“Believe in your abilities. Believe in each other. Believe you can win.”
Sound advice given to Newton Senior High’s Cardinals by head coach Kim Florke before Tuesday’s 2013 Cardinal Varsity Volleyball Invitational. The Cardinals rolled to a 4-1 mark and second place in their season-opening home tournament.
The only loss came at the hands of Iowa Class 5A’s No. 6 Dowling Catholic, 21-18, 21-7. Dowling Catholic finished at 5-0 and won the tournament. The six teams had to deal with higher temperatures in the air-conditioned gyms at NHS, simply because of the extreme hot August weather outside.
Lynnville-Sully High’s Hawks had a tough run in the tournament. The Class 1A Hawks went 0-5, losing a heartbreaker to Oskaloosa in three sets.
Newton, which was 2-1, used the 20-minute break after three rounds of action to mentally prepare for ADM.
Coming off the break, it was Class 4A’s 10th-ranked ADM Tigers against the 12th-ranked Cardinals. Newton battled back from a 6-3 deficit in the first set. A kill by Amber Karsten tied the score at 13-13 and gave the volleyball to the Cardinals.
Karsten served up two straight points to put Newton on top. The Cardinals held off the Tigers. Michaela Bleeker served the final three points of the set, and the winning point was scored on a block by Jennifer Ventling.
Ventling’s play at the net was big in the second set to give the Cardinals an 11-7 edge. ADM battled back to within a point, 14-13. Karsten was back at the service line, and Bleeker, who recorded 39 kills in the five matches, delivered a scoring kill to open a three-point run.
The Tigers went on a run of their own to go up 20-18. Bailey Beaderstadt used a tip at the net to stave off set point, giving the Cardinals control of the service. Beaderstadt and the Cardinals kept the serve. The set and match winner came when Bleeker’s hit was blocked out of bounds by the Tigers, touching off a celebration.
“It meant a ton to us. We haven’t beaten them in a long time. A lot of times we’ve lost in three sets like last year here in our tournament,” Beaderstadt said of the 21-17, 22-20 win over ADM. “It felt really good to get that win under our belts.”
Karsten said ADM is always a tough team. She said the Cardinals wanted to knock the Tigers off “since they were ranked ahead of us in the preseason poll.”
Going back to the main gym after the win over ADM, the Cardinals finished off the night of action with a 21-14, 21-12 win over Little Hawkeye Conference foe Oskaloosa. Newton started the tournament by defeating Lynnville-Sully’s Hawks 21-14, 21-7 and Carlisle 21-11, 21-17. Then lost to Dowling Catholic.
“I was very, very pleased with the way the girls played tonight, especially after the way we scrimmaged Saturday (at Johnston). We were not very good, so I didn’t know how we’d come out and react,” said Florke. “The girls took it to heart, worked hard and got after it.”
She said the first thing she said to her team at the conclusion of the night’s action was “that was really fun to watch.” Florke said it’s been awhile since she’s had a Newton team that is just fun to watch, fun to cheer for and fun to get behind and support.
Beaderstadt was Newton’s top server on the night, serving up 36 points and had eight ace serves. Bleeker served for 27 points and had four aces while Holly Vander Pol served up 21 points, including three aces. Karsten served 20 points. Megan Pressgrove had six service points and Ventling had one ace among her four service points.
“Overall, our serving was really good. We hit spots with the serves, and that’s going to help us down the road,” Florke said. “We did have too many service errors in the first set with Oskaloosa. Our serve receive can always get better.”
The Cardinals served 89 percent as a team for the five-match competition, going 158-of-177 from the service line.
Against ADM, Newton was 38 of 39, and in the Carlisle match, the Cardinals were 35 of 37.
At the net, Bleeker pounded down 39 kills to lead Newton. The senior outside hitter had 10 kills against Lynnville-Sully and 11 in the Carlisle match. Ventling connected for 19 kills and Vander Pol had 17 kills. Beaderstadt had eight kills and Karsten had three kills.
“Our setters are inexperienced. They’re getting better and are far exceeding my expectations right now,” Florke said.
Senior Sydney Bergman was credited with 29 set assists and Pressgrove, a freshman, had 28 set assists. Bergman and Pressgrove combined to go 141-for-174 in setting the volleyball for the tournament.
Vander Pol came up with 19 digs, defensively for Newton. Karsten and Bleeker each had 18 digs while senior libero Kacy Cazett handled 13 digs.
“No, there were no easy matches in this tournament. We expected tough competition from each one of the teams and we got it,” Florke said. “We overcame the mistakes, which is a sign of a good volleyball team.”
Florke pointed to being down by six points to Carlisle. She said she took a timeout, then the Cardinals chipped away and went on to win. Dowling Catholic had the Cardinals down 9-0 in the first set.
“The girls came back and tied it (18-18) and had a chance to win. It’s a good sign that they were able to settle down, calm themselves and get back in the matches. I asked them how good can you be if you could play at that level (against Dowling Catholic) consistently?” Florke said. “It’s not a matter of ability. It’s a matter of confidence.”
The Cardinals (4-1) are idle until Sept. 5 when they go to ADM.
LYNNVILLE-SULLY lost to Newton then dropped a 21-17, 21-8 decision to Dowling Catholic. Carlisle defeated the Hawks 21-11, 21-14.
The Hawks came back to win the second set against Oskaloosa but fell to the Indians. Oskaloosa won 21-17, 17-21, 15-13. ADM beat Lynnville-Sully 21-16, 21-14 in the final match.
No individual or team statistics for the Hawks were available by press time