NNHS SHOWS HEART
GEOFF NEVILLE, Graphic Sportswriter
RED OAK -- Northern Nash may not have gotten the overall victory, but the Lady Knights certainly showed the ability to respond from adversity during Monday's non-conference volleyball meeting with the SouthWest Edgecombe Lady Cougars.
Northern dropped the first set in heartbreaking fashion, only to claw back in the second set with an impressive performance to even the score.
But SouthWest proved to be too much in the end as the Lady Cougars took the next two sets and went on to defeat the Fighting Knights by a 26-24, 21-25, 25-20 and 25-15 margin at the historic NNHS Gymnasium in Red Oak.
It hasn't been the best start to the campaign for the Lady Knights, who are now 1-7 overall after dropping their Big East Conference opener Tuesday versus Wilson Hunt in three sets.
But Coach Stephanie Summerlin is making progress in the program's rebuilding effort -- as evidenced by the squad's solid early performance versus SouthWest Edgecombe.
During the first set, the Lady Knights looked to be in trouble, falling behind by a 17-8 total before starting an impressive rally.
Northern Nash High School eventually drew back to 22-18 and earned a sideout and serve for sophomore setter Ashley Brantley, who has developed into one of the club's top performers this fall.
Brantley started her flurry with an ace and didn't finish until the Lady Knights had tied the score at 22-22.
Following an exchange of points, Northern Nash went ahead at 24-23 after a long point ended with a tip winner from junior Logan Joyner that drew the appreciative crowd to its feet.
The winner gave the Lady Knights a set point opportunity, but the next serve went into the net, and SouthWest earned the service.
Two points later, the Lady Cougars finished off the set and appeared to have all of the momentum in what was becoming a hotly contested matchup.
But Northern Nash came out on a mission in the second set, rolling to an 8-2 advantage after Brantley nailed seven points in a row, including an ace to go with a kill from Kristian Johnson.
The rest of the set would be tight, but the Lady Knights showed plenty of savvy while holding on.
A kill from Kanasia Arrington gave Northern a sideout at 19-17, and Tava Parada followed with four straight points, with Shania Taylor offering a powerful kill that put the Lady Knights on the cusp of winning the set.
Victory in the set was claimed when SouthWest made a service error at 25-21.
But NN was not able to maintain that pace the rest of the way.
Pictured (Above): DOWN IT GOES. Northern Nash High School hitter Kanasia Arrington (right) delivers a clutch kill for the Lady Knights during Monday evening's home volleyball showdown against SouthWest Edgecombe at the NNHS Gymnasium in Red Oak. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)