NEWTON — Down one set and trailing by four points midway through the second set, Newton’s Cardinals weren’t in panic mode Thursday night. Over and over this season, the Cardinals had come from behind to win matches.
Rallying from deficits has been the Cardinals’ M.O. (mode of operating) all season. They did it a school-record 26 times in the regular season. But not this time.
Newton did win the second set of Thursday’s Class 4A, Region 4 semifinal match against visiting Adel-DeSoto-Minburn. The Cardinals looked to have righted their ship at home with a 7-2 lead in the third set.
The Tigers roared back to tie it at 8-8, then gained a lead they never gave up. The Tigers pounced hard in the deciding fourth set, leading 13-3 after three servers. ADM brought Newton’s season to an end, walking away with a 25-19, 25-27, 25-18, 25-12 win in regional play.
“We didn’t play well enough to win against a good team like ADM. We had things we knew we could do against them, but we didn’t pass the ball well enough to do it,” said Kim Florke, Newton head coach. “We didn’t serve tough in the first set.
“We weren’t disciplined, which is so unlike us. I don’t know if the pressure just got to us or what, but they (ADM) just out-played us tonight.”
For seven seniors — Bailey Beaderstadt, Sydney Bergman, Michaela Bleeker, Kacy Cazett, Amber Karsten, Holly Vander Pol and Jennifer Ventling — it was their final match in a Cardinal uniform. It was also final match of Florke’s 15-year tenure as NHS volleyball head coach.
“I could not have scripted a better year to go out on,” Florke said following Thursday’s match. “The worked their butts off all season and probably performed past their abilities because of their work ethic. The thought the game of volleyball. They came to practice every day and worked hard.”
That work paid off in a record-setting season in match victories for the 2013 Cardinals. They finished at 26-13. The 26 wins eclipsed the 2004 season’s 24 victories. The Cardinals won the school’s first-ever Little Hawkeye Conference championship in the eight-year history of membership.
“This is still just a game. They’re going to have wonderful lives. They are smart kids. We have three academic all-staters on this team. They’re going to be very successful in whatever they do. It’s just been a pleasure to be around them the past three years,” said Florke, who concluded her coaching career at NHS at 265-253-33.
Newton had trouble getting started Thursday against ADM. The Cardinals couldn’t get points off serving and lost 25-19 in the first set.
They fell behind 16-11 in the second set, but a kill by Vander Pol put the volleyball back in the Cardinal’s hands. Vander Pol went to the service line with Beaderstadt, Bleeker and freshman Megan Pressgrove on the front line. In a five-point run by Newton, Beaderstadt had a tip along with two assisted blocks and Bleeker cranked down a kill.
It turned into a back-and-forth affair. Bleeker was serving and moved the Cardinals to within a point of winning the set, but a reversed call by the officials made it 23-23. The Tigers got up 24-23 then had a player get into the net. The set was knotted at 25-25.
Ventling served the next two points — kills by Bleeker and Karsten — to give the Cardinals a 27-25 win. It was 1-1.
A four-point run at the service line by Beaderstadt in the third set had Newton in charge of a 7-2 lead. That quickly vanished into an 8-8 tie. ADM grabbed an 11-9 lead and steadily built to a 25-18 win.
The Tigers used a 7-0 serving start to take complete charge of the fourth set. They had another four-point run to lead 13-3.
“We just never got our game going,” Florke said.
Cazett was credited with 11 digs, going 22-of-27 in serve receive for Newton. Bleeker had 13 digs and Vander Pol came up with nine digs. Karsten, who was 17-of-20 in serve receive, had eight digs.
Bleeker led the net attack with 16 kills, going 53-of-64 on attacks. Vander Pol, 26-of-35, delivered nine kills. Pressgrove had seven kills, followed by Karsten and Ventling with three kills each, and Beaderstadt with one.
Vander Pol served for seven points and had one ace while Beaderstadt had six points served and one ace. Bleeker served for five points. Karsten had three service points and one ace. Pressgrove had three service points and Ventling served up two points.
Pressgrove was credited with 28 set assists, going 92-of-99 setting the ball. Beaderstadt, Ventling, Bleeker and Pressgrove each had one block assist.