Greencastle's volleyball squad kicked off its 2011 season at home Tuesday night, hosting Northview.
A spirited Tiger Cub squad stood toe to toe with the Knights throughout the first set but, falling in that set, were eventually taken out in three sets 22-25, 10-25 and 11-25.
Northview had quality starts in all three sets, racing out to seven to 10 point leads before the Tiger Cubs were able to rally back to any extent.
In the first set, after the visitors had gotten out to a quick lead, Greencastle began to find its feet before senior Erika Davies went down on the court with a knee injury.
The loss didn't deter the hosts, who, while down five points at the time at 14-9, rallied several times to close the gap to one. Back and forth swings ensued, with Greencastle threatening to pull out the set late.
Northview was able to fend off Greencastle and take the set 25-22 over the hosts, and quickly set out to take set two, racing out to a 10-1 lead.
Greencastle would begin to swap points for a stretch with the Knights, but having been put into a deep hole early, didn't have the chance to gain any ground before the visitors won set two 25-10.
Davies came back out of the locker room before the third set started, one in which Greencastle started off better by splitting the opening six points for a 3-3 start.
Northview took the next seven unanswered and seemingly took a chunk of the fight of the hosts. More of that fight was gone after Davies, who came in midway through the final set, landed and re-injured the same knee, much to the chagrin of those in attendance.
The Knights went about their play quickly to end the third set 25-11 and complete the three set sweep.
While not the ideal start to the season, Greencastle head coach Liz Spencer saw vast improvement in her squad from a year ago.
"It was a confidence builder. Volleyball is all about momentum, about believing in yourself and your teammates. It was good to see some fight in our kids," Spencer said.
"We just didn't have enough offense to keep them on defense. They're a pretty good offensive team. We needed to have more offense to make them come up with the tougher passes.
"Our girls had the right shots; they missed them at times. We don't have a lot of girls that go up and over everybody. They did well in moving the ball around and with what we have been working on, we just missed the shots, and that happens," Spencer said.
One key to the game was that Northview, outside of the first set, was able to limit Greencastle's points from the serve, partly as the Tiger Cubs expand their skill set in that area.
"We have to serve tough to make them make a difficult pass. If we just put the ball in play, they'll put back in our faces off a great pass. Sometimes you miss those, and I hope our serving percentage goes up," Spencer said.
"They were serving at areas, which was the first time they were trying to do that. We've got a couple of girls who are trying some new serves as well. I was pleased they were comfortable enough to try the jump serves."
Another tough contest comes Thursday when Greencastle travels to Crawfordsville. For Spencer, staying in the game will be as important as the play on the court.
"We have to work on the mental game. Just because we played well in one set doesn't mean we're going to play well in the second or third set," Spencer said.
"We've got to reduced the unforced error, things like hitting the ball in the net. Make the other team make the error. That's what I want us to focus on."
Northview 25 25 25
Greencastle 22 10 11