It wasn’t how well it started but how well it finished for the Columbus North volleyball team in Thursday night’s season opener against Shelbyville.

The Golden Bears kept things close at the start, but the Bull Dogs did the better job of closing each set out. Several late rallies by the Bull Dogs helped them pull out a 25-16, 25-20, 27-25 win.

“They came on strong, and I was glad that we got the clean sweep,” North coach Caitlin Greiner said. “In Game 3, we were in the hole and had to constantly battle back in it. It really shows this team’s maturity and aggressiveness to come back and stay level headed to pull out that last game.”

The Bull Dogs grabbed an 11-5 lead in the first game, but Shelbyville stormed back to cut it 17-15. North closed it out by going on an 8-1 run.

It was much of the same in the second game, with the Bull Dogs having to play catch-up. When they got it to 13-13, a 7-1 rally helped them close it out.

In the third, North found itself down 24-20. The serving of Hannah Weaver helped the Bull Dogs score five straight points to go ahead 25-24. The Golden Bears tied the game, but the North rallied to pick up the last two points.

“It was great that we never gave up after digging themselves a big hole,” Greiner said. “Hannah Weaver had a great serving run where she was aggressive, and we were picking up balls and communicating everywhere.”

Agustina Fainguesch led the Bull Dogs with 14 kills, two blocks, 14 digs and three aces. Imani Guy had 13 kills and two blocks, Mady Johnson recorded 15 assists, Mackenzie Rooks notched 16 digs, Maliah Howard-Bass tallied seven kills and two blocks and Weaver finished with six kills and two aces.

“For the first match, we had a lot of good things, but these girls are still working hard to improve,” Greiner said. “They are executing what we do every day in practice. It is a good win because we lost to Shelbyville last year, and coming back and winning in three, it showed just how much we improved and where we are going.”