It had been almost 10 years since the Nordonia volleyball team won a league title.
That took place long before the Knights joined the Suburban League National Conference.
The wait is officially over.
By virtue of its 25-21, 25-9, 25-23 home win over National Conference rival North Royalton Thursday on Senior Night, Nordonia claimed a share of the conference title with Wadsworth with a 13-1 record. The Knights finished the regular season with a 19-3 overall mark.
"It’s exciting," Nordonia head coach Lori Snider said. "We worked hard for it. It was our goal from the very beginning of the season.
"When we lost to Wadsworth the first time around, it took the air out of us a little bit, but then we just refocused. We knew that we’d see them again and that, if we continued to work hard, we had a shot at beating them. The girls pushed through and that’s what happened. I’m really proud of them."
The win over North Royalton was special.
"Because it was Senior Night, there are always a lot of emotions and there’s adrenaline going that night," said Snider. "I think all of our seniors played very well.
"We missed six serves in set one and seven in set three. We’ve been aggressive servers all season, and sometimes we have some off nights. I’m not disappointed. I felt like we had control the whole night, even with the close first and third sets."
Leading the way for Nordonia were senior right-side hitter Riley Watroba and sophomore middle hitter Mya Sopata. Watroba had 15 digs and Sopata recorded 13 kills.
"Riley was unbelievable in this match," Snider said. "She looked like a goalie out there part of the time. She was diving and making one-handed digs. North Royalton couldn’t put a ball by her. It was just fun to sit back and watch.
"Mya has one speed, and that’s a thousand percent every single time. I love it. She and the setters have been working so hard on their timing and just knowing that sometimes we don’t have to go a thousand miles per hour. We can make the smart play. She’s really embraced that, and I think we’re going to continue to see her kills go up. Mya had only one error in this match, so her hitting percentage is pretty impressive."
Junior middle hitter Aleana Mason totaled three blocks.
"Aleana is such a strong player," said the coach. "She’s so good at reading the other team. She puts herself in really good position to get those blocks. That’s why she’s leading our team in blocks."
Senior setter/outside hitter Madison Knight had 22 assists, and junior outside hitter Joy Banks had three aces.
On Oct. 8 Nordonia defeated National Conference rival Cuyahoga Falls on the road 25-6, 25-7, 25-10.
"We definitely played consistently and played our game," Snider said. "We didn’t take our foot off the gas pedal, so I liked that."
Knight had 18 assists, nine kills and six aces.
"Madison continues to be what Madison always does, which is obviously lead us in aces," said Snider. "At the beginning of the season, we were struggling getting her the ball. We changed some things in our lineup, and I think that’s played to her advantage. We’ve really been able to get her going offensively the second half of the season."
Junior right-side hitter/defensive specialist Faith Sparks also hung up six aces.
"Faith came in with a tough serve at the beginning of the season. And then I think, for whatever reason, she just had some inconsistencies there," Snider said. "Now she’s changed something in her toss. She’s lowered it just a little bit, and we’ve really been working on her follow-through. She’s in her groove again."
Junior setter Riley Monroe had 18 assists, Banks had 10 digs and three blocks, Watroba totaled 10 digs and Sopata recorded nine kills.
Nordonia is the No. 1 seed in the Solon Division I sectional-district tournament, the first time the Knights have been the top seed under Snider’s leadership.
The Knights received a first-round bye and are scheduled to play the winner of eighth-seeded Cleveland Rhodes and ninth-seeded Garfield Heights Oct. 17 at 6 p.m.
Nordonia has no district championships under Snider’s leadership but has played for a district title twice.
"I absolutely feel we have a shot at winning the district title," said Snider. "We have to play well, we have to play hard, we have to play smart. The opportunity is there. If we play our game, it doesn’t really matter who we play on the other side of the court.
"We’re focused. I think the girls are ready to continue to keep working hard. I don’t think they’re ready for the season to end. This is a really special team. Sometimes there’s a feeling, an aura … and I totally believe that this team has some more wins under their belt that we’re going to get. We’ll keep working hard and taking it one match at a time, which is what we’ve been doing all season.
"We’ll see what happens."