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Nordics prevail over Norway 3-1 in prep volleyball season opener

(Matt McCarthy/The Daily News Photo) Norway’s Hanna Burklund (8) spikes the ball over the net, as North Dickinson’s Chrislyn Inglese (6) and Kassandra Cary (3) attempt to block the attack, as teammates Vanessa Lindholm (4) and Ashton Hord look on. Norway’s Mackenzie Clifford (2) and Hanna Anderson also look on.

By MATT “SWEETS” McCARTHY

Sports Writer

FELCH TOWNSHIP — In Skyline Central Conference volleyball action on Monday evening, North Dickinson hosted Norway as both teams opened up their seasons inside the Carl F. Lemin Jr. gymnasium. With strong and consistent serving throughout the majority of the match, the Nordics defeated Norway 3-1 (25-16, 18-25, 25-20, 25-12).

“We served well tonight, we had some aces, and placed our serves well,” said first-year Nordics coach Taylor Johnson. “I’d like to see our serving a little more consistent going forward, but I was happy with it overall.”

Johnson also noted that the team’s communication was very good tonight.

“This group of girls is very tight knit, they’ve been playing together for a long time, so they get along well on top of the good communication they had tonight,” she said.

The first set was back and forth, with neither team pulling away from the other on the scoreboard, by any significant margin. Each team had a couple of small two or three point runs. Until the last portion of the set, North Dickinson’s Ashton Hord, Eligh Stout and Kassandra Cary’s serving led the home team to a 25-16 win.

Set No. 2, Norway got behind by a half dozen points, and came back to tie the set at 12-12. Coming out of a Nordics timeout, Norway was dominant and steadily and collectively as a group, kept the lead and took the set 25-18.

“In the second match, our serving was great and we made less of the small mistakes,” said Norway head coach Erica Harnden. “The girls kept the lead once we got it in the second set, by playing with more confidence.”

Harnden noted that a couple of her players seemed to have some first game jitters. She also added that the extra little things that have been added to all the players, coaches and officials due to coronavirus precautions, may have certainly played a factor in the match, for both teams to start the season.

The Knights began the third set where they left off at the end of the second, with the lead. ND narrowed Norway’s lead, and eventually took the lead themselves. This set was the closest of the four, as far as the score. The Nordics serving strength showed in the end, as they pulled out a 25-20 set win.

“The girls played well together tonight, for the most part everyone had a role and gave great effort tonight. Our couple weeks of practice have been good as well. With only having nine players, I expect our cohesiveness will be great by the end of the season,” Harnden said.

In the fourth set, North Dickinson’s Isabella Reimer had the longest serving points run of the night, when she extended the Nordics lead to double digits, with a nine point run. ND took the set 25-12, ending the match.

Johnson added that she felt the Nordics middle hitters played well in Cary and sophomore Micah Lindholm. She also noted that Hord playing in the front row in the match was a first for her. Hord was the team’s libero last year, and had several kills on the evening, playing in a new position.

There was no JV game on the night due to Norway not fielding a JV team this season. North Dickinson (1-0, 1-0) returns to action tonight at Kingsford. A reminder, Kingsford is not allowing any spectators at the match tonight, or when Norway travels there on Sept. 10.

Norway returns home to host SCC foe Forest Park on Thursday night, the match will begin at 5 p.m.

For the rest of the upcoming season, Harnden said “The girls have shown up everyday with a great mindset and are willing to work hard. I’m really looking forward to this year.”

The Knights have six returning players from last year, five being seniors and have been in the program for this their fourth season. Olivia Stanchina, Mackenzie Clifford, Emma Anderson, Kassandra Kay and Cadeance Lindsley. Sophomore Hannah Burklund played the entire season on the varsity as a freshman in 2019.

“I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for our returning players. I think the first game or two with all the new protocols might be a little interesting but I have no doubt in my mind that we will all get the hang of it and we are just thrilled that we will be able to play due to the circumstances,” Harnden said.

Norway roster:

SENIOR: Olivia Stanchina, Mackenzie Clifford, Emma Anderson, Kassandra Kay, Cadeance Lindsley.

JUNIOR: Alexis Paris,

SOPH.: Hannah Burklund.

FRESHMAN: Kaylee Gunville, Victoria Cooper.

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