The calendar may have read Sept. 20, but a reminder of just how quickly the volleyball season is rolling along hit the Norfolk Catholic program when seven seniors played their final regular-season contest at the Norfolk Catholic Activities Center.

In fact, it was so early that it caught its coach by surprise.

"I actually was not very prepared for senior night considering I didn't know that this was our last home game," Norfolk Catholic coach Michaela Bellar said. "It is really early for us."

Ready or not, Tuesday night provided a fitting tribute to a class that's been a part of three district championship teams.

The Knights trailed Columbus Lakeview 24-22 in the second set before scoring four-straight points for a 25-13, 26-24 sweep of the eighth-ranked team in Class C1 before cruising past Wayne 25-13, 25-8 in the nightcap. In between, Lakeview swept Wayne 25-17, 25-11.

"I thought that we were serving aggressive and I thought we were hitting aggressively," Bellar said.

Lakeview never led in the first set, but quickly took care of that in the second with an early 5-1 lead thanks to kills by Tessendorf and Bentz along with three Norfolk Catholic errors.

Norfolk Catholic chipped away at the deficit with a Fischer kill and and Jannsen block to tie it at 7. But Norfolk Catholic never led until Corr accounted for three points in a five-point span — two kills before her lead-changing service ace at 14-13 — and then Robles' kill made it 17-13.

"They're just very fundamentally difficult," Bellar said. "They are very fundamentally solid with the volleyball, so I knew we were going to have to limit our errors on our side, and then I knew we were going to have to attack and attack to get us in where we wanted to be."

The Viqueens bounced right back with six of the next eight points and took a two-point lead on three different occasions. Lakeview got three kills by Kula, the final one preceding a Luchsinger service ace that put the visitors at set point leading 24-22.

Instead of facing a third set, though, the Knights forced errors on the next four-straight points. A serve sailed long. Lakeview hit long after a tough serve, and then hit the net. On game point, a Lakeview player's foot touched the midcourt line for a violation.

"We missed some key serves at just terrible moments," Lakeview coach KC Belitz said. "Our defense was not up to our standard tonight. We were kind of half a step slow on a lot of stuff. And if you give a team like Norfolk Catholic any sort of an advantage like that, they're going to take advantage, and they did."

Norfolk Catholic led throughout in set one, with two kills by Corr and a well-placed setter dump by Wattier helping to force a timeout ahead 15-10. Brungardt ended a long rally with a tip kill on a Lakeview overpass, then Robles rifled a kill and Janssen placed an off-speed hit for a 22-12 lead.

"I thought we were serving aggressive and I thought we were hitting aggressive," Bellar said. "Addi Corr, I thought, hit really aggressively from the start, and I thought that helped open things up for the other girls."

Brungardt and Robles added kills down the stretch, and a Wattier block ended it.

"We didn't probably maximize our potential tonight, and that is in no way taking away from either opponent," Belitz said. "Obviously, we knew we'd have a really tough battle with Norfolk Catholic for sure. There's no question that, against a team like that, you're going to have to play your very best to be successful, and we didn't do that."

IT WAS FITTING that the Wayne match was the nightcap. Bellar was able to get every senior some playing time in the second set, with Josy Mrsny and Piper Craig even coming up with kills down the stretch to help seal the sweep.

"I have a lot of love for this group of seniors," Bellar said. "You don't see a lot of them, like Piper Craig and Lauren Preister and Josy Mrsny don't get a lot of playing time, but they're fun to be around and they bring a lot of good energy to the team. This group of seniors has been a lot of fun to coach, and I'm going to miss them."

Two road triangulars, tournaments at Columbus and Wisner-Pilger, and three regular-season matches are all that remain before the Mid-State Conference tournament begins Oct. 17. The Knights are off until next Tuesday when they travel to Lutheran High Northeast for a triangular with Crofton and the host Eagles.

Lakeview (8-3) 13 24

Norfolk Catholic (11-1) 25 26

NORFOLK CATHOLIC (kills-aces-blocks): Jacey Wolf 0-0-0, Aubrey Barnes 0-0-0, Kenzie Janssen 2-0-0, Sidonia Wattier 2-1-1, Saylor Fischer 1-0-0, Addison Corr 6-3-0, Allison Brungardt 2-0-0, Hanna Brummer 0-0-0, Channatee Robles 11-1-0, Morgan Miller 0-0-0, Hannah Hoesing 0-1-0.

COLUMBUS LAKEVIEW (kills-aces-blocks): Jenna Schafer 0-0-0, Kiara Kula 4-0-0, Taylor Helms 3-0-0, Chevelle Thomson 1-0-0, Ava Tessendorf 4-0-0, Josie Bentz 5-0-0, Elly Luchsinger 1-1-0, Grace Dawson 0-0-0, Autumn Gibbs 1-0-0.

Set assists: Norfolk Catholic 21 (Fischer 11, Wattier 9, Brungardt 1), Columbus Lakeview 16 (Luchsinger 12, Helms 2, Kula 1, Thomson 1). Digs: Norfolk Catholic 35 (Fischer 10, Brungardt 7, Wattier 6, Corr 6, Robles 4, Wolf 2).

Lakeview (9-3) 25 25

Wayne (1-12) 17 11

COLUMBUS LAKEVIEW (kills-aces-blocks): Jenna Schafer 0-0-0, Kiara Kula 1-0-0, Taylor Helms 2-0-0, Chevelle Thomson 1-0-0, Ava Tessendorf 0-0-0, Josie Bentz 1-1-1, Elly Luchsinger 0-2-0, Grace Dawson 0-0-0, Rallie Boyer 3-0-0, Tori Osten 1-1-0, Autumn Gibbs 0-0-0.

WAYNE (kills-aces-blocks): Faith Powicki 0-0-0, Jacen Hasemann 0-0-0, Haley Kramer 2-0-0, Kate Hill 3-0-1, Tasha Petersen 0-0-0, Jaycee Bruns 1-0-0, Gabbi Judd 0-0-0.

Wayne (1-13) 13 8

Norfolk Catholic (12-1) 25 25

WAYNE (kills-aces-blocks): Faith Powicki 0-0-0, Jacen Hasemann 0-0-0, Haley Kramer 2-0-0, Kate Hill 3-0-1, Tasha Petersen 0-0-0, Jaycee Bruns 1-0-0, Gabbi Judd 0-0-0.

NORFOLK CATHOLIC (kills-aces-blocks): Jacey Wolf 0-0-0, Aubrey Barnes 0-0-0, Kenzie Janssen 0-0-2, Sidonia Wattier 2-1-0, Saylor Fischer 3-2-0, Addison Corr 4-0-1, Allison Brungardt 2-0-0, Josy Mrsny 1-0-0, Hanna Brummer 0-0-0, Piper Craig 1-0-0, Lauren Preister 0-0-0, Channatee Robles 9-1-1, Morgan Miller 0-0-0, Hannah Hoesing 0-1-0.

Set assists: Norfolk Catholic 22 (Fischer 10, Wattier 10, Robles 2). Digs: Norfolk Catholic 36 (Wolf 8, Robles 8, Brungardt 6, Wattier 5, Corr 4, Fischer 2, Hoesing 2, Miller 1).

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