The Newton High School volleyball team clinched a tie for its third straight Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I title and 14th league title overall after a triangular sweep at Ravenscroft Gym.
Newton stopped Salina Central 25-10, 25-16; and Hutchinson 25-17, 25-9. Hutchinson topped Central 25-12, 25-20.
Newton improves to 32-6, 10-1 in AV-CTL I play. Newton entered the night one match ahead of Maize. Newton also holds a slim lead over Maize for the top seed in the Valley Center regional pool.
“I wasn’t very happy with our loss to Maize last week, but at the same time, we came out of that and learned quite a bit about ourselves as a team,” Newton coach Jamie Dibbens said. “If we’re going to lose, we’re going to take advantage of it and learn from it.”
Three seniors were honored for the Railers — Taylor Antonowich, Kyndal Bacon and Caroline Barger. All three were active in the offense for the team.
“We’re all really close,” Barger said. “We’re best friends, not only on the court, but off the court. We wanted to make memories tonight, not just for ourselves, but for the juniors, sophomores and freshmen. We worked really hard to keep the tradition going. When we come back, we want to make sure the tradition is safe. The difference tonight was we kept the energy level up and making sure we were having fun.”
“I feel like we played energetic,” Bacon said. “I feel like it was a memorable moment. It was our last home games, so it was exciting — sort of sad, but exciting. We played as a team. We did that at the tournament as well. We’ve been trying to be aggressive and that’s what did it for us.”
“In the last game, we really wanted to make it memorable,” Antonowich said. “We started started making different cheers for each other everytime we got a kill. It was such a fun experience.”
“These seniors have really put in a lot of work in the off-season,” Dibbens said. “They keep getting better and better. They played competitively year around since they were sixth graders. It made them stronger. Taylor is pretty special all the way around. Even listening to other coaches, they’re like ‘Oh man, 13 she’s really tough.’ Kyndal is pretty underestimated because she’s so small. She gets to every single ball. She runs right out of the gym. She hustles so well. Caroline loves the game. She’s a big block in the front row. She does her job very well. They have all been fun to coach.”
Newton had one day of rest and one day of practice to prepare for the triangular after playing six matches Saturday and taking second at the Derby Invitational.
“It was hard,” Barger said. “But Saturday taught us a lot. We knew we could beat good teams like Washburn Rural. If we have a good pass, we can beat anybody.”
“It was tough coming back, but senior night is such a great experience,” Antonowich said. “We had a lot of energy. We just have to keep up the energy. We have to improve our pass receive. We have to put everything together.”
Newton jumped out 11-1 in the first set against Central. Leading 15-7, Newton made a 9-0 run. Central held off three set points before Antonowich put down a spike to end it.
Newton struggled early in the second set, but came back to pull away.
Antonowich had eight kills and a pair of downed blocks to lead Newton. Maggie Remsberg had six kills and a downed block. DesiRay Kernal had five kills and a downed block. Asha Regier had four kills. Berger had three kills and a downed block.
Antonowich served three aces. Regier had two.
For Central, Elisa Backes had three kills and a downed block. Delany Nash had three kills.
Newton jumped out 12-4 in the first set against Hutchinson. Hutchinson came back to within five, 20-15, but Newton was able to win the set.
Newton jumped out 12-2 in the second set and allowed just seven more points the rest of the way.
“Once we get the pass down, we’re really dangerous,” Bacon said. “We were getting hits from a lot of players.”
“Our passing started to pick up and we started putting the ball down,” Antonowich said. “we started getting them out of system. They couldn’t send anything back.”
Remsberg led Newton’s attack with eight kills, followed by Kernal with five kills and two downed blocks, Regier with six kills, Barger with three kills and a downed block and Antonowich with three kills. Remsberg served three aces, followed by Antonowich with two.
For Hutchinson, Morgan Armbrust had five kills, followed by Gabie Posch with two kills and a downed block and Tina Robertson and Peyton Allen with two kills each. McKenzie Ontjes served two aces.
Hutchinson jumped out 5-1 in the first set against Central. The Mustangs were able to get as close as 13-10, but then gave up six straight points as the Salt Hawks were able to cruise for the set.
Hutchinson served 10 aces in the set, six by Lonna Porter.
Central trailed 6-1 in the second set, but came back to take a 9-8 lead. Tied 12-12, Hutchinson made a 6-1 lead and held on for the match.
Armbrust led Hutchinson with six kills and three downed blocks. Posch had five kills and four downed blocks. Aulora Eales, Allen and Porter each had three kills. Porter finished with seven aces, followed by Eales, Allen and Ontjes with three each.
For Central, Myah Ward had five kills. Backes had four kills and a downed block, followed by Holly Sanderson with four kills and Nash with three kills. Sanderson served three aces, followed by Nash with two.
Newton ends the regular season at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Andover with Campus. A win over Campus gives Newton the league title outright.
Sub-state follows Oct. 21 at Valley Center.
“Both Andover and Campus are very good teams,” Dibbens said. “Campus is scrappy. Both matches are very important in the (sub-state) standings.”
Newton def. Salina Central 25-10, 25-16
Hutchinson def. Salina Central 25-12, 25-20
Newton def. Hutchinson 25-17, 25-9
Newton def. Salina Central 25-21, 25-10
Salina Central def. Hutchinson 25-27, 25-19, 15-13
Newton def. Hutchinson 25-19, 25-21