The Newton High School volleyball team is now dealing from a position of strength in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I play after a triangular sweep Tuesday in Maize.


The Newton High School volleyball team is now dealing from a position of strength in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I play after a triangular sweep Tuesday in Maize.

Newton downed Salina South 25-12, 25-17; and division co-leader Maize 25-16, 25-19. Maize downed South 25-20, 25-16.

The Railers improve to 16-1, 6-0 in AV-CTL I play. Newton also avenges a loss to Maize Saturday in the Maize Invitational.

“Saturday was a tough loss because we lost in three and we wanted to reach the championship game,” Newton coach Jamie Dibbens said. “That one got away from us. Overall, I felt like we played with a lot of emotion and energy. This one was important because it is a league match. This puts us in a position to win the league. This feels nice to get a win here, but we can’t afford to lose to anybody else if we want to win the league. We can’t take anybody as a light game. At the same time, we have to come back here and play them again.”

Dibbens picked up her 200th career win as a head coach at the tournament. She is now 10 wins away from 200 wins at Newton.

Emily Hiebert led the Railers with 10 kills and a downed block. Katie Loescher had four kills and three downed blocks, Abbie Lehman had three kills and a downed block. Lauren Duerksen had a kill and three downed blocks, two solo.

“We watched film on them in practice on Monday,” Hiebert said. “We cut down on our hitting errors. We saw their holes. We saw in film where they like to hit, so we put up a better block.”

Hiebert said Dibbens gave the team some motivation going into the match.

“She gave us little slips of paper from an article that said ‘On the cusp,’ ” Hiebert said. “We wanted to show we weren’t on the cusp.”

McKenzie Hartzog had six kills for Maize. She led the team in aces with three.

Newton fell behind Maize 5-1 in the first game, but rallied for a 9-1 run, forcing an Eagle time out. Newton extended its lead to 20-10, forcing Maize to take its second time out. The Eagles drew as close as six before Newton put the game away on a Lauren Duerksen kill.

Newton had four aces and one serving error in the first game. Maize had one ace and five serving errors.

Newton jumped out 6-1 in the second game, but Maize came back to lead by as many as two points. Tied 19-19, Newton ran off six straight points for the match.

“Last Saturday, we didn’t have the defense against Maize,” Dibbens said. “We came back against Kapaun(-Mt. Carmel) and we played great defense. We carried that into tonight.”... We blocked well. Emily, Katie and Abbie blocked well. And we had great coverage, so if the ball got through, we were able to play it.”

Against Salina South, Newton jumped ahead 11-3 in the first game. The Railers extended its advantage to 23-10, giving up two more points before putting the game away.

Tied 8-8 in the second game, Newton made a 6-0 run and held South off the rest of the way. Jocelyn Cochran’s spike went down for match point.

Newton sweeps South in league play.

“We played them a little better than we did last week,” Dibbens said. “They changed their offense a little from last week, and they were struggling a bit. We played solid in that first game, which we don’t always do.”

Newton hosts the Newton Invitational at 8 a.m. Saturday. Newton is in a pool with Andover Central, Wichita Heights, Dodge City and Wichita North.

“We have a tough, tough pool,” Dibbens said. “It seems like our tournament has gotten a lot tougher than it was when I started coaching. We need that if we want to be successful.”