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Novi sweeps Northville, advances to Class A Regional Semifinal

By: Jeff Dullack, November 5, 2015, 10:35 pm

Northville – The last time Novi and Northville faced off, Northville had an opportunity to knock of the top ranked team in Class A, but the Wildcats survived for a win in three sets.

But when the two teams met once again on Thursday night in a Class A district final at Northville, Novi made sure Thursday’s match wouldn’t be quite as closely contested.

The Wildcats turned in a dominant effort in games one and two and then overcame a bit of a slow start in the third game to sweep Northville, 25-12, 25-16 and 25-19, to move on to the regional semifinals.

Novi coach Jennifer Cottrill said that her team’s strong start to game one was key for her team and also added that she felt her team was better prepared to face Northville this time around.

“I kind of think that was the key to the match,” she said. “We’ve played them multiple times and we really have a lot of film on them and I think we were able to prepare properly this time. They listened and executed and they nailed it, so I think that really set them back a little bit, I don’t think they (Northville) were expecting that.”

After picking up the 25-12 win in the first game of the night, Novi picked up right where it left off in the second game as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 10-7 lead after three straight kills from Victoria Iacobelli and a block from Emmy Robinson.

After Northville eventually trimmed the Novi lead down to 13-12, the Wildcats responded with an 8-1 run behind kills from Kathryn Ellison and Iacobelli to give the Wildcats a 21-13 lead as Novi would cruise to a 25-16 win to take a 2-0 lead heading into the third game.

Iacobelli finished with 21 kills and 10 digs to lead the way for Novi on Thursday night, while Paulina Iacobell finished with six kills. Clair Pinkerton finished with 19 digs and four aces and Erin O’Leary tallied 25 assists and 10 digs to help lead Novi.

Victoria Iacobelli said that she felt it was important going into Thursday’s match for her team to start strong.

“We knew we had to come out and start strong to lower their confidence and boost ours,” she said. “And just from the start be able to lay out our game plan.”

In the third game, Northville jumped out to a 13-9 lead after kills from Emily Martin and Bryce Quick, forcing a Novi timeout.

Novi came out of the timeout and quickly regained the lead, jumping ahead 15-14 after a block by Ellison.

Cottrill said that it was important for her team to relax in the third game, leading to her calling the timeout to allow Novi to refocus.

“Taking a deep breath,” Cottrill said. “For some reason, we were playing with the pressure when we were up 2-0 and we shouldn’t have been (playing with the pressure). So just taking a timeout, getting them to relax a little bit, laugh a little bit, settle in and I thought we served tougher, so we got them out of system a little bit and made it a little bit harder. I thought we were serving pretty unaggressive that whole set.”

After Novi fell behind 18-17, the Wildcats then closed out the match on an 8-1 run, highlighted by an ace from Emma Hammelef and a block by Robinson would clinch the game three win for Novi, 25-19.

Novi now advances to the regional semifinals where the Wildcats will face the winner of the Walled Lake Central-Milford district.