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Pressgrove signs to play Clarke volleyball

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 10:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 11:07 a.m. CDT
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(Jocelyn Sheets/Daily News)
Newton High senior Megan Pressgrove signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Clarke University in Dubuque next year. On hand for Monday’s signing were Pressgrove’s parents, Sherry and Tony Pressgrove, seated. Also attending, standing left to right, Clarke assistant coach Laurie Schroeder, Clarke head coach Chris Miron, Newton High girls’ tennis coach Erik Zehr, Newton High head volleyball coach Ashley Carter and former NHS head volleyball coach Kim Florke.

Look up impact player in the Newton High School volleyball record book and Megan Pressgrove will be among those Cardinal players listed.

Pressgrove has been a four-year starter for the Cardinals on the volleyball court. On Monday, the Newton High senior made it official where she will play college volleyball. Pressgrove signed a letter of intent to play for Clarke University in Dubuque.

Pressgrove began her high school career as a freshman setter and outside hitter on the 2013 NHS team, which won the school’s lone Little Hawkeye Conference volleyball championship. She set the ball for then-senior Michaela Bleeker, who led the team and the LHC in kills, and Bleeker will be a senior on the Clarke team next year.

“I really liked Clarke’s volleyball program, but also the size of the school overall. Another factor was Clarke’s science department facilities are almost brand new,” Pressgrove said. “It was a great fit for me athletically and academically.”

Pressgrove, who has been Newton’s top setter for four years, may not be doing any setting at the college level. According to Clarke head coach Chris Miron, Pressgrove will be an outside hitter for the Crusaders.

“Megan is a great fit for us. I think she’s going to come into the program and it will be a natural fit for her,” Miron said. “We’re graduating to opposite hitters this year, so we had a need at the hitting position. We’re bringing her in to be an attacker, but it doesn’t hurt that she has the setter’s touch.”

In her four years on the volleyball court for Newton, Pressgrove moved from the third-leading hitter as a freshman with 110 kills to lead the Cardinals in kills the past three seasons. She finished with 737 kills for her career. As a setter, she amassed 1,214 set assists.

Pressgrove is a four-time All-Little Hawkeye Conference player, receiving first-team honors as a freshman and as a senior. She was named to the second team her sophomore and junior seasons.

Pressgrove was a 6-foot setter and outside hitter for Newton. She led the team with 325 kills overall this season. Pressgrove was fourth in kills, 143, in conference play among LHC hitters. She went 218-of-227 at the service line with 15 ace serves. Her serving efficiency was 96 percent.

Pressgrove led the Cardinals with nine solo blocks at the net and had 29 block assists. She also had 176 digs for the season.

Pressgrove shared the setting duties for Newton with fellow senior Taylor Shipley. Shipley led the team with 288 set assists, and Pressgrove had 223. They were ninth and 10th in the LHC with assists in conference play as Shipley had 140, which was 4.52 assists per set, and Pressgrove had 98, which was 3.50 assists per set.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to play at the college level,” Pressgrove said. “I’m hoping I can go in an make an impact right away. It will be fun playing with Michaela again. When I went on my visit to Clarke, I got to have lunch with some of the players. It’s a program which is about more than just volleyball. It’s about relationships.”

Miron is in his 12th year as head coach at Clarke, which is an NAIA program. The Crusaders finished 21-14 in 2016 and went 4-9 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

“Megan has a strong attack and a good block, which are the things we need to shut down outside hitters from other teams,” Miron said. “I love left-handed hitters. It makes the attack much stronger and much more natural.”

Pressgrove was credited with 17 solo blocks and 86 assisted blocks in her four years for the Cardinals. She had 877 career digs.

Pressgrove was one of the leading servers for Newton throughout her career. She finished with 116 service aces and as an 83-percent server for her career.

Pressgrove has been a state qualifier for the Iowa state girls’ tennis tournament for Newton. She played for the NHS basketball team also.

Pressgrove said she is leaning toward pre-med as her major at Clarke. She is the daughter of Tony and Sherry Pressgrove of Newton.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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