When their backs were against the wall, the Newton volleyball team never showed that they were in trouble.
The Lady Eagles stayed true to themselves in their thrilling, three-set win over Charleston Tuesday.
"We didn't always play good volleyball tonight, but our team motto this year is 'Unity in adversity,'" Newton head coach Jill Kistner said. "I said tonight is a night where we were faced with a lot of adversity, and someone different kept stepping up and making a play when we needed to. When we weren't passing great, someone would come up and do something well, so I was proud of them tonight for showing a lot of grit."
Senior Jenna Ochs finished the night with two aces, four blocks, and three digs to go along with a flawless hitting percentage — zero errors on eight swings.
However, Och's brightest moment came with the match on the line.
As Ochs headed back to the end line for her serve attempt, little did she know that once the ball left her hands, it would end the match. Her serve went off the hands of a Charleston receiver for her second ace and a Newton (8-2) win that ended a stellar night for the long-armed hitter.
"Jenna was great tonight. We have struggled with our middle connection these last couple of weeks," Kistner said. "When we started the season at Effingham, Jenna was fire, and then we lost it a little bit there. Tonight, I felt like Jenna was back again. Her blocking, her hitting. She had eight kills and no errors tonight; that's huge. For a night where our outside hitters struggled, to come away with a win with the hitting percentages that we have, we didn't give up. We found a way to win."
Newton won the match 23-25, 25-16, 25-21.
However, after a first set, which saw the Lady Eagles open with a 9-2 advantage, Kistner said she thought her team played lackadaisical after that, which resulted in the Lady Trojans coming back to take a 23-22 lead and ultimately the set victory.
"We had a nice lead, and we got into a couple of bad serve-receives, and we had too many errors there, together," Kistner said. "We got a little complacent, a little relaxed. I always tell them it's like a NASCAR race; you got to get one lap ahead. If you let them sneak around, they are going to come around and pass you."