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North Adams tops Northwest in three

The North Adams girls volleyball team opened up regular season play in near-perfect fashion, dismantling the Northwest Mohawks in straight sets on Tuesday evening.

The Lady Devils won 25-8, 25-14, 25-20 and dominated in most every area of the game.

Sophomore Charlee Louden led North Adams with seven kills on the evening while sophomore Sydney Kendall and junior Madison Jenkins had six apiece. The Lady Devils averaged nearly 10 kills per set while Northwest only managed less than half that total.

Jenkins said her team came out focused since they didn’t know much about the skill level of Northwest and wanted to make sure they put out their best performance.

“We came out with a good attitude and were prepared for a good game because we didn’t know anything about the team,” Jenkins said. “We were eager to start the season and staying positive throughout the whole game was a big help.”

With the strong performance, North Adams head coach Katie Ragan said she believes all the time her athletes spent playing during the offseason was a big benefit.

“My athletes play a lot in the off season,” Ragan said. “Seven of the 10 players on varsity play club volleyball in the spring. We start open gyms in the spring. We play summer league and go to team camp during the summer.”

After leaving no doubt who was the stronger team in the first set, Jenkins said her team avoided complacency, knowing mental lapses could allow the Mohawks back into the game.

“In volleyball anything can happen,” Jenkins said. “They could’ve went on a scoring streak by us making mistakes. Volleyball is a mind game and if you believe you’ve already won chances are you’ll take it easy and the other team will come back.”

North Adams also didn’t allow errors to beat themselves. The Lady Devils had 12 attack errors compared to 14 for Northwest, a higher serving percentage than Northwest, two block errors compared to six for Northwest and zero dig errors compared to 12 for the Mohawks.

The Lady Devils had an obvious size advantage on the front line, and Ragan believes that advantage was crucial to the team’s success Tuesday night.

“It is very nice to have size at the net, especially when the tall players also play well,” Ragan said. “It is a benefit to us because our block takes away part of the court, so our defenders have less to cover. On the other side, we do struggle when we play a tall team because we’re not used to someone being taller than us.

Jenkins said she believes her team’s size advantage will only continue to help her team as the season progresses

“[Size] is a very good advantage because it puts up a good defense,” Jenkins said. “This was our first actual game as a team and I believe as the season continues we will improve.”

Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or cgrove@civitasmedia.com.

North Adams sophomore Avery Harper (30) sends the ball over the net in their home opener against Northwest.
http://www.peoplesdefender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_NA-NW-31.jpgNorth Adams sophomore Avery Harper (30) sends the ball over the net in their home opener against Northwest. Charles Grove | People’s Defender

A battle at the net ends with North Adams scoring another point in the third set Tuesday evening.
http://www.peoplesdefender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_NA-NW-41.jpgA battle at the net ends with North Adams scoring another point in the third set Tuesday evening. Charles Grove | People’s Defender

By Charles Grove

cgrove@civitasmedia.com

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