Soaring Eagles move on, unhorse Knights
NORWAY — It was an exciting night for the Hannahville volleyball program here Monday as the Soaring Eagles advanced in post-season play for the first time in at least 15 years.
They made that possible by taking a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-13) decision from the Norway Knights in a Division 4 district opener.
Hannahville hosts five-time defending champion Carney-Nadeau Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“It feels pretty good to win a district match,” said eighth-grader Leniceya Malinowski. “We haven’t won one in a long time. It’s exciting to have a chance to play at home and play them again.”
The Soaring Eagles fell to C-N in straight sets in last year’s district opener.
Malinowski hit a service ace for a 23-13 advantage in the third set. The Knights then committed a pair of miscues, enabling the Soaring Eagles to secure the decision.
“I think this gives us a little extra motivation,” said junior Dezirae Lattergrass. “It’ll feel good to be playing at home. A lot of people from our school will be there to cheer us on.”
Norway was within 6-5 in the finale before Lattergrass served for five straight points, including two aces, to give Hannahville an 11-6 advantage.
A lift violation by Hannahville enabled Norway to trim its deficit to 12-8 before the Soaring Eagles began to pull away.
“This was super exciting,” said Hannahville coach Michelle Carne. “They had a lot of energy playing on their home court, and our girls had a lot of motivation. We came over to scout Norway when they played Carney-Nadeau because we knew there was a possibility of seeing both teams in the district. The confidence they have now is through the roof. I’m super proud of them.”
The Knights led 15-8 in the second set, then committed a series of miscues, including a serve-receive error which trimmed their lead to 15-13.
A service error by Hannahville enabled Norway to take its last lead at 18-17.
After a sideout, Kayden Mathias served for six consecutive points, helping the Soaring Eagles secure that set.
“The girls were hustling,” said Norway coach Erika Harnden. “They kept going after the ball. Once they (Hannahville) got close, the momentum started to shift. Our team is very young, but the girls adapted well. In the beginning, they didn’t know any position.
“Now they know multiple positions. Even though we didn’t win any matches this year, the girls have come a long way. This was a growing year, and I’m okay with that.”
Hannahville gained a 5-0 lead on an ace by Lofquist in the opener.
The Soaring Eagles extended their advantage to 21-8 on a serve receive error before they committed a tipping error, giving the Knights a sideout.
A kill by junior Hannah Burkland brought the Knights within 22-15.
Hannahville, however, didn’t allow them to get any closer.
“Annileece served real well, and Dezirae plays well at the net and found a lot of open holes. We played without one of our setters tonight. We definitely had to change things up. It’s super exciting to be able to play on our home court Wednesday.”