a Bella Restelli hit for ACS, the two teams got rolling.

With Lau­ren Coul­ter on the line, As­sump­tion moved into a 9-4 lead that didn’t last long be­cause North Park’s Erin McKenna took over from her team’s ser­vice line, get­ting the Tro­jans back to within one at 9-8.

After briefly hold­ing the lead at 14-12, North Park fell be­hind and As­sump­tion be­gan to ex­ert con­trol. With Leah Quinn and Restelli do­ing great work at the net, ACS went ahead 15-14 and never looked back on its way to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five match.

Fall­ing be­hind 3-0 in the sec­ond set, Madyson Smith helped North Park storm back into a 4-3 lead as she matched and sur­passed Char­lotte La­pointe’s start­ing run from the ser­vice line for the Lions.

The game see-sawed from there. But, on a Can­dace Rees re­turn off of a Restelli hit, the Tro­jans took a 10-8 ad­van­tage.

Later, with Smith on the line, NPC went up 20-11 and were well on their way to evening the match at 1-1.

Find­ing them­selves down 4-0 early in the sec­ond set, the Lions were go­ing the wrong way in a hurry. How­ever, fol­low­ing a fine run from the line by Ni­cole Pu­rifi­cati, As­sump­tion found it­self out in front 9-4.

Trail­ing 20-16, North Park was in dan­ger of fall­ing be­hind in the match but, once McKenna was done with some dy­na­mite serves, the deficit had been erased and the Tro­jans were ahead 2-1 in the game.

Into the fourth set, the hits in the match had been a quiet – un­til Restelli smashed one to put the Lions up 13-10. And, al­though NPC’s Avery Ket­tlewell put a late scare into As­sump­tion with a great ser­vice run, the Lions were able to hold on to send the game to a fifth set.

When the two teams switched sides on the court in the de­cid­ing set, North Park led 8-4. The Tro­jans didn’t let up after that as they scored the win.

With the loss, the Lions now find them­selves win­less in three matches but the team’s coaches praised their play­ers.

“Tonight they played well,” said coach Rae Fer­rac­ci­oli.

“They haven’t jelled as a team. We have a few ju­niors who are play­ing se­nior and it’s kind of been a split.

“The first two games they didn’t com­mu­ni­cate well.”

The coach said the team’s co­he­sion will de­velop.

“We’ve al­ready seen big im­prove­ments,” coach Re­nee Zareski noted.

“They stepped it up in this game a lot.”

BRIAN THOMP­SON/THE EXPOSITOR

Bella Restelli (left) of As­sump­tion Col­lege blocks a spike by Erin McKenna of North Park Col­le­giate dur­ing a se­nior high school girls vol­ley­ball game on Thurs­day.

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