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Norse make quick work of Tigers

Northfield's Abby Hunter (center) sets the ball while teammate Emily Pennington (right) awaits during Tuesday's match-up at Peru.

BY Trent Scott - tscott@perutribune.com

PERU – Two teams on opposite sides of the TRC ladder met at the Tig-Arena as Peru hosted Northfield Tuesday evening.

A competitive first set gave way to a smooth sweep for the Norse as the visitors made quick work of the Tigers 25-20, 25-11, 25-13

Northfield head coach Ted Bahney said the girls took a while to get going but cruised to their second conference win of the season.

“The girls’ tenacity eventually came through,” Bahney said. “It takes them a little while to get revved up but once they’re there, they come out and play.”

A milestone was reached early in the opening set as Northfield’s Abigail Hunter recorded her 1000th assist for the Norse and was applauded by both sets of fans and players.

“It’s good to see,” Bahney said about Hunter’s milestone. “Last year, she had 769 assists, a lot of those going to the girls that were on the court with her.”

The brief delay did not hamper the hosts, who went point-for-point with the visitors early on, getting a tip from Cate Wolfe to tie the opener at 8-8. A pair of Northfield attack errors and an Emily Ream ace saw Peru take an 11-8 lead before Addi Baker put down a pair of kills and Kenzie Baer tied the set with an ace.

Problems for the Tigers soon arose from the serve as four-straight went into the net, allowing the Norse to build up a five-point edge at 20-15. The Tigers would tighten the set back up to three at 23-20 but Baker notched another kill and Kearston Stout and Madison Shrider combined for a block to end the set with the visitors winning 25-20.

Any thoughts of a competitive second set were quickly dashed as Northfield started out by scoring the first seven points and running off an impressive run behind Baker’s serve to take a 21-4 lead.

“We tried to get them fired up,” Bahney said about the squad between sets. “Once they get themselves going, they’re pretty good.”

Peru closed slightly better but did so with a changed lineup with back row defender Casidy Bartel having to exit due to an injury from the previous night against Kokomo. With a 25-11 win in the second set, the Norse went for the quick end got off to a 10-3 start after a Baker ace following a lengthy delay with the hosts adapting to a new lineup.

Northfield pulled ahead 16-7 following a Hunter ace before a brief Tiger rally with kills from Samantha Zac and Courtlynn Crowe and a Ream ace. Elise Gottschalk halted the run with a point from the back row and a Baker kill pushed the Norse lead out to double-digits at 20-10. A trio of errors from the hosts helped end the match from there as the visitors completed the sweep with a 25-13 win in the third set.

Northfield, improving to 10-2 and 2-0 in TRC play, travels to Rochester, who also sits at 3-0 in the TRC, in a key conference match Thursday at 6 p.m.

Bahney said the girls needed to get off to a faster start when they face the Zebras.

“We’re going to work some on (Wednesday) to get the girls fired up and ready to go,” Bahney said. “We know it’s a big conference game with Rochester. The girls came off the game with Wabash and played well, so the girls will be prepared.”