Demarest had worked feverishly throughout the offseason to learn from its shortcomings and develop an astute confidence that the group would be able to avenge its two-game Tournament of Champions loss to Immaculate Heart Academy.
Truth be told, it was an accomplishment in itself that the Norsewomen were able to storm through the Garden State and finally meet the region’s most feared volleyball team on the sport’s grand stage. But Demarest wanted more, and that hunger has spilled into this current campaign.
Cruising through the Bergen County Tournament is the first step toward gaining steam and returning to the state title game with momentum, so the Norsewomen are focusing on one test at a time.
And a very big test lies ahead.
Demarest extended its winning streak to 17 games and shined in a two-game tune-up victory over Ramapo on Thursday. Putting away a potent county foe by scores of 25-9, 25-19 wasn’t the hard part, though.
Now, a meeting with top-seed and defending champion IHA in the county semifinals is slated to begin in less than 24 hours.
The Norsewomen improved to 19-2 overall and are currently listed No. 6 in the MSG Varsity New Jersey girls volleyball poll, which came out Tuesday, but they defeated No. 3 River Dell in the event’s quarterfinals.
Fifth-seeded Demarest made it a clean sweep over River Dell (20-1) with superior serving. Setter Brooke Runge had a team-high eight service points and 20 assists, while fellow sophomore Hailey Riede served six points, including four aces, and added six kills in the 25-12, 25-21 triumph.
A major reason for the team’s surge has been senior hitter Haley Hirsch, who continues to thrive after missing the first half of the season with a high ankle sprain. This matchup with Ramapo was no different, as the Norsewomen got off to a hot start and never looked back.
There’s no doubt IHA, which defeated Fair Lawn in two games in the other quarterfinal on Tuesday, will have its hand full with this bunch.
Meanwhile, Ramapo fell to 14-7 overall. The Green Raiders were coming off a 25-11, 25-14 win over Teaneck earlier in the week, but then fell to Bogota and star hitter Julia Tapor, 25-9, 25-14 on Tuesday in another Bergen quarterfinal.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter