VALLEY CENTER — The Newton High School volleyball team kept its run of state trips alive after winning the Class 5A sub-state Saturday in Valley Center.
Newton opened the day with a win over Topeka West 25-9, 25-10. Newton downed Wichita Heights in the finals 25-19, 25-19.
“Our serve receive wasn’t as good as it has been,” Newton coach Jamie Dibbens said. “We gave up a couple points without having a chance to swing at it. We won’t be able to do that next week. It’s been a great season. We’re not satisfied where we are right now. We want to play the second day at state. This team has a chance if we put everything together.”
Newton jumped out 8-2 in the first set against Wichita Heights. With Newton up 12-3, Heights had to burn both time outs in the Railer run. The Falcons then rallied back to within five, 15-10, and force a Railer time out.
Tied 7-7 in the second set, Newton made a 5-0 run. Heights got back within two, 16-14, to force a Railer time out. After a pair of Newton points, Heights called a time out.
Heights got back within one, 19-18, but went on a 6-1 run to return to state.
Taylor Antonowich led Newton with 11 kills, followed by freshman Asha Regier with nine. Kyndal Bacon had four kills. Caroline Barger had three kills. Maggie Remsberg had two kills and a downed block. DesiRay Kernal had a kill and downed a block. Sydney Fernandez served two aces.
For Wichita Heights, 24-14, Trinity Conley had seven kills with a downed block. Kendra Gooden had four kills and two downed blocks. Allejandria Forbes had two kills and three downed blocks. Grace Gannon served two aces.
“I’m really excited,” Antonowich said. “Going to state means so much my senior year. It’s exciting to go up there. I’m proud of the team. It’s great to get up there, but we really want to do some damage this year. We suffered a little bit today in serve receive, but our hitting really took over. We took them out of system.”
“I got really excited when I got a set my way,” Regier said. “I was excited to be here. It was a lot of fun. It’s really exciting to show what I can do.”
Regier, a freshman, had several sisters play for the Railers at state.
“It’s going to be really weird to be the one playing, instead of watching,” Regier said. “I learned a lot from them. It’s going to be exciting to be on the court up there.”
Newton jumped out 8-1 in the first set against Topeka West. Six Railer hitting errors allowed West to get within two points, 9-7. Newton took a time out and made a 10-0 run en route to putting the set away.
Antonowich had eight kills. Barger had four kills and a downed block. Remsberg and Regier each had four kills. Kernal and Bacon each had three kills. Antonowich served four aces.
Kim Morrow had four kills for West, 10-20. Gabbr Rivera had three kills and Brendaja Holloman had two.
“It was nice to get a lot of our girls in against them, but not knowing anything about them was a scary situation,” Dibbens said. “They play tough competition all the time. I didn’t want to come in and underestimate them.”
The Railers are 36-6 and compete Friday at the Class 5A state tournament. Other state qualifiers include Andover (29-11), Goddard (36-5), Bishop Carroll (27-12), Lansing (33-6), Leavenworth (14-24), St. Thomas Aquinas (25-13) and St. James Academy (34-6). Newton will face Bishop Carroll, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. James Academy in pool play.
“Everything has to be on,” Antonowich said. “Everything has to be together. We have to talk. We have to serve receive well. It will take a lot of energy. We have to be aggressive and not hold anything back.”
“We can’t have hitting errors early on in the match,” Dibbens said. “We have to stay energized when playing at that level.”
Class 5A Sub-State
at Valley Center
Newton def. Topeka West 25-9, 25-10
Wichita Heights def. Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 27-25, 25-18
Newton def. Wichita Heights 25-19, 25-19
Maize def. Emporia 25-17, 25-19
Andover def. Valley Center 25-20, 25-11
Andover def. Maize 20-25, 25-13, 25-17