Knights lay down “The Hammer” on Trojans


Prasham Jobanputra

Captain, Natalie Wernly, serves the ball for North Penn.

TOWAMENCIN- The girls are back in town and strapped up the knee pads and laces for a conference rivalry game against the Trojans.  Your standard senior leaders on any high school sports teams were not the only ones scoring the points as the Knights got major contributions from their underclassmen.

The North Penn Knights (1-2) hosted and defeated the Wissahickon Trojans (0-3) Friday night in the North Penn Navy gymnasium where brick wall like blocks, dives across the hardwood floor and a Knights squad that jumped out of the gates, made up the story in the Friday night square off.

“We were looking to come into tonight with more energy and it was there every set. We had some struggles [last match] with serves and serve receives, but that was much better tonight and the team hustled and had great plays,” stated North Penn assistant coach, stepping in as head coach for the match, Jynell Brunt.

The serves were better in the Friday night match against the Trojans indeed, as highlighting the North Penn set 1 win was a floater onto the Wissahickon side of the net followed by an ace from freshman, Kylie McTaggart, that put North Penn into a late set lead of 20-13. The race to 25 was capped off from the serve of fellow underclassmen, sophomore, Charlotte Patterson, who capped off the first set with a 25-16 victory for the Knights.

“We were trying to bring more energy and worked on passes and our serving, both giving and receiving, to get better sets to our hitters [leading up to tonight]. Before the game we talked about how we have to give it our all and go for every ball,” explained Patterson on the first set victory.

A set 1 victory for the Knights did in fact carry momentum into set 2, as if there was no intermission between sets. Patterson collected back-to-back aces to kick off the Knights set two dominant victory, with a similar set score to the first of the night, as the Knights won 25-17. Up 2 sets to none, and the third of the night underway, it was at this time that Wissahickon worked up some sparks of their own in the Friday night rivalry game.

Maliyah Boone’s block on Valerie McGriff’s kill attempt and a pin-point finishing hit to the back left corner of North Penn’s end of the court from the hot hand of Haley Leauby, propelled the Trojans over the Knights, for the only time in the entire match, as the Trojans took set 3, 25-18.

“The third set held a lot of up and down energy, and we just needed to get back to the passing and kills in the earlier sets. We got our act together and gave it our all following that and in our 4th set we showed it,” commented senior captain, Natalie Wernly.

The early act of set 4 went as good as it could have for the Knights as a 4-0 lead quickly squashed any moment Wissahickon carried over from set 3. However, the Trojans made it known that they weren’t going to roll over to their conference foe as they tallied up 7 straight points before a North Penn response, thanks to Wernly’s vertical reach above the net to send a kill attempt right back in the face of Wissahickon’s, Delanie Roman, and her kill attempt.

Prasham Jobanputra
Erin Boland sets the ball for her teammates.

“Natalie (Wernly) had some great serves tonight and “The Hammer” [Wernly] had the kills we needed and pulled through tonight when we needed it. We avoided being aced and did better with serve receiving and seniors like Natalie and Erin [Boland], who set great for us tonight, did great and brought the energy,” stated junior captain, Riley Gillmer.

A back and forth share of points, possessions, and momentum shifts made up the story of the rest of the 4th set where Wissahickon did their best to force a 5th set. However, a Wernly missile into the stiff arms of Wissahickon’s Jessica Blackney and a serve out of bounds from the Trojans, concluded the set in favor of the Knights at, 25-22, and sent the home crowd out of the building happy and an assistant coach ecstatic with her girls picking up their first win of the 2019 season.

“Everyone contributed tonight and played really well even with some new transitions and rotations in the third set battle, and as long as we keep that energy, we are gonna keep up with some good competition like this team we played tonight. We were able to play at a point tonight where passes and sets would allow players like Natalie to put it away. We played a strong team tonight and we are looking to carry that energy we had tonight,” concluded Coach Brunt.

North Penn carries a 1-2 record into the September weekend and will play in a tournament Saturday, at CB South High School.