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Norfolk nets ugly win against Lincoln North Star

September 12, 2018

A win is a win.

And the Norfolk volleyball team definitely got that Tuesday night with a 3-0 straight-sets shutout of 2-11 Lincoln North Star. The 25-16, 25-18, 25-20 win allows the Panthers to improve to 5-3 on the season.

But Norfolk coach Katie Wright-Oswald was disappointed that her squad didn’t build on a recent performance, albeit in a loss, against ranked Lincoln Southeast.

“A win is a win, but we definitely weren’t at our level of play; I don’t want to take anything away from Lincoln North Star, but we were a completely different team last Tuesday (versus Lincoln Southeast) where we had quicker tempo balls and were more aggressive at the net. While (our play) was working for us, it’s not going to work when we go to the Lincoln Public Schools tournament this weekend,” she said.

The coach’s primary evidence was in the number of times her hitters were forced to tip instead of spike the ball.

“Our passing was a struggle. If our passing isn’t there, our setter has to set from behind the 10-foot line,” Wright-Oswald said. “That turns into having to tip at the net.”

Despite the passing woes, Gabby and Alex Ruth finished the first set with four and three kills, respectively, to help the Panthers pull away early for the 25-16 first-set victory.

Then, in the 25-18 second-set win, Jalen Hoffman contributed five kills while the Ruth twins recorded four more kills each.

Meanwhile, the Navigators as a team managed just seven total kills in the first set and added only five in the second.

During the 25-20 close-out third-set victory, Lincoln North Star produced its best offense of the match and, although the Navigators never led, North Star produced tie-scores at 12 and 14, and trailed by just one point at 20-19.

That was before three consecutive kills (of her six-kill total in the set) and an ace serve by Gabby Ruth led to match-point. Alex Ruth provided it with a kill of an Anden Baumann set to close out the Panthers’ three-set win.

“Lincoln North Star is a young squad, and their coach told me they’ve had lots of injuries,” Wright-Oswald said. “I wasn’t disappointed with our effort, but we just weren’t at the top of our game tonight, so while we tend to look at our record, our overall goal is to play our best every single time we step on the floor.”

Offensively, Gabby Ruth paced the Panthers with 14 total kills in 27 attempts in the match, for a hitting percentage of 51.9 percent. As a team, Norfolk finished with a 41.5 hitting percentage, with Baumann totaling 31 set assists. Saydee Mittelstaedt and Alex Ruth each recorded three ace serves.

Defensively, Alex Ruth recorded 16 digs, with Karly Kalin adding 13 and Leah Petty 10. Ali Sovereign and Alex Ruth finished the match with three and two blocks, respectively.

The Panthers will be in action at the Lincoln Public Schools tournament on Friday and Saturday.

Norfolk defeats Lincoln North Star

25-16, 25-18, 25-20

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