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Local Sports

Learning from tough season

A tough season wrapped up Wednesday night for Newton High’s volleyball team. The Cardinals, led by a group of nine seniors battled through 29 matches, coming up with three victories.

Newton’s volleyball players stuck it out right to the end. In Wednesday’s Class 4A regional opener against host Carlisle, the Cardinals never folded. They’d get a defensive point with some strong net play to get possession of the serve. They just couldn’t put strings of service points together against the Wildcats.

The Cardinals rallied to lead halfway through the second set. Down 2-0 in sets, Newton rallied again to tie the third set at 15-all, but could not hold the serve. That’s how it went most of the season for 2017 NHS volleyball varsity squad.

Going into the season, Newton’s players and coaches had their eyes wide open knowing it was a developmental year. The Cardinals only had four returning players with varsity experience. I do know, especially the seniors, had their eyes on a few more victories than the team notched this year.

It was not for a lack of effort. Every match I watched them play, the Cardinals worked hard on the court. They went after the ball, hitting the floor trying to dig the ball out or save an errant pass to keep the ball alive.

So, Cardinal volleyball players keep your heads up. You know you worked together and went for it full bore in practices and in matches — every point and every set. This group of seniors led by example on and off the court. Newton’s younger players need to take the lessons learned this season and begin working on a plan of attack for 2018.

This week started with five area volleyball teams entering into regional tournaments. Only one team — the Baxter Bolts — remains in the hunt for a spot at a state tournament. The Bolts claimed a 1A regional match win on Tuesday. Doing business as the Baxter Bolts for the first time, they netted the Bolts’ first playoff match victory. They head to Garwin on Monday in 1A Region 3 play taking on GMG.

Friday night brings to a close the 2017 football season for Newton, Colfax-Mingo and Baxter. Newton’s Cardinals are on the road at Indianola and looking to chalk up a 7-2 season with a 4A District 4 win over the Indians. 

Colfax-Mingo’s Tigerhawks have a tough task at home going against two-time defending Class A state champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck. Gladbrook-Reinbeck is ranked No. 7 in Class A. Baxter, which split with Collins-Maxwell for athletic competitions at the end of the 2016-17 school year, will finish its first season in 8-man football on Friday at Easton Valley. The Bolts are ranked No. 8 in their division, but are not eligible for the 8-man playoffs this season.

Prairie City-Monroe and Lynnville-Sully have locked up playoff spots in Class 2A and Class A, respectively. The Class A No. 8 Hawks play at Montezuma Friday going after its first undefeated season since 1999. PCM’s Mustangs, ranked No. 5 in 2A, finish the regular season not on the field as they have a forfeit win over Clarke.

Early Saturday morning — around 2 a.m. — the Iowa High School Athletic Association will release the playoff pairings on its website.

Lynnville-Sully has made the Class A playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. PCM goes to the playoffs for its 10th straight season. The football playoffs’ opening round is Oct. 27 and both area teams should host as district champions.

Area cross country athletes competed in state qualifying meets Thursday. The first three teams plus the first 15 individual place winners will qualify for the state meet, which is Oct. 28 at Fort Dodge.

Also on Oct. 28, is the high school girls’ swimming regionals. NCMP’s Aquagirls will compete in the regional at Johnston with state meet berths on the line.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets

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