Eagles Ready For State Volleyball Tourney


Published on November 9 2017 7:31 am
Last Updated on November 9 2017 7:31 am
Written by Millie Lange

Coach Jill Kistner and her Newton High School volleyball team are ready for the Class 2A State Tournament this Friday and Saturday at Redbird Arena in Normal.

"We face Quincy Notre Dame and we're going to have to put up our best defensive effort," said Coach Kistner. "They've had quite a few state appearances in the past. Hopefully, the moment doesn't get too big for us. We just have to do what we've been doing, play our game."

The Eagles come into the state tourney with a 31-7 record and are on an 11-match winning streak which includes victories at the Fairfield Regional, Robinson Sectional and Vandalia Super-sectional. Kistner has been the Eagles coach for five years and has a 142-43 overall record.

Coach Kistner talked about her squad:

"Maddi Hemrich, a sophomore, is our setter. She comes out of the game in the front row. This year is her first action at the varsity level and she is our first server and is excellent. As the year has progressed, she has turned into a good defensive player and a good leader. She leads in assists with 434.

"Renee Probst, a sophomore, starts on the outside for us. She plays some on the right side depending on the rotation. She only plays the front row. She is our second leader in kills.  She's about 5-9 or 5-10 and puts up a good block.

"Mariah Earnest, a senior, is a middle-hitter/blocker. This is her third year in the middle. She has a lot of experience. She's a good, quiet leader and a good defender as well. She plays back row as well as blocks. She's our second leader in blocks.

"Abby Frohhing, a senior, is probably our go-to on the team. She gets the majority of the balls. She's an outside hitter at front in back, sets. She leaders the team in kills with 366 and has 280 assists. She's a very good server, defender and is extremely athletic.

"Taylor Smith, a senior, is an outside/rightside hitter. I move them around. This is her second year of substantial varsity time. She does go back and serve. She's an aggressive jump server and at 5-foot-11, puts up a big block for us.

"Josie Meinhart, a junior, is little at 5-4. She's a real quick defender in the back row and just plays back. She's diving everywhere.

"Ali Bierman, a junior, plays middle. She goes in the Josie Meinhart position. She leads in blocks with 58 and has 102 kills at middle. She's 5-10 or 5-11 and is pretty big for us in the front row.

"My Libero, Kelsi Geltz, is a sophomore. She leads us in aces with 49 and digs with 274. She's a little thing but is just a defensive machine back there.

"A front row player for us is Allison Kuhl. She's a sophomore. She plays my setters front row. She's a rightside blocker."

The Eagles started the season by winning the Hutsonville Invitational. They finished fifth at the Casey-Westfield Invitational and also fifth at the St. Anthony Invitational. They took second at the Linda Oxby Invitational at Albion. The tourney is named for long-time Edwards County Coach Oxby who died a year ago from cancer.

"Our strengths include our aggressive serving and our ability to keep balls alive defensively," said Kistner. "We're really playing as a unit and have been playing every part of the court. We put a lot of pressure on the other team's serving. That's what has gotten us to this point.

"Our block, at times, has been really well down the stretch and we've been putting the ball down. The three seniors have been there to guide the younger ones along."

Newton takes on Quincy Notre Dame at noon Friday followed by Champaign St. Thomas More against Elgin Harvest Christian Academy at 1:30 p.m. The winners advance to the championship match Saturday at 1:55 p.m. while the losers meet for third place at 12:25.

Quincy Notre Dame comes into the meeting with a 32-8 record and have been to State 13 times but the last time was during the 2011-12 season. The squad comes in with a six-match winning streak.