Back to the old normal
MICHIGAN CITY — There was the new normal that Michigan City’s volleyball team had to acclimate to in the absence of Hannah Noveroske.
There was the sort of normal that the Wolves had Saturday when the 6-foot-4 senior returned to action, albeit in a limited capacity, in their tournament.
Then there was the old normal that Marquette had the misfortune of facing Wednesday at the Scholl Center as Noveroske not only started but played extensively in a 25-8, 25-8, 25-9 Wolves sweep.
“We had an entirely new lineup for the first time with Hannah in the game that we’re going to be using from this point forward,” coach TR Harlan said. “Before, we were just throwing her in there. This is the first time we’ve looked like what we’ve been practicing. This is how it’s going to be.”
Noveroske was a threat to Blazers defenders not to mention anyone sitting in the bleachers on the opposite end of the net from her missiles as she connected on 12 kills out of just 16 spikes.
“I felt great. It felt like normal, like from last year,” Noveroske said. “I just feel like the team camaraderie is different. My arm swing feels the same. I’ve got the same power. Everything’s good.”
The domino effect for Michigan City means more hitting lanes for the likes of Reece Shirley, Emily Kinney and Aaliyah Briggs.
“What it does is it allows us to have two of those four in the front row at all times,” Harlan said. “It gives us other options. Now they know they have somebody else they can go to. They don’t have to go to Emily or Reece every time they touch the ball. We’ve got a terminator now, somebody who they know they can dig the ball, put it up there high and she’s going to put it away. Now everybody’s going to be running to Hannah, which is going to leave Reece or Emily in a one on one, and we’ll take our chances with that.”
Briggs and Ellery Dolezal had four kills. Shirley added 11 assists and four aces with Micah Ruhe’s eight digs also leading the Wolves (18-4).
“It gives the kids confidence,” Harlan said of Noveroske’s return. “I think we had kids who felt like they had to do too much. It also makes us a little better blocking team, so it’s easier to play defense. When (Noveroske) goes up, it’s like an eclipse of the moon. They can’t see through her.”
Harlan played Noveroske at right-side hitter with a move to her usual middle position in the offing.
“The tournament, I got into it, but this is the first game back with the switch in the lineup,” she said. “I’m getting used to it.”
Marquette (14-14) is in the midst of a turnaround season, but didn’t have the firepower to compete with a restocked Wolves lineup.
“I thought their libero (Bri Moyer) did a really good job,” Harlan said. “Their numbers are up. Mike (Zima)’s a good coach. This is a storied place. Just look at the walls. They’ll continue to get better.”