Railer spikers sweep triangular
The Newton High School volleyball team had a comfortable set and a tight set in each match of a triangular sweep Thursday at Ravenscroft Gym.
Newton downed Liberal 25-23, 25-13; and eighth-ranked (KVA, Class 4A) Independence 25-6, 25-22.
Against Liberal, Newton struggled receiving the serve in the first set, giving up six aces. The Railers rebounded in the second set.
“We weren’t expecting them to serve aggressive, and they did,” Newton coach Jamie Dibbens said. “That caught us off guard. In the first set, we had six aces on us and we missed four first serves. In that set, that’s 10 points off first contact. That hurt us a little bit. What we’re doing well right now is getting more people involved in the offense. They’re starting to step up. Against Liberal, Teagan Livesay played really well in the middle. She started getting on track with (setter) Marah (Zenner). We’re able to use our hitters in different situations.”
Asha Regier led Newton with eight kills, followed by Gracie Rains with six and Livesay with four. Olivia Antonowich served two aces. Rains had 12 digs. Zenner set 21 assists.
Against Independence, Newton jumped ahead 11-1. Newton allowed just five more points in the set.
The Railers fell behind 5-2 in the second set. Newton gave up another point after a time out, but rallied to tie the set 8-8. Newton fell behind again by as many as six. Newton rallied to tie the set at 18. An Abby Koontz ace put Newton ahead 21-20 and prompted the final Independence timeout of the set. A Zenner ace and a kill off the bump took the Railers to match point. An Independence error ended the match.
“It was nice to win on senior night,” Zenner said. “I just wanted to get it over with, so I just took it into my own hands. I think we came out (in the second set) thinking it was going to be an easy win. They came out like they had nothing to lose. We came around in the middle of the set and got it done. We’re doing well. We lost to two top teams.”
Zenner committed to play for Neosho County Community College in the offseason.
“In the first set, our blocking really set the pace,” Dibbens said. “Downed blocks always get the emotions going. The second set, it wasn’t as much as our emotion was flat, but it was our serve receive. We went flat from there. There are a lot of momentum shifts in volleyball, and you just have to ride them.”
Regier and Rains each had seven kills. Lindsey Antonowich had six. Zenner and Livesay each had four. Regier and Olivia Antonowich each served two aces. Regier downed four blocks, followed by Livesay with two. Regier had 14 digs, followed by Abby Koontz with 10. Zenner set 23 assists.
Newton is 6-2 and plays at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Maize with Campus.
“Adjustments we’ve made in practice I’m pretty confident with,” Dibbens said. “We’ve had some good energy practices. I’m hoping we keep building off that. Maize will serve aggressive too, that’s something we’ll have to prepare for.”
Newton def. Liberal 25-23, 25-13
Liberal def. Independence 25-20, 25-21
Newton def. Independence 25-6, 25-22
Newton def. Liberal 25-18, 25-23
Liberal def. Independence 25-18, 25-18
Newton def. Independence 23-25, 25-15, 15-3