Macedonia -- Her team made hitting error after hitting error and looked completely out of sorts for long stretches.

None of that made a difference to Nordonia third-year head volleyball coach Andrea Ciavarelli.

She remained calm in the face of adversity the entire evening.

Thankfully for the Lady Knights, their coach's lack of negative emotions paid off.

Nordonia scored a thrilling 18-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 15-11 victory over Hudson in its Suburban League National Conference debut Aug. 30 in Macedonia.

Nordonia also went to five sets Sept. 1 in a National Conference match at Stow-Munroe Falls Sept. 1. The Knights' fought back from one-set deficit twice, but lost 25-14, 23-25, 25-10, 21-25, 15-13.

Nordonia's record stood at 2-3, 1-1 in the National Conference as of press time.

With only one senior on the roster, Ciavarelli knows her team is going to have their ups and downs. But Ciavarelli's young squad appears to be growing up in a hurry.

"You can't yell at young kids," Ciavarelli said. "I'm a firm believer that the players react to you. What is most important is gaining the experience. Win or lose, it was great for them to get court time."

"It was a great match," said Hudson coach Brad Disandis said. "They [the Lady Knights] played well. They are well coached. We couldn't stop their one hitter."

That "one hitter" was sophomore outside hitter Megan Alders, who finished with a match-high 24 kills, 14 digs and an ace to lead the Lady Knights.

"We're very young," Ciavarelli said. "Megan is our only experienced hitter."

With the score tied at eight in the decisive fifth set, Nordonia, thanks mainly to the stellar serving of freshman outside hitter Maddy Knight, scored the next five points.

Knight, who finished with 14 service points, including four aces, and six kills, served four straight service points during the run.

The Lady Explorers scored the next two points, but Nordonia prevailed on a Hudson hitting error on match point.

"Maddy is not a typical freshman," Ciavarelli said. "She doesn't have the discipline of a freshman. She's a hard worker and is really coachable. I can't say enough nice things about her."

Senior libero Alexis Perney contributed 27 digs and two aces and junior setter Faith Banks had 39 assists, eight digs, two aces and two block assists for the Lady Knights.

"Alexis and Faith are three-year players," Ciavarelli said. "They are our captains. When the young kids fall, they pick them up.

"Faith has a very calm demeanor on the court. She finished fifth in the state in the 400 in track, so she's used to competing with herself.

"Alexis is a great kid and a hard worker. She was a setter when she first played here. I moved her to libero. I don't think she liked it, but she grew to adapt to that role. She is so quick and she reads hitters very well."

Senior middle hitter Alena Madar led the Lady Explorers with eight kills and seven blocks and sophomore libero Kendall Mackay finished with 16 digs for Hudson. Junior setter Lorenza Chiarappa had 25 assists for the Lady Explorers.

Against Stow, Alders was all over the court for the Knights, finishing with 20 kills, 26 digs and nine service points.

Banks had 42 assists and 20 digs, while Perney had 30 digs. Maddie Knight had 10 kills.

Nordonia was set to host National Conference rival Brecksville-Broadview Heights Sept. 6, but results were not available at press time.

Nordonia heads to Cuyahoga Falls for a National Conference showdown Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Knights are set to compete at the Knights Tri-Meet Sept. 10 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Louisville. Play is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.


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