April 1, 2021 – By NJP

The thought that Immaculate Heart could lose a game to a NJ team for just the second time in three years seemed unlikely, especially on April Fool’s Day. But Northern Highlands was just too much for the Blue Eagles today as they swept IHA two straight in two battles 26-24 and 28-26. The Highlanders rise to 7-1 and IHA drops to 3-1.

Junior setter Ruby van der Heide quarterbacked the offense, posted 20 assists, and shared “Our captains did a great job of hyping the team up before the game, and we came in there prepared to fight. In the end, our defense and offense came together, and we were able to pull off the win.”

Abby Chu, the Highlanders all-world libero, had 14 digs over two sets and told us… “I think that we all played amazing individually, but even better as a team. IHA is definitely our toughest competition and it truly was a great and competitive game on both sides. Overall, I’m so incredibly proud of how we came together and fought through!”

Outside Esmae Oehler who posted 18 kills, 5 digs and an ace was pretty pumped after the game. She told us, “today we took advantage of the opportunity in front of us. I’m so proud of how we fought. We earned that win. We came out hungry, but Northern Highlands is still hungry for more. We’re not done yet.”

Alyssa Lowther posted 8 kills and Brookelyn Talmadge had 7 for IHA. Olivia Coughlin posted 22 assists for the Blue Eagles.

This will shake up the NJ State Rankings for sure. In another big upset, North Hunterdon was taken down by Hillsborough. That’s NJP’s pre-season #1 and #2 losing on the same night.

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