Confidence is growing among the Newton High Cardinal volleyball players. They played with more confidence and with more consistency throughout a five-match day at home Saturday.
The Cardinals went 3-2 overall at their annual Cardinal Varsity Volleyball Invitational. The tournament was played at Newton’s Berg Middle School.
“In the first three matches we probably played as well as we have all year. The girls played together and it was fun to watch,” Newton head coach Kim Florke said. “It was good volleyball and I’m really pleased with how they played today.”
In pool play, the Cardinals were 3-1 to reach the championship bracket. They took on two Class 4A teams in Boone and Carlisle and Class 3A Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont. They split with Class 5A Ottumwa, beating the Bulldogs in pool play but falling to them in bracket action.
Newton opened the tournament with a 21-11, 18-21, 15-11 win over Boone. The Cardinals defeated EBF 21-16, 22-20 then knocked off Ottumwa 21-13, 21-14. After a break from play, Newton dropped a 21-17, 21-16 decision to Carlisle.
In the championship bracket, Ottumwa claimed a 14-21, 21-13, 15-13 win over Newton. Carlisle (16-12) won the tournament championship with a 21-13, 21-19 win over Ottumwa. Carlisle has gone 11-2 in its last 13 matches.
“We had a lot of confidence and a lot of good team chemistry,” junior setter Katy Callaghan said. “We played for each other and fought for each other throughout the day.”
Newton pushed to an 8-3 lead on a six-point serving run by senior Priscila Amador against Boone. Junior Jerrica McGuire served up five consecutive points to get the Cardinals to a 16-6 lead in the first set and a kill by junior Meg Callaghan return the service to Newton t 20-11.
With Amador serving, Kate Callaghan’s kill got the set point.
Boone’s Toreadors had a 6-1 lead in the second set. Newton got within one point a few times including 18-17 but Boone went on to win 21-18.
Senior Madi Amos started the third set with a four-point serving stint. Newton had the lead throughout and a quick-set by Kate Callaghan allowed Meg Callaghan to deliver the match-point kill.
The Cardinals had to work back from an 11-4 deficit in the first set with the EBF Rockets, winning 21-16. Again the Cardinals fell behind the Rockets 4-1 in the second set but Amador served for four straight to kick-start things.
Newton was up 19-16 when EBF served to get a 20-19 lead but the Cardinals stopped the run to tie the set 20-20. Kate Callaghan served the final two points for set and match win.
“We’ve started slow all season and I’ve changed things up in practice. We come in and go right to our 17-minute warmup as for a match then go right into 6-on-6 drills,” Florke said. “We working to get started a little faster in matches.”
Newton did start faster against Ottumwa in the pool play match. Senior Mackenzie Baker served up four straight and Kate Callaghan had seven consecutive points. McGuire’s kill made it 20-13 and she served up the set point.
Junior Kynnedei Terpstra delivered a kill on Amador’s third straight serve to put Newton up 10-5 in the second set. The Bulldogs pushed back to make it 20-13 but Terpstra had another kill to get the service back for Newton. Baker served up set and match point.
Carlisle’s Meredith Hoffman, a 6-foot-2 inch senior hitter, gave Newton problems at the net and serving. The Cardinals led early in the first set 10-8 but the Wildcats let by Hoffman’s serving and hitting claimed the lead and won 21-17.
The Cardinals were up 6-4 in Set 2 when Carlisle had service runs of four and two points. Newton battled back to within one, 15-14, but couldn’t get even or to the lead.
“We’re being more aggressive because we all realize when we swing hard, we’re a much better volleyball team,” Florke said. “We passed the ball really well today.”
Newton faced Ottumwa in the championship bracket semifinal and netted a 21-14 win in the first set. The Cardinals got bit by the error-bug during the next two sets. They led 9-8 in Set 2 but the Bulldogs went on an eight-point serving run to win 21-13 forcing a deciding third set.
“Some of it was we got a little tired. We hadn’t been in this position this season— playing five matches in one day — and we have to learn to fight through that mentally,” Florke said. “That’s another stepping stone we have to get over.”
In the third set, Newton was down 10-7 and Kate Callaghan served up three to tie. They fought with sideouts but couldn’t hold serves as Ottumwa took the third set, 15-13.
“We learn from it and know what our problem was so we can do things to improve in that area,” Kate Callaghan said about the errors in the final match of the day for the Cardinals. “Key for us is to keep our confidence up and keep swinging on the ball.”
Meg Callaghan led the net attack for the Cardinals in the tournament. She had 26 kills, three solo blocks — two against Ottumwa in the first match — and three assisted blocks. Kate Callaghan not only delivered 57 set assists on the day, she had 25 kills and five assisted blocks.
McGuire and Terpstra each had 12 kills and Baker had eight kills. Amos had four kills and Amador had one kill. McGuire had six assisted blocks and Baker had four assisted blocks and nine set assists. Terpstra made one solo block.
Amador was 40-of-43 serving with three service aces. Kate Callaghan went 38-of-39 with six aces. Baker went 33-of-36 and a team-high seven ace serves. Amos had four ace serves, McGuire had three aces and Terpstra had one ace.
Defensively, Kate Callaghan was credited with 51 digs and Amador had 43 digs. Juniors Nykole Hernandez and Lainey Hull finished with 24 digs and 17 digs, respectively. McGuire had seven digs while Terpstra and Amos each had four digs.
“We are getting better and doing it faster than we expected we would,” Florke said. “I like where we’re going. We find out playoff tournament pairings on Monday. We can see if we can make some noise at the end of the year. We’ll see what we can do — that’s what you play for right?”
The Cardinals (9-13) will take a 1-4 conference mark into Tuesday’s home Little Hawkeye Conference match against Pella Christian, which is also 1-4 in LHC play. It’s Senior Night for the Cardinals.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535