NEVADA — Newton’s Cardinals haven’t played at home much yet this season. They were on the road again over the weekend, taking third at the Nevada Invitational.
This coming Saturday it will be Go Red. Newton hosts its NHS Invitational with several Little Hawkeye Conference foes coming in as well as others to the Cardinal court. Matches begin at 8:30 a.m.
The Cardinals extended their winning streak to nine matches early Saturday at Nevada. They won all three pool play matches. They dealt out a 21-5, 21-8 loss to Madrid to begin the day.
A warm-up to Tuesday’s Little Hawkeye showdown, the Cardinals knocked off Dallas Center-Grimes 21-10, 21-8. Newton, which is 3-0 in conference play, travels to DCG Tuesday. The varsity match is at 7:15 p.m.
Finishing pool play, the Cardinals defeated Atlantic 21-19, 21-11. They advanced into the championship round of the tournament.
It took two ranked opponents to halt the Cardinal run. Newton lost to Class 3A sixth-ranked Nevada 25-17, 25-19 and to 3A’s 13th-ranked Iowa Falls-Alden 25-23, 25-12.
After going 3-2 in the Nevada tournament, the Cardinals are 16-6 — nine match wins away from a team goal of breaking the NHS season match-victory record. That record is 24 match wins, which was accomplished in 2004.
“We played some pretty good volleyball in pool play,” said Kim Florke, Cardinal head coach. “I would like us to play ahead more, and not have to come from behind to win sets. When we play ahead we can relax, and play stress free. We are not doing that enough for my liking.”
Sydney Bergman and Megan Pressgrove prove to be strong setters for the Cardinals. In the tournament, Pressgrove was credited with 41 set assists, while Bergman had 32 set assists.
Michaella Bleeker, who leads not only the team but the Little Hawkeye Conference in kills, delivered 46 on the day. She had 12 against Atlanic and 10 against Nevada. Holly Vander Pol downed 15 kills, and Amber Karsten had 12 kills for the tournament. Bailey Beaderstadt had nine kills, Pressgrove had eight, and Jennifer Ventling had five kills.
Beaderstadt made two solo blocks at the net and four assisted blocks. Pressgrove had one solo and six assisted blocks. Ventling put up four assisted blocks. Bleeker made one solo block and Vander Pol had one assisted block.
“We had different people step up and play well at different times Saturday,” Florke said. “Megan served and blocked well in pool play. Michaela is hitting the ball well right now. We blocked the ball well with our middles. What we need right now is consistency out of all of our players.”
Vander Pol was credited with 28 digs, followed by Karsten with 26, Bleeker with 25, and Kacy Cazett with 24. Pressgrove made 11 digs. Pressgrove had five of her seven service aces against Madrid. Bleeker served five aces, while Beaderstadt had four ace serves. Karsten had three aces, and Vander Pol had one ace serve.
“We still have areas to improve on, and that is good, because we want to peak at the right time. We hope that is at the end of October to win the conference and regional play,” Florke said.
“We look forward to going to DCG on Tuesday and continuing conference play. We handled them fairly easy on Saturday, but we know if will be tougher to beat them Tuesday. Our goal of winning a conference championship is still intact.”