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Tigers edge Cardinals in tight four-set match

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 11:00 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 11:06 a.m. CST

its own to get within 12-11, at which the teams started trading points. They traded the next 12 points and the Cards led 19-17 before the Tigers used a 4-0 run to take a 21-19 lead. After swapping the next few scores, Grinnell had game point at 24-22. But two Bleeker kills and a push from senior Katelyn Camp gave Newton its own game point at 25-24. The Tigers didn’t flinch, tying the game three more times before going ahead 28-27 with a push, and they won it as a Bleeker push landed just long.

Game two was close throughout until Grinnell pulled away right at the end. Newton led 8-7 before the Tigers used a 7-2 run to take control at 13-9. That lead eventually became 18-13 before the Cardinals had a quick 3-0 run with a kill from junior Ventling and an ace from Bleeker to pull within 18-16. But Newton would get no closer. Grinnell led 21-18 before ending the game on a 4-0 run to take a 2-0 overall lead.

Momentum swung back-and-forth in the first half of game three. Grinnell got out to a 5-0 lead, and then Newton tied it at 5. The Tigers used another 5-0 run to go up 11-6, at which point it seemed the Cardinals lost their fire. But Florke called a timeout to regroup, and it worked. Newton responded with a 7-0 run that included three kills from Bleeker and two from Ventling to take a 13-11 lead. Newton was still in good shape up 16-13 before Grinnell went on a 5-1 run to go ahead 18-17. But the Cardinals weren’t ready to go home yet and closed strong. They went up 19-18 and then ended game three on a 6-0 run that included two-straight Bleeker kills.

“We just regained our composure in the third game and started playing our volleyball instead of worrying about things we couldn’t control,” Florke said. “We did a little better job of passing there.”

Game four was as close as expected. Newton was down 6-3 early before using a 7-2 run to go up 10-8. After a 4-0 run put the Cards ahead 16-13 a little later, they seemed poised to force a winner-take-all fifth game. But it wasn’t to be. Grinnell went on a 7-1 run to go up 20-17, traded the next few points with Newton and then scored the game’s last three to win 25-21.

“They keep the ball in play and make it frustrating for you,” Florke said about the Tigers. “We lost our composure when we shouldn’t have.”

Bleeker finished with a team-high 15 kills and 23 digs for Newton, while junior Amber Karsten added 21 digs and went a perfect 18-for-18 serving with five aces. Junior Holly Vander Pol went 17-for-18 serving, had seven kills and 18 digs, Venting had 10 kills and senior Katelyn Camp totaled 31 assists.

Next up for the Cardinals is a home match against LHC-leader and 13th-ranked Oskaloosa (13-10, 4-0) next Tuesday. Newton already knows its first postseason opponent, as the regional volleyball pairings were released earlier this week. The Cardinals will host rival Pella on Oct. 22.


Game scores: G 29-27, G 25-28,

N 25-19, G 25-21

Newton stats — Serving: Amber Karsten 18-18, Holly Vander Pol 17-18, Katelyn Camp 8-8, Jennifer Ventling 6-6, Bailey Beaderstadt 16-18, Michaela Bleeker 13-15. Aces: Beaderstadt 5, three with 1. Kills: Bleeker 15, Ventling 10, Vander Pol 7, Camp 4, Beaderstadt 3, Karsten 2. Digs: Bleeker 23, Karsten 21, Vander Pol 18, Kacy Cazett 8, Camp 7, Beaderstadt 3. Assists: Camp 31.

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