Comeback not enough for North

Columbus North’s volleyball team gained more valuable experience Tuesday evening, despite being swept by visiting Bloomington North 3-0.

After fading late to lose 25-20 in the first set and appearing out-of-sync in a 25-11 loss in the second set, the Bull Dogs were all but exhausted in the third battle.

Coach Catie Greiner’s squad was looking at a 20-9 deficit against a Cougars crew that seemed to have the knack of consistently finding weak spots in the Dogs’ rotation. The hosts suddenly came to life behind the steady serving of Hannah Weaver and the intensity of Imani Guy.

With renewed energy, Columbus North reeled off 10 consecutive points and 15 of the next 16 to turn the tables on Bloomington North, which suddenly found itself trailing 24-21.

Unfortunately for the Bull Dogs, a pair of miscues, followed by two quick Cougar kills, flipped the momentum back to the guests, who closed out the match with a 26-24 triumph.

“It’s not fun to lose after coming back the way we did,” Greiner said. “But this is another lesson we will learn from as the season progresses.”

The 6-foot-4 Guy hammered 10 kills and added a trio of solo blocks for the contest, including five slams during her team’s late rally. The junior dominated the middle of the net, punching down back-to-back spikes to help cut the Cougars’ lead to 20-18.

Senior Avery Wendel followed with a kill, and Guy added two more slams to lift the Dogs (2-4) into the lead at 23-21. The hosts gained another point after a Bloomington North error but were unable to close out the battle.

“Imani was a momentum changer for us, and the other girls fed off her intensity,” Greiner said. “She had Bloomington North on their heels.”

Wendel added four kills during the three-set showdown and played solid defense along with Mackenzie Rooks, who lead the team with 14 digs. Maliah Howard-Bass registered 10 assists and Madelin Johnson had eight, while Hannah McKinney added seven assists along with five digs.

The opening set featured both squads exchanging points and battling to an 18-18 deadlock before the Cougars managed a small 3-0 run. Howard-Bass answered with a kill, but the visitors pulled away to take the early 1-0 lead.

Bloomington North maintained its solid play in the second set and was never threatened as it jumped in front 19-6 before Columbus North managed to notch its first back-to-back pointers off kills from Weaver and Wendel.

“We played tough against them from the beginning,” Greiner said. “The girls left everything they had out on the floor.”