Class D No. 1 Norfolk Catholic needed both its survival and response traits on Tuesday night against Lutheran High Northeast.
Senior Channatee Robles slammed 28 kills as the Class D No. 1 Knights battled past the host Eagles 33-31, 25-27, 25-17 in a thrilling finale of a triangular played at the Clayton and Vivian Andrews Activity Center.
Earlier in the night, Norfolk Catholic defeated Crofton 25-18, 25-15. The Warriors opened the trifecta by knocking off the Eagles 25-18, 18-25, 25-20.
"They push through tough times," Norfolk Catholic coach Michaela Bellar said. "I think this team can be challenged, and I think they like to be challenged."
The Knights, already shorthanded with junior Avery Yosten out for the season, also played without fellow junior Allison Brungardt, who was out due to an illness.
That put the focus on Robles, who added two service aces and a solo block along with her 28 kills. Fellow senior Addison Corr added 11 kills and three service aces, while classmate Morgan Miller had a pair of solo blocks.
"(Robles) does a really good job," Bellar said. "She has ball control like no other. She did a really good job. Without her, we would struggle with that game."
Robles hit from virtually every rotation spot, even in the back row. Her hit chart sprayed shots all over the Lutheran High defense, to the point that it was difficult to see the difference between the lines of her shots and the paper that it was charted on.
"How do we defend that?" Lutheran High Northeast volleyball coach Kathy Gebhardt asked. "She's a great player, obviously. But I think our girls stepped up to the challenge. ... She was going to get her good swings, but we were sticking with them."
The Eagles countered with a balanced offense along with a valiant defensive effort. Junior Kendra Petersen led with 14 kills and a solo block, while Avery Koeppe, Josie Spence and Mia Wiederin all had four or five kills each.
Neither team got many scoring runs during the contest. Norfolk Catholic scored a 6-0 run in the first, but Lutheran High countered immediately with four straight to pull within 9-8, and neither team led by more than four points the rest of that set.
The first set eventually featured 10 set points before Kenzie Janssen's solo block finally gave Norfolk Catholic a 33-31 win. In that set alone, Robles had 10 kills, including the tying kill at 31, and Corr added six. Petersen had seven of her 14 kills for the Eagles in the opening set.
"It was a roller coaster," Bellar said.
Neither team had more than a three-point run in the second, which was tied at 23, 24 and 25 before Lutheran High got a Koeppe kill and took advantage of an attack error on set point.
"That was great," Gebhardt said. "The problem is that we want to see that every match. If we see that against Crofton, we probably have a different outcome tonight. That's what we're trying to find, that level of play all the time."
In the third, Norfolk Catholic finally got going offensively. Tied at 4, the Knights scored four straight points, including a Janssen kill and a Robles block, before another four-point run pushed the lead to 15-10 following a Miller block. Corr later got back-to-back ace serves as part of a run that made it 21-13. The match, appropriate as it seemed, ended with a Robles kill off an overpass.
Lutheran High hosts St. Paul (15-4) on Thursday, while Norfolk Catholic (14-1) heads to the Columbus Classic on Saturday.
Norfolk Catholic (14-1) 33 25 25
Lutheran High (8-12) 31 27 17
NORFOLK CATHOLIC (kills-aces-blocks): Jacey Wolf 0-0-0, Kenzie Janssen 2-0-1, Sidonia Wattier 3-0-0, Saylor Fischer 2-0-0, Addison Corr 11-3-0, Channatee Robles 28-2-1, Morgan Miller 0-0-2, Hannah Hoesing 0-0-0.
LUTHERAN HIGH NORTHEAST (kills-aces-blocks): Josie Spence 4-0-0, Kinsley Carr 0-1-0, Emme Scott 0-0-0, Avery Koeppe 5-0-0, Kealy Ranslem 0-1-0, Kendra Petersen 14-0-1, Sophia Wolff 3-0-0, Mia Wiederin 4-0-0, Delaney Rose-Hancock 0-0-0, Hannah Fouts 1-0-0, Faith Baumgartel 0-1-0.
Set assists: Norfolk Catholic 41 (Fischer 22, Wattier 19). Lutheran High Northeast 27 (Ranslem 14, Carr 10, Baumgartel 3).