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Newton volleyball tops Rockdale, Jackson at home
Newton's Moriah Milon gets ready to pass the ball during a match against Jackson High School. - photo by Mariya Lewter

The Newton volleyball team remains undefeated at home after defeating both Rockdale County High and Jackson High Tuesday night.

“Our strength today was our defense,” said Newton head coach Shandelyn Carter. “They got some key digs, and they were moving where they were supposed to do on defense.”

There were three games in the Newton High gym. First Newton played Rockdale, then Rockdale faced Jackson before the Rams returned to take on the Red Devils.

Newton grabbed an easy 2-0 (25-18, 25-22) win over the Bulldogs in the first match of the night. Both teams went back and forth in the first set, with neither team grabbing more than a four-point lead for most of the way. After Rockdale tied the score 16-16, Newton scored off the longest rally of the set to go up 17-16. The Rams then closed out the set on a 7-2 run for the 1-0 lead in the match.

After more back and forth in the beginning of the second set, Newton jumped out to a five-point lead after a block by DeJean Williams but the Rams up 18-13. When the Rams went up 23-17, Rockdale called a timeout to regroup. Following the break, the Bulldogs scored four straight points to cut Newton’s lead to one, forcing the Rams to call a timeout of their own.

“I said something about how much those little errors just kept adding up and adding up,” said Carter on what she told her team during the break.

Newton then scored back-to-back to win the set and the match.

After Rockdale defeated Jackson in the next match, Newton then faced the Red Devils on their own. Jackson took an early advantage in the first set, jumping out to a 9-3 lead before the Rams called a timeout. The Red Devils continued to pad on their lead, going up by as much as 10 points. A 7-2 run by Newton, capped off by an ace from junior Alyssa Norton, helped get the Rams back within five at 23-18, but two Jackson points in a row gave the Red Devils the first set.

Set two appeared to belong to Jackson early as the team went up 5-1, but Newton quickly rebounded, scoring eight straight points for a 9-5 lead. A kill by Norton gave the Rams a five-point lead, and Newton continued to pack on the points. Down 21-10, Jackson called a timeout to try to stop the run. The Red Devils then scored five of the last seven points, but Rams came out on top 25-15 to even the match 1-1.

Newton carried its momentum into the final set of the match, holding a seven-point lead midway through. Jackson was able to cut the lead down a few times, but the Rams ultimately prevailed, taking the set 25-19 and the match 2-1.

The Rams were visibly fatigued by the end of the night, as the first match started at 5 p.m. and the final one not ending until close to 9 p.m.

“Even though they were a little tired, they persevered and did what they needed to do,” Carter said.

Though the Rams now hold a 7-12 overall record, these two matches allowed them to remain undefeated at home and get a key win at this point in the season.

“These wins will definitely boost their confidence, because one was an area win,” Carter said. “The Rockdale match was our area match, and we hadn’t beat anyone in our area yet until tonight. It’s definitely going to boost their confidence. I had to remind them that they’re undefeated at home, so I think that played a lot into how well they played tonight.”