KENTLAND — South Newton finished off its perfect run through the Midwest Conference with a 3-0 victory over Frontier, who also came into the game undefeated in conference play, Oct. 5.
With the win, South Newton wrapped up conference play with a spotless 5-0 record, while winning 15 of 16 sets. The lone set loss came against North Newton the previous week.
The Lady Rebels slammed down 38 kills, with Sam Warren and Lexi Cripe accounting for 31 of those, and served up 19 aces to pick up the convincing win.
“The girls were ramped up and they were ready to go for this one,” said South Newton coach Laura Robbins. “Our communication was good and we played more as a team. They wanted this win so bad, and you saw that out there.”
The win was not only for the conference championship but it was a preview of the opening round of the sectional that takes place Oct. 15 at Frontier, as the two top teams, South Newton and Frontier will again face off.
“It will be a different environment especially at their place, but this win was definitely a confidence booster for the team,” added Robbins. “They will have a big crowd there so hopefully Rebel nation comes out in full force and supports us.”
In the opening set, Frontier got out to a quick 4-0 lead that was sparked by an ace by Emily Bell.
South Newton answered with a 7-2 scoring run to grab a 7-6 lead. That run was highlighted by two big kills from Warren.
The Lady Rebels were leading 10-9 when they exploded for a 12-3 run to blow the set wide open. South Newton would go on to cruise to a 25-14 win in the first set.
Warren had six kills in the set, while Cripe added five and as a team, the Lady Rebels served up five aces.
For Frontier, freshman Emma Segal led the way early with three first-set kills.
The second set was closer for most of the way and Frontier even led 14-11 midway through.
However, like the first set, South Newton found a way to go on a big run to take total control. The Lady Rebels went on a key 12-1 run to turn a 14-11 deficit into a 23-15 lead. During that run Warren banged down three kills, Alexxys Standish and Lexi Conradi each came up with a clutch kill, and Lizzie Glassburn served up three aces.
Frontier rallied for a late 4-0 run to draw with four points, 23-19, but a kill from Stephanie Montemayer and an ace by Warren secured the 25-19 second set win.
Frontier ran out to a quick 5-1 lead to open the third set, but again South Newton answered with a 5-0 run of its own. The set would remain tight the entire way with neither team holding a lead larger than four points.
Late in the set, a kill from Cripe gave the Lady Rebels a 24-21 lead, but South Newton couldn’t close the deal. Behind a key kill from Segal, the Lady Falcons fought back to tie the game up late 26-26.
As they have done so many times this season, when the Lady Rebels needed points in the clutch, they went to their hard-hitting senior, Warren, who finished off the match with back-to-back kills for the 28-26 win.
“As a team, we have lost some games recently against really good teams and I didn’t want to lose this one,” said Warren. “I knew when I had the chance to win it, I had to put it down for everyone so that we can continue to come together as a team. This win is big momentum for us especially with sectionals next week. I had it in my mind tonight that there was no way we are going to lose. This was for the conference and they are our first-round opponent in the sectional. Everyone worked so hard for this. I am proud of all of my teammates. Lexi Cripe really came out tonight and played hard. Lizzie is always there too and it was just a total team effort.”
Warren finished with a game-high 18 kills, while Cripe added 18, Standish had three, and Glassburn added two kills.
Glassburn had 10 aces to lead her team, while Cripe had four service winners.
Abbey Carroll led the team with 16 digs, and Standish and Glassburn each reached double figures in digs with 10 each.
Glassburn finished the game with 33 assists.
For Frontier, Segal had 11 kills in the loss and Camy Clapper added six. Bell had six aces and 21 assists. Segal also led the team with 10 digs, while Bell added nine.