North Platte Community College took care of business on Wednesday, catapulting itself into the catbird seat in Region IX.
In front of a sizable crowd at McDonald-Belton Gymnasium, the Knights (9-9, 2-0 Region IX, Division II) made quick work of conference rival Southeast Community College (3-16, 0-2), winning 25-11, 25-9, 25-17.
After last Thursday’s 3-1 home victory over Central Community College, the defending region champion Knights now control their own destiny in the three-team region with a 2-0 record. Central sits at 1-1, while Southeast is now 0-2.
The Knights still have work to do with upcoming road games on Oct. 7 at Southeast in Beatrice, and Oct. 17 at Central in Columbus. The region winner earns the right to host the Region IX Tournament Nov. 1-2.
"I thought we played well tonight," NPCC head coach Alexa McCall said. "It was an important game for us with it being a region game."
The Knights jumped on the Raiders from first serve and didn’t let up all night.
In the first set, NPCC got off to an 11-9 advantage and cruised the rest of the way. The Knights replicated that formula in the second set, going on a 10-0 run after the set was tied 5-5. Finally, Hershey native Channing Holm slammed home a kill for Southeast to end the run, but NPCC ended the set on a 10-3 run.
It was slightly more competitive in the third set, but again NPCC took charge with leads of 10-3 and 21-14, before winning comfortably by seven to end the match.
The region’s kills leader, Gabby Menghini, headed the Knights attack, registering 13 kills, while Alysen Daniels added seven and Haiden Kreber had five. Erica Hopping led NPCC with 29 assists, while adding two kills and 10 digs. Bailey Chintala led the Knights defensively with 17 digs, while Tania Morales had 11 and Menghini added eight. Taylor Hansen had a team-high four blocks for the Knights, Trinity Langley added three, and Sydney Mullin had a pair.
As a team, NPCC recorded a .330 hitting percentage, had four service errors, along with two aces — both by Menghini.
"We had players step up and play well which will help us going into this weekend," McCall said.
The Knights are riding a four-game win streak as they head into the Johnson County Invite on Friday and Saturday in Overland Park, Kansas. NPCC will play Johnson County Community College and Coffeyville Community College on Friday at 2 and 4 p.m., respectively, then play Fort Scott Community College and Dodge City Community College on Saturday and 9 and 11 a.m.