The Newton High School volleyball team finished the season with a 1-2 finish in pool play at the Class 5A state volleyball tournament in Topeka.


The Newton High School volleyball team finished the season with a 1-2 finish in pool play at the Class 5A state volleyball tournament in Topeka.

Newton fell to Topeka Seaman 25-19, 25-18; beat Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 25-21, 25-17; and lost to top-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas 25-21, 25-22.

“None of these girls played here on the 2007 team,” Newton coach Jamie Dibbens said. “This is a very tough gym to come and play well if you’ve never played here before. I think it just took us a while to get going.”

Against Topeka Seaman in the Railers’ opening match of the day, Newton stayed close in both games. Down 19-18 in the first game, Newton gave up a 6-0 run. Tied 18-18 in the second game, the Railers gave up a seven-point run.

“In both games, Seaman just had one big run,” Dibbens said. “Other than that, we went back and fourth. A good team is going to get runs like that. It’s hard to stop a run like that.”

Against Kapaun, Newton jumped ahead 12-9 in the first game, but gave up a 5-0 run Newton regained a 19-15 lead. Up 23-18, Railer errors allowed a three-point Kapaun run. Newton got the next two points on a Hiebert spike and a Kapaun hitting error.

Newton jumped to an 8-1 lead in the second game and traded points the rest of the way. Katie Loescher knocked down the last two points of the match.

Loescher finished with seven kills and two downed blocks. Hiebert had five kills. Casie Ronen had four kills. Kate Lehman had three kills and two downed blocks. Taylor Zwiesler had three kills. Zweisler and Hiebert each served two aces against Kapaun.

Jenny Gerlach had four kills for Kapaun. Kayla Clark and Chelsea Helena each had three. Katie Zwick served two aces.

Newton jumped ahead 8-5 against St. Thomas Aquinas. Newton took a 19-18 lead but gave up three straight points.

Newton took a 7-3 lead in the second game but quickly got reeled back in. Newton took a 22-21 lead but Aquinas responded with four straight, winning on an ace.

“We just kind of relaxed, played and did care what happened,” Dibbens said. “That was kind of the best game of our season. There were some digs by Amber Westney that I thought were unbeliveable.”

Kelsey Sullivan had 10 kills for St. Thomas Aquinas, which reaches the semifinals at 34-4. Lauren Ford had eight kills. Margaret Clark had seven kills and two downed blocks. Clark served two aces.

For Newton, Loescher had five kills. Ronen and Hiebert each had four. Zwiesler had three.

Newton ends the season 34-11. Newton loses four seniors — Ronen, Arin McMullen, Westney and Sadie Minkevitch.

“I have a big junior class,” Dibbens said. “Katie (Loescher) is a sophomore, and Emily is a freshman. It all comes down to how much you play in the off-season. The more you play six-on-six, the better you get. Going into this year, we had a lot more play (club volleyball) than we ever did. I would say about 80 percent. They need to have the same kind of off-season as we had going into this year. We need to keep that focus throughout the year.”

Under new rules implemented last summer, Dibbens was able to work with her players more, something she said helped the team.

“I worked with them about twice a week — once as individuals working on basic skills and once in scrimmages,” Dibbens said.

Newton moves up the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I next fall.

“It’s going to be tough,” Dibbens said. “It will prepare us more for what we’ll see in the post-season. It’s deeper.”

CLASS 5A

at Topeka

Pool A — St. Thomas Aquinas def. Wichita Kapaun, 25-18, 25-14; Topeka Seaman def. Newton, 25-19, 25-18; St. Thomas Aquinas def. Topeka Seaman, 25-22, 25-12; Newton def. Wichita Kapaun, 25-21, 25-17; St. Thomas Aquinas def. Newton, 25-21, 25-22; Topeka Seaman def. Wichita Kapaun, 25-8, 25-17

Pool B — Bishop Miege def. Salina South, 25-8, 23-25, 25-6; Lansing def. Bishop Carroll, 25-17, 25-12; Bishop Miege def. Bishop Carroll, 25-14, 25-14; Lansing def. Salina South, 25-23, 15-25, 25-19; Bishop Miege def. Lansing, 25-12, 25-20; Bishop Carroll def. Salina South, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22

Saturday’s semifinals — Bishop Miege (36-5) vs. Topeka Seaman (33-10); St. Thomas Aquinas (34-4) vs. Lansing (37-7), 10 a.m.