GRIMES — Digging out of a 0-2 hole in a best-of-five volleyball match is not an easy task. Newton’s Cardinals did it, but the comeback fell just short.
Losing the first two sets of Tuesday’s Little Hawkeye Conference match to host Dallas Center-Grimes, the Cardinals drew a line and dug their heels in. They were looking at a 13-8 deficit in the third set.
Kacy Cazett had a four-point run at the service line for the Cardinals to cut the gap. The DCG Fillies still had control, building a 22-18 lead.
Bailey Beaderstadt served up three straight points for Newton to get it to 22-21. The Cardinals lost the serve before tying it up. They set up Michaela Bleeker, who delivered a kill to get the volleyball back. Bleeker’s stint at the service line resulted in three consecutive points for a 25-23 win.
Holly Vander Pol opened the fourth set with a five-point service run with Bleeker working the net. Up 6-2, the Cardinals rattled off seven consecutive points with Amber Karsten serving. Bleeker had two kills and a block in that span. The Cardinals held the momentum, winning 25-19.
It appeared the Cardinals were on their way to pulling the conference win out on the road. Vander Pol and the Cardinals had a six-point run to begin the deciding fifth set, which is played to 15 points. They were up 7-3, then the wheels came off again.
The Fillies ended up beating the Cardinals 25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 19-25, 15-13. It was Newton’s first loss in LHC play. They are 3-1 in conference and 16-7 overall.
“We’re going to learn from this,” said Cardinal head coach Kim Florke. “We’re not going to make this a defining moment. We’re making it a learning tool to get ready for Saturday, which is going to be really tough.”
The Cardinals host their annual Cardinal Invitational Saturday. Des Moines North, Eddyville-Blakseburg, Boone, Carlisle, Pella, Harlan and Knoxville join Newton in the tournament. More on the tournament will be in the Daily News later this week.
Newton’s team has the goal of a Little Hawkeye Conference championship. Florke said that was still in place. She said one loss doesn’t put the Cardinals out of the running for the top spot.
“It’s not over. We just stubbed our toe a little bit on that front,” she said
Bleeker, who leads the Little Hawkeye in kills, was on task Tuesday. Bleeker pounded down 24 kills, going 67-of-76 on attacks. She also came up with 16 digs, was 8-of-10 serving with one ace among her five service points. Bleeker made one solo block and one assisted block.
Karsten served for 11 points in the match, going 17-of-18 at the service line. Karsten had four kills, three digs, and four set assists. Megan Pressgrove went 14-of-16 serving with 10 points and four ace serves.
Vander Pol was 25-of-26 serving for 12 points and had two ace serves. She also had six kills at the net, and led the team with 20 digs. Beaderstadt served for seven points and had two aces. Beaderstadt had three kills and one assisted block.
“We weren’t focused the first two sets. We knew exactly what they were going to do, and they did that. They kind of tore us apart. We didn’t do anything to get back at it,” Florke said. “We talked again about consistency.
“We have to gain that consistenty if we’re going to get where we want to go. I made a couple of changes as we went — trying to get them back on track.”
Pressgrove put up 18 set assists, going 85-of-91 on set attempts. Sydney Bergman had five assists.
Cazett came up with 13 digs, while Pressgrove had 11 digs. Jennifer Ventling downed two kills, and made one solo block at the net for the Cards.
“The girls fought back then we missed three serves when we were up 7-3 in that fifth set, which really hurt us allowing them to close the gap,” Florke said. “You get into that fifth set, the pressure is greater. You see who’s going to be composed and who’s not going to be composed. They (the Fillies) made plays when they needed to, and we didn’t.”