The Castle Lady Knights certainly got off to a good start on Aug. 16 in pursuit of their seventh consecutive SIAC volleyball championship.
Castle defeated conference rival Harrison in three sets by the scores of 25-6, 25-7, and 25-17.
For the Lady Knights, it was their first conference game of the season. They were coming off a victory the Jasper Lady Wildcats in a grueling five-set match that could possibly be a preview in the sectionals.
"Our ball control was outstanding," Castle coach Dan Watson said. "We took good swings and applied pressure on Harrison."
Castle set the tone in the first set as Harrison (1-1) seemed a little intimidated by the Lady Knights size as they jumped out to a 20-1 lead. Last year's conference player of the year and Florida State commit Jessica Nunge was herself as she made her presence felt early on by getting five early kills. She ended the match with 18 kills overall spanning all three sets.
The second set saw Harrison stay relatively close for the first half of the set. With the score tied at seven, the Lady Knights went on a 18-0 run to close the set.
The third set was somewhat up and down for Castle. The game was close in the first part of the set with Castle leading 11-8, the Lady Knights went on a huge run with score showing 22-11. The Harrison Lady Warriors weren't ready to call it quits, however. Harrison was able to score six quick points to cut the lead to 24-17. Castle would score one final point to end the match.
While Jessica Nunge was, well, Jessica Nunge, probably the biggest surprise came from the serving of Emily Gehr. Gehr, playing in her first full year at the varsity level, ended the match with 10 aces.
"I worked really hard on my serving," Gehr said. "I try to keep my cool and focus on what needs to be done one step at a time."
The Lady Knights also showcased two freshman, Lizzie Bailey and Keira Moore, making their debut on Castle's home court. Watson has been impressed with their overall ability at such a young age.
"You would never know they are freshmen. They don't play like it," Watson said. "I think playing in club ball before they reach high school helps them perform at a high level."
The Lady Knights would also win the Bulldog Invitational later in the week on Aug. 18 to improve their overall record to 4-0.