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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  •  Railers claim two wins in home opener

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  • After spending the opening weeks of the season on the road, the Newton High School volleyball team finally returned home for an Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I triangular with Maize and Salina South. Newton downed South 25-9, 25-11; and Maize 25-22, 25-19. Maize topped South 25-17, 25-13. “A lot of times, I feel like we don’t always play as well at home,” Newton coach Jamie Dibbens said. “I don’t know if it’s nerves or the crowd. Tonight, we battled every point. We worked hard every point. I was happy to see our defense play so scrappy. One of our goals going into the season was outworking our opponents. I feel like we did that tonight.” Newton downed Maize twice in four days, winning in three sets Saturday at the Maize Invitational. Newton beats South twice in a week. “We just really wanted to push hard,” senior Abbie Lehman said. “We didn’t want to go to a third one. We knew if we won this, we would be back in first place in the league. It’s a lot harder (to win a second time). We just wanted to come out and shut them down. Everyone wanted the win. Everybody was focused on their goals and what they needed to do. “It was nice to have the fans at home. It gets you more excited.” Lehman recently verbally committed to Wichita State to play volleyball, joining teammate Emily Hiebert as a future Shocker. Newton jumped out 7-1 in the first set against Maize, taking advantage of Eagle hitting errors. Maize took a time out and got back within two, 12-10. Maize added a point after a Railer timeout, but Newton came back with a 6-0 run on four Emily Hiebert kills and one by Andrea Baron. Maize again rallied, holding off three set points before the Railers won the game on a service error. In the second game, neither team led by more than one point until, down 8-7, Newton made a 5-0 run and forced a Maize time out. Abbie Lehman added three more spikes to the run after the time out. The Eagles got back within three, 19-16, but Newton put the match away with a 6-3 run. Lehman had nine kills and four downed blocks against Maize. All of her kills came in the second set. Hiebert had nine kills. Jessica Motes had two aces. Mary Kengas and Keiryn Swenson each had six kills. Heather Engel had five kills. “Maize is so good, in my mind, it’s hard to turn around and play them again,” Dibbens said. “This match was more important because it counts in the league. We worked on where they played defense. We tried to prepare for their serves. They tipped really well. They didn’t do that Saturday. We had to adjust to that as we went along. I thought we did a good job of covering that most of the time.” Newton jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first set against Salina South. Lehman had three kills in the run. Newton extended its lead to 18-4, forcing both South time outs. The Railers served five aces in the run. Newton allowed just five more points the rest of the way. Neither team had a service error in the first game. Newton jumped out 9-0 in the second game. Down 21-11, South had four straight hitting errors to end the game. Lehman finished with 12 kills and two downed blocks. Emily Hiebert had seven kills. Andrea Baron had five kills. Hiebert served five aces. For South, Kelsi Baird had three kills and a downed block. Kortney Borcherdin and Emily Webb had two kills each. “It was a game where we work on getting runs, not letting down,” Dibbens said. “We wanted to keep our emotions up in those games.” In the South-Maize match, tied 3-3, Maize went on a 4-0 run. South got back within two, 16-14, but Maize replied with a 9-3 run for the set. Maize jumped out 6-1 in the second set and never looked back. Keiryn Swenson led Maize with seven kills and two downed blocks. Brittany Finney had six kills. Laura Furstenberg had four kills. Mary Kangas and Lexi Hartzog had two aces each. Janai Mitchell had five kills and two downed blocks for South. Emily Webb had two aces. Newton is 13-4, 4-1 in AV-CTL I play. Newton hosts the Newton Invitational at 8 a.m. Saturday. Newton faces Wichita Northwest, Andover Central, Hays and Salina South in pool play. McPherson, Dodge City, Buhler and Wichita Heights play in the opposite pool. “Wichita Northwest is playing very well right now,” Dibbens said. “We didn’t play them this past Saturday, but they are very good. McPherson is there.”   
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