Volleyball: Montgomery knocks off Cardinal Newman in NBL tournament semifinal

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Thanks to strong net play from Hannah McGary and Kaitlyn Kirk, Montgomery beat visiting Cardinal Newman in four sets Tuesday night to advance to the finals of the North Bay League volleyball tournament.

The No. 2-seeded Vikings will play No. 1 Maria Carrillo for the championship Thursday at 7 p.m. The Pumas, who will host the title match, advanced with a sweep over Casa Grande.

McGary had a game-high 23 kills and Kirk put away 10 shots as Montgomery took out Newman in four sets (25-9, 16-25, 25-18, 25-23).

Kirk saved her best for the last game as the Vikings called her number repeatedly in the fourth set. The junior put an exclamation point on the contest with a kill on match point.

“The plan was to get Kirk the ball in the fourth set and she came through,” coach Koy Stewart said. “She got us a lot of points.”

Kirk, a junior, thought her team played well.

“We hit a couple of rough patches, especially losing the second game, but overall this was one of our best efforts,” she said. “We’ve been playing together all season and we know what we can do as a team. We didn’t panic when we lost the second set because we always believe we can come back.”

At the start of the evening, it looked like Montgomery would make short work of the Cardinals. The Vikings never trailed in the set and scored six straight points midway through the game to take an 18-6 lead.

However, Newman regrouped and took control of the second game early. The Cardinals grabbed a 5-2 lead and kept Montgomery safely at bay.

The Vikings regained the momentum in the third. With the score 8-8, the home team reeled five consecutive points on McGary’s serve to take control of the game.

Newman started fast in the fourth set and at one time led 7-1. Jade Buhmani’s serving and net play keyed the run.

Montgomery rallied and tied the score midway through the set. It was 23-23 when the Vikings got the last two points with the final one coming on Kirk’s kill.

Besides Kirk and McGary, the Vikings got stellar play from freshman McKenna Laforge (27 assists and three aces) and sophomore Violet Johnson (18 assists and 33 digs). Kylie Laforge had a big game for Newman with 11 kills. Ingrid Junferman contributed 7 kills and 17 assists while Mimi Fowler had 18 digs.

“Overall, we played well,” Newman coach Anna Waller said. “I was pleased with our defensive effort. If there was an area where we could’ve improved, it was serving.”

Newman, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, is now 18-10 and will receive an invitation to compete in next week’s NCS Division 4 tournament.

“This was a perfect match to get us ready for NCS,” Waller said. “It was a playoff atmosphere and both teams were on their game.”

Montgomery, 22-10, will participate in the Division 2 bracket after playing Maria Carrillo on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Pumas dispatched Casa Grande 25-13, 25-9, 25-12.

“We served really tough,” coach Ally Sather said. “We had 14 aces which is pretty remarkable.”

Baelei Wiesner had half of those aces. She also had 12 assists.

Courtney Seda led the big hitters with nine kills. Caiti Wiesner and Claire Brady had seven apiece while Cassie Blanchard came up with a dozen digs.

The Pumas take a 25-6 record into Thursday’s match.

 

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