The Newton High School volleyball team faced a lot of opponents in a short period of time, finishing 3-1 and taking third place Saturday at the Newton Invitational.
In pool play, Newton downed third-ranked (KVA, Class 4A) Nickerson 25-17, 24-26, 25-11; and Salina South 24-26, 25-14, 25-14; before falling to fifth-ranked (Class 5A, but moving to Class 4A) McPherson 25-18, 25-21.
In the third-place match, Newton topped Goddard Eisenhower 26-24, 25-20.
"The first two matches went three. I’m glad we came out 3-1 on the day," Newton coach Jamie Dibbens said. "Every time we step out there, I can see our potential. Our focus right now is to win against a great team. That’s what we need to turn the corner."
Against Nickerson, Asha Regier scored 20 kills, followed by Gracie Rains with 13. Newton served 10 aces, led by Marah Zenner with four, Lindsey Antonowich with three and Regier with two. Rains and Lindsey Antonowich each downed two blocks. Regier had 22 digs, followed by Lindsey Antonowich with 13, Olivia Antonowich with 12 and Zenner with 10. Zenner set 35 assists.
Against South, Regier posted 18 kills, while Rains had 11 kills. Olivia Antonowich served four aces. Lindsey Antonowich had 17 digs, followed by Regier with 15, Rains with 13 and Olivia Antonowich with 13. Zenner set 35 assists.
Against McPherson, Regier had 10 kills and Rains had nine. Lindsey Antonowich downed two blocks. Regier had seven digs. Zenner set 21 assists.
"In the second set, we went 10 rotations in a row without letting them score on the serve," Dibbens said. "That’s huge, but at the same time, we weren’t scoring on our serve to capitalize."
Against Eisenhower, Regier had 11 kills, followed by Rains with nine. Abby Koontz served four aces. Regier had nine digs, followed by Zenner with seven. Zenner set 19 assists.
"Our focus against Eisenhower was to serve well so that we could get the momentum," Dibbens said. "In the second set, we had five aces off the bat. We got comfortable with that lead (at 18-5), but that can come back to bite you. We finished for the win."
Newton is 14-5 and plays Tuesday at Hutchinson with Derby. Both Hutchinson and Derby are ranked in the Class 6A poll.
"Hutch has been playing pretty solid," Dibbens said. "We’ve played Derby twice, but that hasn’t been a league match. We do have to understand what’s on our plate going into that."