Volleyball weekend: Norse defeat Green Bay, Milwaukee

NKU women’s volleyball team won their Horizon League opener at home against Green Bay on Friday and won over Milwaukee on Saturday. The Norse are 2-0 with eight consecutive wins, tying their winning record.

NKU 3, Green Bay 1

The Norse were led in kills by freshman Anna Brinkmann who racked up 20 kills throughout the game.  Miranda Wucherer, who had 34 assists, and Ashton Terrill, who had 32 digs, led the Norse defense.

The first set of the game started with Green Bay in a 5-1 advantage. The Norse fought back going on a 19-5 point stretch. The Phoenix continued to fight back to get 18 points, but that’s as far as they got in the Norse’s 25-18 win.

The Norse started the second set off with the same momentum as the first game.  The Phoenix were able to go on a five point run that put them in the lead at 11-10.  The Norse were up at 24-23, but three straight kills from Taylor Wolf led to Green Bay’s 26-24 win.

The Norse came back from the second set and quickly gained a 5-0 lead over the Phoenix. They maintained this lead to gain an even further lead of 16-5 after Haley Libs went on a serving run and Brinkmann had a pair of kills. The set ended with a 25-18 win for NKU.

The final set started off a little rocky for the Norse, but once the game was tied 6-6, they took over.  A 4-0 run for the Norse put them at match point, and a hitting error from the Phoenix gave the Norse their 25-16 win. The Norse beat the Phoenix 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-18, 25-16).

Friday’s match was the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Game, which raised money for children battling cancer.

“It was really important to our team to be able to be involved in that Pediatric Cancer Organization and to be able to raise money for them,” head coach Liz Hart said.

This is a cause that is dear to senior Libs’ heart.

“It was awesome to support a cause like that and to see all the student athletes come out in the gold, and we got to wear the shoelaces which was also awesome. I believe we raised a lot of money, so I’m really proud of what we did,” Libs said.

Sophomore Bailey Western said she thought this cause helped motivate players to compete at the top of their game.

“We came out with a lot of energy because of this,” Western said.

“We’re ready to go,” Libs said. “I think we needed this as a confidence boost to prove what we’re capable of, so now that we have the mindset we can play at, the sky’s the limit.”

NKU 3, Milwaukee 0

NKU women’s volleyball team took home a 3-0 win against Milwaukee in their second game of Horizon League play on Saturday with scores of 25-17, 25-23 and 26-24.  The victory made it eight consecutive wins for the Norse, tying their current record.

“One thing I’m really excited about this team is every Monday actually get better. We put things that we want to work on for the week. This past week they worked really hard to improve on those things and to use it for prep for these two teams this weekend, so it’s nice to go 2-0,” Hart said Saturday.

The Norse started off strong during the first set of the game with five kills each from Libs and Laura Crawford, while Terrill led the defense with seven digs. The Norse earned a total of 19 points off of kills. The end score for the set was 25-17.

The second set of the match was a nail-biter by the end of the set. The Panthers were able to tie the score at 17-17 and from there the score was a give-and-take between the two teams. NKU eventually pulled through and ended the game at 25-23.

The third set was another nail-biter. The Norse started to trail behind at the 14-17 mark. By the 17-21 mark, Hart used her last timeout of the match.

“We got back on the court and we were like we are not losing to this team,” sophomore Terrill said after the last timeout. “We’re way better and we need to show what team we really are.” This mindset paid off as the Norse were able to close the gap to 22-23. From there, the Norse went on a 4-1 run. A block from Western got the Norse to match point and a kill from Libs finished the set at 26-24.

The Norse will be on the road again Sept. 28 in their third Horizon League match against Cleveland State University at 6:00 p.m.

“We definitely have a lot to work on, but I think 2-0 at home this weekend will give us the confidence to keep going,” Natalie Harding said.