Defensive effort lifts NOVA to victory

Defensive effort lifts NOVA to victory

ANNANDALE – A strong defense and an attacking offense helped push the Northern Virginia Community College volleyball team to a straight set (25-12, 25-14, 25-10) victory over CCBC Essex Tuesday evening in NJCAA Region 20 Division II action.

The Nighthawks finished up a season-long five match homestand, and will wrap up the regular season Thursday at Frederick.

The teams traded points in the early goings of the opening set, but after a Knights attack error, NOVA responded with a 10-3 run. During the momentum shift, Brittany Connatser had two kills, while CCBC Essex gave the Nighthawks seven points in unforced errors.

Sarah Abisourour and Alyssa Mielke also added to the NOVA tally when they returned a Knights attack with an assisted block.

Much like the first stanza, both teams were going back and forth with points, but it wasn't until Connatser had back-to-back kills that jump started the NOVA offense. The Nighthawks were able to put space between themselves and CCBC Essex after the Connatser kills, as Sydney Nixon gave NOVA a 17-10 advantage on an ace.

Later in the second, the Knights got within four (18-14), but NOVA closed the set on 7-0 run with an ace by Bartels and kills from Connatser and Mielke.

During final set action the Nighthawks jumped on top 7-1 after a Nataleigh Weber ace, but the Knights would not go away as got their deficit down to two (9-7).

Lauren Havill kick started NOVA's offense on a kill, which was the beginning of a 15-3 match ending run. During the swing, Abisourour and Nixon had an assisted block, while the Knights also had seven unforced errors.

With the victory Tuesday night, NOVA earned the third seed in the NJCAA Region 20 Tournament and will wait until the weekend to find out who they play in the first round Nov. 2 at Southern Maryland.