AMBOY – Some late-set issues had the Newman girls volleyball team reeling in its nonconference match against Amboy on Monday night.
The Comets were able to persevere through a tense second set, however, then found their stride in the third. The result was a 20-25, 26-24, 25-15 win against the Clippers.
Neither team seemingly had its ‘A’ game, but Newman (7-1) was at its best when it mattered most to hold off Amboy (5-2).
“We struggled with our serve receive,” Newman coach Debbi Kelly said. “We were a little rusty, so we weren’t able to get into our offense very cleanly. That was the one thing we had to clean up going into that second set. In the second set, we had spurts of it and then we went very scatter-brained again for a little bit.
“Amboy pushed, and we had to make some adjustments at the net to try to slow them down, and get some hands on balls. The girls gutted out that second set, and then I thought we looked much better the third set.”
The Clippers scored the last five points of the first set to pull out that win. Eden Lindenmeyer had two aces in that stretch, Brooklyn Whelchel and Mallory Powers had kills, and the set ended on a hitting error by the Comets’ Skylar Savage.
Newman was in control most of the second set. A kill from Kennedy Rowzee put her team up 22-16 before Amboy rallied. Olivia Dinges capped a 6-0 run with a kill to tie it at 22.
Amboy took a 24-23 lead on a block from Gabby Jones, but on set point, Whelchel was called for a net violation. Newman’s Ally Clevenger put down a kill, then Jones was long with a kill attempt, allowing the Comets to force a third set.
In that third set, Clevenger had three kills and an ace, while Rowzee had three kills as Newman raced out to an 8-2 lead. Amboy got back to within 11-10, but a kill from Shae McNeill started a 5-0 run, and the Comets steadily pulled away from there. A kill from Zoey Bulfer finished things off.
Clevenger led the Comets with 12 kills and 14 digs, and noted it was a matter of improving in a key area to get things turned around.
“We couldn’t get our serve receive up, but I think after we won that second set, we got all the jitters out and we were ready to play as a team again,” Clevenger said.
Rowzee had 10 kills, McNeill (13 assists) and Katie Grennan (12) combined for 25 assists, Jordan Morthland had 17 digs, and Paige Grennan added 10 digs.
For Amboy, Powers had six kills and six digs, Brianna Blaine had five aces and three blocks, Madelyn McLaughlin had three kills and two aces, Lindenmeyer had four digs and two aces, and Jones (three blocks) and Dinges (two) combined for five blocks.
“Our hitting tonight was off,” Amboy coach Ashley Dunlap said. “I feel we’ve been wishy-washy. In games previously, we struggled with serve receive, but our hitting was on. Tonight, I feel like our serve receive was on point, but our hitting, we made too many errors at the net.
“Newman is a good ball club, they have good hitters and they put up a strong block. Our hitters had to work around them, but ultimately, our hitters just made too many mistakes at the net.”
Star of the match: Ally Clevenger, Newman, 12 kills, 14 digs
Key performers: Kennedy Rowzee, Newman, 10 kiolls; Mallory Powers, Amboy, 6 kills, 6 digs
Up next: Erie-Prophetstown at Newman; Amboy at Eastland, both 7 p.m. Tuesday