Newton volleyball beats Derby, Hutchinson
DERBY As the Newton volleyball team stumbled to a 2-6 start, coach Jamie Dibbens urged players to change their mindset from the past when they were the Railers’ role players. Urged them to realize they were the players who had to make the kills.
For a team of players who had relied heavily on Emily Hiebert and Abbie Lehman, who signed with Wichita State as seniors in 2012, the transition wasn’t easy.
“All they had to do last year was to go in and not make a mistake,” Dibbens said. “Now they have to go in and finish the play, whether it’s putting the ball down on the floor with a kill or with a tip. Just finish.”
Newton proved Tuesday night that it has made strides, beating host Derby 25-13, 25-21and Hutchinson 25-16, 18-25, 25-20 to improve to 14-10.
Derby beat Hutchinson 25-10, 24-26, 25-21 and is 13-9.
Newton’s start to the season was painful.
“It was not the way we wanted our senior season to be,” Newton libero Megan Regier said.
Senior hitter Logan Porter, who had 20 kills combined against Hutchinson and Derby, reached out to Hiebert and Lehman for advice on how to change the mindset.
“We never knew how much pressure it really was,” Porter said. “Now the pressure is on us, and it makes you look up at the girls who did step up to it, and it makes you want to follow their paths.”
Newton dominated in its first set against Derby. The Railers took a 17-11 lead on five unanswered points, getting two kills from Payton Roberts-Parker, one from Porter and a stuff block by Lauren Regier.
Regier had three stuff blocks in the match, and Roberts-Parker had five kills.
“If we could block, that would help,” Derby coach Shelby Kraus said. “We got tooled a lot, and the ball would go in a different direction, and we couldn’t pick it up.”
Newton scored the final seven points of the match as Derby committed four unforced errors.
Derby took a 19-13 lead in Set 2 when Tori Miller had two kills and a stuff block during a 7-1 run. Miller had 22 kills in the two matches, while freshman teammate Nia Bishop had 14.
The Panthers couldn’t sustain it, though, and Newton closed out the set with a 6-0 run that included a kill and a stuff block by Regier.
“The week before we had played well at the Maize tournament,” Dibbens said. “We made a few steps, and then the Tuesday night afterwards, we did not play as good. Then at our home tournament this weekend, we went 4-1, beat Andover Central to finish the day.
“We took steps forward, and I did not want to take a step back tonight. It’s confidence for them. They don’t have someone to rely on like they have in the past. They have to be able to figure out how to do it week after week.”