Three non-league losses helped give the Northridge High School girls volleyball team the confidence it needed to pick up its first victory of the season.
The Vikings lost to DeSales (25-3, 25-11), Sparta Highland (25-11, 25-23) and Granville (25-21, 25-22) on Sept. 15 in the Granville Invitational, but the experience gained there helped them in a 16-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18 win over host Johnstown-Monroe in an MBC match Sept. 18.
Northridge improved to 2-11 overall and 2-6 in the MBC after defeating Danville 15-25, 25-18, 13-25, 26-24, 15-7 on Sept. 20.
"We played DeSales, Granville and Highland and we gained a lot of confidence," first-year coach John Smith said. "We lost the matches (at Granville) but we played well against some really good teams."
The Johnnies could not hold the momentum from their win in the first game.
"I thought that Johnstown played well in the first game, moving the ball around, and they didn't make a lot of mistakes," said Smith, whose team plays league matches Tuesday, Sept. 25, against East Knox at home and Thursday, Sept. 27, at Centerburg. "We cleaned up our digging and started moving our serves around.
"We changed our hitting style and that changed the momentum of the game. If you can keep the momentum, it can be hard to get back."
Johnstown coach Heather Ashbrook said her team needed to play with more confidence, which it had done in a 22-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-14 non-league win over Tree of Life on Sept. 15.
"It's all mental. We were playing not to lose instead of playing to win," said Ashbrook, whose team was 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the MBC after losing to Utica 25-15, 25-11, 25-15 on Sept. 20. "I think we were confident in the first game and then things started to change."
For the Johnnies, Claire Slader had 22 hits, seven kills, four aces and four blocks. Korrie Wetmore had 31 hits, five kills and 10 digs, Arika Sayer had 32 hits and 13 kills and Harley Thomson had 20 assists.
Megan Hatfield led Northridge with 14 kills. Sara Pribonic had 10 kills, Savanna Legg had nine kills and Caitlyn Tulloss had six kills.
"We had been making mistakes and we needed to fix some of the little things. We have to keep a positive attitude," Pribonic said. "We need to use this momentum and keep playing to our potential."
Smith said subtle changes have made a difference for the Vikings.
"We haven't been consistent, but we have been becoming more consistent," he said. "We have been digging much better, with a lot of our digs in front of the 10-foot line. When you have better setting, you have a stronger attack. "We also changed to a 5-1 (alignment) and Faith Hiser has been setting for us. Faith Miller was our second setter when we were 6-2, but now she has been able to clear up the ball in the middle. We have done a great job of picking things up in the middle."
Johnstown plays league matches at home Tuesday, Sept. 25, against Danville and Thursday, Sept. 27, at East Knox.
Johnnies to face Freddies in football
The Johnstown football team was 3-1 overall before meeting Loudonville on Sept. 21. The Johnnies will be playing a second consecutive MBC game on the road Friday, Sept. 28, at Fredericktown.
The Johnnies defeated Fredericktown 41-7 last season.
The Freddies were 3-1 overall before playing Danville on Sept. 21. Their only loss was a 49-14 setback Aug. 31 against Ready, which was unbeaten through four games.
Fredericktown won its league opener 33-14 over Northridge on Sept. 14. It also defeated Highland (36-32 on Aug. 24) and Lucas (34-30 on Sept. 7).
Against Northridge, the Freddies' Tyler Ruhl rushed for 88 yards on 12 carries with a 47-yard touchdown. Austin Hathaway threw for one touchdown and returned an interception 30 yards for a score.
On Sept. 14, the Johnnies won their MBC opener and 11th consecutive league game with a 42-21 victory over Centerburg. Fullback Adam Carter had 175 yards rushing and a touchdown on 25 carries as Johnstown rushed 74 times for 397 yards. Running back Cody Farley had 103 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and quarterback Tyler Thompson rushed for 57 yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts.
Through four games, the Johnnies averaged 35.5 points and 316.5 yards rushing per contest. They were surrendering 20.3 points per game.
Carter led the team with 295 yards rushing on 48 carries with four touchdowns and Thompson had 271 yards rushing with five scores on 40 attempts. Farley had 270 yards rushing with three touchdowns on 52 carries and Nick Sadinsky had 72 yards on 16 carries with two scores.
Vikings' football team to visit East Knox
The Northridge football team was 2-2 overall before playing Utica on Sept. 21. The Vikings will play their third MBC game on Friday, Sept. 28, at East Knox.
Last season, Northridge lost to East Knox 36-0.
The Bulldogs were 3-1 overall before playing Sept. 21 at Centerburg. They defeated Coshocton 27-19 on Aug. 24 and Grandview 30-13 on Aug. 31 before losing their final non-league game 50-7 to Hartley, which was unbeaten through four games. East Knox defeated Utica 40-20 in its MBC opener Sept. 14.
Against Utica, East Knox quarterback Cody Howard threw touchdown passes of 49 and 25 yards to Dylan Wears, who also scored on a 1-yard run. Mason Lyon added touchdown runs of 55 and 6 yards.
The Vikings' 33-14 loss to Fredericktown on Sept. 14 was their 23rd consecutive league setback. Northridge quarterback Bryant Garee was 8-for-20 passing with a touchdown to Chase Hess, who had four catches for 58 yards.
Running back Jacob Burke ran 19 times for 174 yards and a touchdown.
Eric Dills had 11 tackles and two forced fumbles, and Levi Hatfield had 12 tackles.