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It's been a rough season so far for the Nordonia High School volleyball team in terms of wins and losses, but the Lady Knights showed grit and determination in a recent match against North Royalton.
Nordonia hosted its Suburban League National Conference opponent Sept. 13. The Lady Knights started well, winning the first set 25-18.
"Everything we've been working on came through," said Nordonia head coach Andrea Ciavarelli. "However, in sets two and three we started to make mistakes again and just weren't playing as focused."
Nordonia lost the second and third sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-18, respectively. "We talked in between sets three and four about playing focused and competing," said Ciavarelli. "That's exactly what we did."
Nordonia won the fourth and fifth sets by scores of 25-22 and 15-9, respectively.
"It was a great win for us, and we're hoping it's something to build on," said Ciavarelli. "The other nice part was that we had some of our other hitters step up in this match. [Junior middle blocker] Megan Pietro, [sophomore setter] Emily Chrustic, and [freshman middle hitter] Dominique Evans all had a great match that helped towards this win."
Sophomore outside hitter Megan Alders led Nordonia with 22 digs, 18 kills, and two aces. In addition, freshman outside hitter Maddie Knight had 12 kills and one ace. Other major contributors for the Lady Knights included junior setter Faith Banks (43 assists, nine digs) and senior libero Alexis Perney (17 digs, two aces, 40-of-42 in serve receive).
On Sept. 15, Nordonia welcomed conference rival Twinsburg to town. The Lady Tigers downed the Lady Knights 25-19, 25-23, 25-18.
"Our serving errors were what hurt us the most," said Ciavarelli. "We need to work towards becoming more consistent. Our conference is unforgiving with the level of talent each team has, so it's important for us to play hard every time we step out on that court."
Alders posted 12 kills, 10 digs, and two aces, while Perney racked up 16 digs and was 20-of-21 in serve receive and Banks accounted for 30 assists and eight digs.
On Sept. 17, Nordonia participated in the Independence Renee Roche Tournament. The Lady Knights played St. Joseph Academy in the first round, sustaining a 25-12, 25-15 defeat.
"They're currently ranked No. 12 in the state," said Ciavarelli of St. Joseph Academy. "They are physically a big team. We played well, but we were out-sized."
Nordonia battled Independence next, falling to defeat by the score of 25-22, 25-16.
The Lady Knights' final match of the day was against Buckeye. Nordonia finished strong, posting a hard fought 25-21, 23-25, 25-19 victory.
"Overall, it was a good tournament for us," said Ciavarelli. "We saw some quality teams and put up a good fight."
Alders compiled 34 kills and 22 digs to lead Nordonia on the day, while Perney produced 29 digs and six aces. In addition, Knight had 10 kills and seven aces and Banks added 59 assists, 12 digs, and five aces.