NEWTON — Newton’s Cardinals and Adel-DeSoto-Minburn’s Tigers have met twice in regular-season matches. The series is 1-1 — Newton winning in August at home in two sets and ADM winning at home in early September in two sets.
So, when 12th-ranked Newton (26-12) hosts 14th-ranked ADM (24-12) Thursday in Class 4A Region 4 semifinal play, it’s going to be a tight volleyball match. The match begins at 7 p.m. in the NHS gym.
“It should be a great match to watch and we like our chances with how we have been playing as of late. We didn’t have our full team the last time we played them and I believe that we have improved greatly since the second week of the season,” said Kim Florke, Cardinal head coach.
ADM defeated Grinnell, 25-21, 25-13, 25-14, Monday in regional play. Also in Region 4 on Monday, Ballard beat Saydel, 25-18, 25-12, 25-18. Ballard is at Waverly-Shell Rock Thursday in the other semifinal match.
Thursday’s winners advance to the Region 4 championship match Nov. 5 at Grundy Center. The Region 4 champion advances to the Class 4A state volleyball tournament Nov. 12-15 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.
“After scouting ADM Monday night, we like our chances and we found some things that we can adjust to help us win on Thursday. I think it is going to come down to the team who makes the least mistakes and who passes the ball well,” Florke said.
“The team has been very business-like heading into the ADM match. We are able to break things down more with just the varsity in the gym during practice. We should be rested and ready to go on Thursday. We need a big and loud crowd to help us win that match and advance to the regional final.”
Looking at the Cardinals and Tigers — ADM has 908 kills as a team and Newton has 903 kills; the Cardinals have 205 service aces, serving at 91 percent and the Tigers serve at 91.4 percent — the teams are very close statistically.
Seven seniors lead the Cardinals — Michaela Bleeker, Holly Vander Pol, Amber Karsten, Bailey Beaderstadt, Jennifer Ventling, Sydney Bergman and Kacy Cazett. Bleeker is the top hitter on the team with 371 kills on the season. Vander Pol has put down 163 kills, followed by Karsten with 105. Beaderstadt had 74 kills and Ventling has 71 kills.
Stepping up as a starting setter for the Cardinals this year has been freshman Megan Pressgrove. Pressgrove has 464 set assists and Bergman is credited with 153 set assists. Pressgrove also has 103 kills.
Beaderstadt and Pressgrove are the top blockers at the net with 30 total blocks apiece. Bleeker leads in solo blocks with six and Beaderstadt has five solo blocks. Ventling has 22 block assists and four solo blocks.
Bleeker heads the team’s list of digs with 239 followed by Vander Pol with 234. Cazett, the Cardinals’ libero, had 209 digs and Karsten had 163. Bleeker also sits atop the serving ace list for Newton with 53, followed by Beaderstadt with 42, Pressgrove with 38, Vander Pol with 35, Karsten with 22, Ventling with 12 and Cazett with three.
Others on the varsity roster for the Cardinals are junior Sydney Hemann, sophomores Alyssa Bartels and Frances Lucas and freshman Kaytlin Ahn.
ADM has four players with more than 100 kills on the season led by senior Torrie Hook with 264. Junior Abby Merschman has 54 total blocks for the Tigers — eight are solo stops at the net. Sophomore Brennan Hook has 45 total blocks, six solo. Torrie Hook also has six solo blocks and junior Kenzi Sutton has seven solo blocks.
Junior Marissa Felt is credited with 40 ace serves to lead the Tigers at the service line. Brennan Hook and Felt are setters with 406 set assists and 322 set assists, respectively. Senior Maddie Powers leads the Tigers in digs with 376.