Vikings sweep Warriors

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Northwood-Kensett's Hattie Davidson digs the ball Tuesday against Rockford in the Class 1A Region 6 quarterfinals at Northwood. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Northwood-Kensett’s Hattie Davidson digs the ball Tuesday against Rockford in the Class 1A Region 6 quarterfinals at Northwood. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

NORTHWOOD — Behind an offensive attack that spread 32 kills around to six hitters, the Northwood-Kensett volleyball team beat Rockford for the fourth time this season.

Hattie Davidson and Terran Haberman combined for 19 kills to keep the Warriors off-balance, and the Vikings advanced with a 3-0 sweep Tuesday in the Class 1A Region 6 quarterfinals at Northwood.

Game scores were 25-14, 25-19 and 25-8.

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“I am very confident in the depth on this team,” said Northwood-Kensett coach Heather Rheingans. “We can go to any one player, and I know that they will be an effective and efficient hitter.”

Along with establishing multiple offensive threats, Rheingans was pleased with the decisions her front-line players made to either hammer the ball between defenders or to tip it over using finesse.

“We’ve been working a lot on being smart hitters in practice,” she said. “It’s not always about brute strength at the net. It’s about being a smart player and knowing where the holes are.”

In Game 1, Haberman scored the game-winning point on a tip.

Aliyah Creger led the Vikings with 25 of the team’s 30 assists.

“She’s worked really hard this season, and I appreciate it a lot,” Haberman said about Creger. “It’s helped me improve with my hitting.”

In Game 2, Rockford (14-15 overall) trailed 15-14 before Northwood-Kensett (18-8 overall) pulled away behind the serving of Shelby Low, who was 12 of 14 from the service line with a team-high four aces.

The Vikings jumped to an 11-1 lead in Game 3 and didn’t look back.

In addition to her team-high 10 kills, Davidson led Northwood-Kensett with 13 digs. Low added 12.

In its three regular-season meetings with Rockford, Northwood-Kensett swept the Warriors twice in tournament play and won 3-1 Sept. 8 at Rockford.

Despite those wins, Rheingans said her team needed to work hard to get the fourth.

“Each time you play them they learn how you play, they know where we go,” she said. “So a part of our game tonight was to mix it up a little bit, and they did a really good job of that.”

The Vikings are two wins away from the state tournament. Three other teams remain in the bracket: No. 2 Tripoli (21-14), Dunkerton (17-6) and No. 12 Don Bosco (18-10).

Next, Northwood-Kensett will play Tripoli in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday at Charles City.

“I’m really excited about the next round,” Haberman said. “I’m a little nervous, but I know we can do it. We have a really positive team and our goals are set.”

Of the four remaining teams, Tripoli has the most intimidating ranking and least intimidating record. However, of the Panthers’ 14 losses, 13 were against ranked opponents, including seven from Class 4A or 5A. Tripoli’s only loss against a non-ranked opponent was against Cedar Rapids Jefferson, a 5A team.

The Vikings have won five of their last six matches, and Tripoli has won four of its last five.