North defeated Chardon in five sets for the third time this season to claim a Division I sectional championship at Euclid High School on Thursday.
With the 23-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12 win, the fourth-seeded Rangers advanced to Tuesday’s Euclid District semifinals against top-seeded Riverside.
“It’s incredibly exciting to win in five,” North coach Samantha Muzic said. “It’s extremely hard to beat a team three times and now we’ve played Chardon all three times, going to five every single time. All season it’s been a great match every time we see them.”
North is now 5-0 in five-set matches this season.
“We’ve done that actually a lot this season, especially lately,” Muzic said. “It just helps boost our girls’ confidence. They know they can compete and they know how to work hard. They’ve put in the work in the offseason and all season for these five-set matches.”
The Rangers started slowly out of the gate and dropped the first set.
“We had too many serving errors,” Muzic said. “With a team as strong as Chardon, you can’t afford to do that. Once we cleaned that up we started playing much better.”
Lindsey Mausser led the Rangers with 18 kills and seven blocks.
“My goal tonight was to do everything I could to help put my team in the best position to win, offensively and defensively,” Mausser said.
Jill Borthwick finished with nine kills and 25 digs, Abby Carter and Julia Kerns both pitched in with six kills. Kerns also scored 14 points with four aces and Carter closed out the match with a pair of blocks.
Taylor Valaitis posted a team-high 32 assists and Dhvani Patel led the Rangers with 28 digs.
“Our serve receive was our backbone today,” Muzic said. “Jill and Dhvani did amazing and everything in their power to put us in a great position offensively. They just know each other so well. It’s fun to watch them back there working together. I knew with how tough they were playing, our offense had a chance to clean up their mistakes and play aggressively.”