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Comets get everyone involved in win

Amboy's Micaela McCoy (21) hits the ball while Newman's Kayci Howell (8) and Megan Rosengren defend during Tuesday's match in Sterling. Newman won 25-20, 25-14.
Amboy's Micaela McCoy (21) hits the ball while Newman's Kayci Howell (8) and Megan Rosengren defend during Tuesday's match in Sterling. Newman won 25-20, 25-14.

STERLING – It was Senior Night for the Newman volleyball team Tuesday, but everyone on the Comets pretty much got a chance to step on the court and take a bow.

Most them didn't so much as bow in the Comets' 25-20, 25-14 win over Three Rivers North rival Amboy, as they set, bump or hit their way onto the stat sheet.

One of those players to rise above was senior Bree de Long, who during the second set had back-to-back thunderous kills from the left side of the net that zagged across the Amboy (10-16, 1-12) side to find open space in the back corner of the court.

The kills put Newman up 8-3, and were part of a five-point run for the Comets while Mariah Staebell held serve. They were also two of de Long's eight kills in the match.

"It felt amazing," she said. "Every athlete should get that feeling at least once of playing like that. It was so much fun, and I was so proud.

"We had a lot of emotion coming into this game. It was Senior Night, and it was Volley for the Cure. We wanted to play really well as a team."

The Comets (18-13, 11-2) achieved that, as they jumped out to commanding leads in both sets and never really let the Clippers get back into it.

In the first set, Newman scored 11 of 14 points during one stretch to turn a tie at six into a 17-9 lead.

The Clippers made a brief charge, scoring three points in a row with Newman at match-point to make it 24-20, but Aubree Schmitt put the match away off an assist by Julie Hurd.

"That little stretch was the only point that we got going," Amboy coach Nichole Stenzel said. "We started getting the sets up, and we always play strong in the middle with Hannah [McCoy] and Sydney [Wilhelm]. But overall, we just never got going tonight.

"You have to credit Newman. They are at the top of the conference for a reason, and they showed why tonight."

Schmitt had six of her match-high nine kills in the first set. She also had three blocks.

Megan Rosengren added seven kills, while Kayci Howell led the way with 12 assists.

"We didn't come out with any emotion on Saturday at the Eastland tournament," Schmitt said. "So we knew we had to change that tonight. It was a conference match, and one of our last matches before regionals.

"Everyone got involved tonight. It wasn't one person. We're not a team that depends on one tall girl in the middle. We try to come at teams from every angle."

All 15 players on the Newman roster entered the match for at least one play.

"We wanted to have a chance to do that," Newman coach Debbi Kelly said. "More importantly, we were passing and setting the ball better than we have the last few times out."

Amboy was led by Wilhelm with six kills, while Kennedy Dinges had nine digs.

Star of the match: Auburee Schmitt, Newman, 9 kills, 3 blocks

Key performers: Sydney Wilhelm, Amboy, 6 kills, 2 aces; Bree de Long, Newman, 8 kills, 3 digs

Up next: Amboy at Riverdale, Newman at Bureau Valley, 6 p.m. Thursday

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