Top-seeded volleyball falls short of state title

Aydan Rolph

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Michaela Regier

The volleyball team celebrates after they win a point at the state tournament in Topeka on Oct. 28. The team went 1-2 in pool play bringing the season to a halt.

Volleyball entered as the number one seed in the 2016 state tournament, hosted at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. Newton finished the season with a 39-6 record, but failed to place at the tournament.

“I thought we did good, but some of our unforced errors killed us. Other than that, we had a really good season, and I thought we did really good as a team. We just played really good teams,” senior Megan Akers said.

Both players and head coach Jamie Dibbens had high expectations heading into the tournament.

“I think [we were] right where I thought that we could be, going into the state tournament. We’ve had a few highs and lows, but when the energy level is there, we are fun to watch,” Dibbens said.

Coach Dibbens and the rest of the team prepared for each opponent individually, by going over scouting reports.

“We watched those players and thought, “okay, where do they hit? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Can we go to them in serve receive and expect them to mess up?” Akers said.

Newton lost their first match to St. James Academy, then lost to Shawnee Heights, eliminating them from the tournament. Newton finished their season with a win against Lansing.

“I thought our energy was very good, in that we kept it up the whole time and we didn’t get down,” Akers said.

Seven seniors graduate at the end of the year, including several team leaders.

“I think Emily [Regier] is pretty vocal and I knew Megan would be a good leader. I think Dawsyn [Long] […] kind of surprised people with what she could offer. [Next year’s seniors] will have to learn how to be vocal on the court,” Coach Dibbens said.
With players graduating, most of the varsity team was playing in their last game.

“I even thought during the game before, ‘this could be our last couple games, we just have to play hard. This is my last game, we have to go out with a bang,” Akers said.