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Knights silence Rockets, 3-0

Justin St. Ours | Escanaba Daily Press Norway’s Olivia Stanchina (1) spikes the ball past Rapid River’s Gabby Moss (16) Tuesday at Rapid River. Looking on for Norway is Emma Anderson (5).

By Justin St. Ours

For The Daily News

RAPID RIVER — The Norway volleyball team took advantage of disjointed play from the Rapid River Rockets here Tuesday to earn a straight-set victory (25-20, 25-21, 25-16) in the Skyline Central Conference.

The first two sets hinted at the Rockets’ ability, but they couldn’t become cohesive enough to capitalize on it.

After hanging with the Knights at the beginning of the first set, a Rapid River lift marked a 12-7 Norway advantage. The Rockets (2-2) added two as Knights’ balls went wide, but a short run — including an ace from Cadeance Lindsley — pushed Norway out ahead 16-9.

“There were two balls that dropped tonight that no one touched — and we’ll be talking about those in practice — but overall, the communication and just them moving, in general, to get to the balls (was great),” Knights coach Ericka Harnden said. “I was very impressed with them tonight.”

Rapid River found some synchronization as they took advantage of Knights’ missteps to reduce its deficit to 18-15.

This primed the Rockets for a short run — where Cecilia Pilon and Addie Christoff added to their kill counts — to move them within one, 20-19.

However, a Norway timeout disrupted the momentum, and the Knights added four quick points to make it 24-19 and seal the set.

“We struggled to show up tonight,” Rockets coach Kristy Kerstner said. “There were too many forced errors on us.”

Rapid River took the lead briefly at the start of the second, but a five-point, Norway run put it back out in front 12-8.

“It’s adjusting,” Harnden said. “They get used to one thing. They get used to tipping, and that’s where they want to stay. They kind of get stuck on their feet. When they start hitting, they have to back off, and it’s kind of the adjustment in between (that was the issue). We’ve been working on it. They are getting better at it.”

The two teams traded points with the Knights edging the Rockets out to lead 22-14.

After a Norway serve landed out of bounds, Rapid River showed another flash of ability and Kathleen Hickman strung together a short run, along with some aces, to reduce its deficit to 22-19.

The Rockets were their own worst enemy as the final three points Norway needed came from errors, capped with a serve into the net to seal the set for the Knights.

The Knights took control in the third set on the back of aces and kills from Lindsley, Olivia Stanchina and Kasse Kay.

“Hannah Burklund, our libero, did an excellent job tonight covering, and I don’t even know how many digs she had,” Harnden said. “She did an amazing job digging whether she was behind them covering the net or in the back. She did excellent.”

Rapid River struggled in the third, giving away seven points on serving errors alone.

Norway visits Stephenson on Thursday.

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