LAYTON — It is not as eye-catching as outside hitter, but libero may be the most important position on the court.
“I love being the libero,” said Knights senior Nikki Hansen. “My role on the team is being the defensive quarterback. Getting the first pass up is important to running the offense, but it’s not just me. Everybody works together.”
Northridge needed only 1 hour and 14 minutes Thursday to sweep the crosstown rivals Lancers 25-15, 23-25, 25-15 in Region 1 at the ’Ridge.
Layton High lost junior outside hitter Eliza Katoa, a Utah commit, to a left knee injury midway through set 1. She will be further evaluated today.
“We work hard in practice and we knew what we had to do,” said the 17-year-old Hansen. “We had to correct the mistakes we made the first time we played and knew the adjustments we had to make.”
The Lancers won a five-setter in the teams’ first meeting Sept. 18.
“We communicated a lot better and worked together better as a team,” Hansen said. “We had to play our game. We knew they would come out and fight without Katoa. We kept our intensity up and knew we had to perform and play at a top level.”
Hansen had 18 digs, one assist and two aces for the Knights (13-13 overall, 5-3 league).
“I like being involved in every play and just being a part of it,” she said. “Layton is our big rival and always has been. I knew we could do it in three sets; that was our goal.
“A few too many mistakes hurt us when we played over there,” Hansen said. “We played as a team really well today. We each gave 100 percent and didn’t give up on any plays. This will be a big confidence builder going into our last two matches with Syracuse and Fremont.”
The Knights’ Kaitlin Verbitski had 13 kills, one block and nine digs; freshman Rachel Parson had six kills and six block assists; Alex Smith had four kills, two block assists, seven digs and two aces; Alex Gardner had three kills and three block assists; Brittley Eldredge had one kill and two block assists; and setter Tabby Williams had 25 assists, three kills, one block assist and four digs for Northridge, which had four aces and six service errors.
The Lancers’ Rylee Cate had 15 kills and one ace; Katoa had four kills and one block assist; Corinne Rhoton had three kills and three block assists; Rachael Bauer had two kills and one ace; Grace Borges had two kills; and setter Mckell Moss had 23 assists, two kills and two block assists for Layton (16-10, 6-2), which had two aces and four service errors.
• davis def. syracuse 25-19, 25-13, 25-20: At Syracuse, the Darts clinched no less than a tie for a league three-peat.
BYU commit Camille Walker had 14 kills, two block assists and 11 digs; Utah State commit Kaylie Kamalu had 10 kills, one block assist and six digs; Weber State commit Tanisha Langston had seven kills and 11 digs; setter Kendall Sargent had 16 assists and seven digs; and setter Jamie Selleneit had 14 assists and two digs for defending state 5-A champion Davis (27-1, 8-0).
The Titans’ Breckell Soifua had seven kills and two block assists; Kara Mudrow had six kills, three solo blocks and four block assists; Maddi Bitton had five kills, four solo blocks, two block assists and two aces; Maggie Hansen had five kills, one solo block, a block assist and four digs; Lizzy Reich had five kills, three solo blocks and three block assists; setter Brook Follett had 15 assists, two block assists and one ace; and libero Takenna Hamblin had 10 digs for Syracuse (15-12, 1-7).
• fremont def. weber 25-15, 25-19, 25-15: At Pleasant View, the Silver Wolves’ Brooke Lamb had 13 kills, one block assist and an ace; Rachel Nish had six kills and one block assist; Kayla Ivins had four kills and three block assists; setter McKenzie Burrows had 25 assists, four kills, one solo block and eight digs; libero Sariah Pelaez had 12 digs, five assists and two aces; and Megan Gallegos had six digs and one ace for Fremont (13-12, 4-4).
The Warriors’ Morgan Bischoff had eight kills; setter Maren Ulrich had 20 assists; and libero Hanna Buswell had 11 digs for Weber (13-14, 0-8).
• Sky view def. box elder 25-17, 25-18, 25-7: At Smithfield, the Bobcats (19-1, 8-0) clinched no less than a tie for their fifth consecutive league title.
The Bees are 11-17, 2-6.
• mountain crest def. bonneville 25-18, 30-28, 27-25: At Hyrum, the Mustangs are 12-8, 6-2; the Lakers are 10-11, 4-4.
• logan def. roy 25-12, 25-14, 25-8: At Roy, the Grizzlies are 12-8, 4-4; the last-place Royals are 2-18, 0-8.
• morgan def. ogden 25-16, 25-14, 25-18: At Ogden High, the Trojans’ Cassidee Lish had 15 kills, seven digs and two aces; Katie Peterson had eight kills, 11 digs and four aces; McKenzie Schenk had eight kills and two aces; Rachel Kunz had four kills; freshman setter Jorry Randall had 17 assists and two aces; setter Kristi Rhead had nine assists; and libero Amanda Porter had seven digs and seven aces for two-time defending 3-A champion Morgan (15-3, 12-0).
The Tigers’ Chloe Oki had four kills, three digs, one ace and three service points; setter Clara Call had nine assists and seven service points; libero Taelynn Abrego had nine digs and four service points; and Maricruz Martinez had one assist, three digs, one ace and four service points for Ogden (7-12, 2-9).
• tooele def. ben lomond 25-23, 25-13, 25-10: At Tooele, the Buffaloes are 6-7, 6-5; the Scots are 6-25, 3-8.
In the other match, Stansbury def. Grantsville 25-19, 25-20, 25-19. The Stallions are 12-10, 9-2; the Cowboys are 11-16, 5-6.
• layton christian def. concordia prep 25-14, 25-14, 25-14: At Salt Lake City, the Eagles are 14-7, 9-2.