By Cody Johnson
The Lady Racers ended their first volleyball season in school history last Thursday at the regional tournament in Cache.
"We played really well. We went to five games with Sante Fe South, who beat us earlier in the year," said head coach Melissa Johnson "They beat us by one point. We just had one little error."
Sante Fe went on to play Cache who was the regional champion.
"I think the season went fantastic. The girls really worked hard in the off-season to prepare for the season," Johnson said. "I feel like they have the fever now and we are going to be really good next year."
The one thing the Lady Racers will focus on for next year is serving. Good teams have six servers that can jump serve the ball and get an ace almost every time.
"We just need that consistent really strong serve," Johnson said.
All of the varsity starters will be returning next season except one senior, Danielle Palmer who will be graduating in the spring. Many of the girls have joined club leagues for the off-season and the Lady Racers will be going to clinics as well.
Volleyball was new to the town of Newcastle this year. So new that the girls had to be taught where the out of bounds lines were in June, she said.
"I was really proud of the girls this year. For starting a new program, we won ten games, which is in double digits," she said.
Johnson is not worried about participation levels for the sport moving forward. The Lady Racers have larger numbers in the younger ages than in the older ones, which make the main focus developing the younger girls. It was harder to recruit the older girls with it being the first year, because they would only be able to play for a year or two.
"Volleyball is a fun sport; it's a sport that you can pick up quick. There is a girl at Stanford that never played high school ball, but she started on a division one team. She is six nine, " Johnson said. "You couldn't do that with basketball or you couldn't do that with softball, but you can with volleyball."
This year, Newcastle saw over 30 kids participate in the middle school alone, which is seventh and eighth grade. Around 90 percent of the varsity team this year was made up of sophomores. Johnson predicts that some of the eighth graders moving up to freshmen will be able to start at the varsity level come next July.
"I would like to thank the community for coming out and supporting," she said. "We had just as big of a crowd as any other town we visited. For it being a new sport, I was really impressed with that. The student section did a fantastic job of cheering at home. Our administration supported our program. I was very impressed with the quality of support from our school the first year."
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Lady Racers had their hands full last Thursday night when they defeated the Chickasha Fighting Lady Chicks at home in their first annual Senior Night.
All grades played, from seventh grade through varsity, however the seventh and eighth grade teams were combined to save time.
The seventh and eighth grade game started the night with a match win from the Lady Racers in a 2-1 decision. Newcastle established their dominance on the court 25-4 but then turned around to lose 27-29 in a tough game. The match deciding set ended with a 15-7 score in favor of the Lady Racers.
Next up the ninth grade team took to the court with complete ownership winning two games back to back and shutting out the Fighting Chicks 25-12; 25-15.
Newcastle suffered their only match loss of the night from the junior varsity team, although the Lady Racers won a hard fought 27-25 victory in the second game. The Fighting Lady Chicks were too much for Newcastle to handle in the first match losing 11-25. Even after a hard fought win by Newcastle in the second game, the third match was identical to the first with an 11-25 loss.
Before the varsity game began the Newcastle Lady Racers took time to honor the first graduating class from the volleyball team. Newcastle has seven seniors this year, including their team manager, Bryan Smith. The six senior players that are graduating are Shayla Williams, Shadi Joshua, Lauren Triplitt, Carlee Triplitt, Taylor Paige, and Danielle Palmer. You can see their favorite high school memories in the Community Quotes.
After the seniors walked across court with their parents and were handed flowers from head coach Melissa Johnson, the varsity match started with full intensity. From the first game, it was apparent the teams were closely matched. Newcastle took the first game 25-22, but fell victim to the Fighting Lady Chicks nasty serves in the second game losing and putting the match score at 1-1.
In the third game of the match, the Lady Racers showed their determination handing the Lady Chicks a 25-10 defeat. In the fourth game however Chickasha returned the favor to Newcastle with a 12-25 loss for the Lady Racers.
It all came down to the last game and the first team to 15 points. Newcastle was down early in the game but came from behind to take the 15-11 win and the match in a 3-2 decision.
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Lady Racers' junior varsity volleyball team blew through the Elgin Lady Owls with a 3-0 win last Tuesday when they came to play in Racer territory.
The Owls lost three games straight with no need to play a fourth or fifth game. The Lady Racers took an early lead and did not slow down in the first game for a 25-6 victory. The second game looked almost identical with a 25-5 victory for the girls. In the third and final game, the Owls managed to just barely hit the double digits scoring before falling to Newcastle 25-10.
The ninth grade Lady Racers' volleyball team took on Clinton Monday as the Red Tornadoes rolled into Newcastle. The Lady Racers pulled out an impressive victory in the first game, but then turned around to drop the second game to the Red Tornadoes.
With the final game being the deciding tie-breaker, the ninth grade team took to the court. Fought as they may, Newcastle could not score the 15 points necessary to win the final game and fell 1-2 to Clinton.
By Cody Johnson
Newcastle Lady Racer Volleyball hosted Noble on Monday night in a match that went into four games.
The Lady Racers Varsity team started the night off well winning their first game but then lost three in a row to fall to a 1-3 defeat. Junior Varsity did not fair well either, losing 0-2 to the Lions.
Ninth grade volleyball split games 25-23 and 25-27 with Noble but came up short in their final tie-breaking game 13-15.
The Lady Racers also hosted Oklahoma Centennial last Thursday in a 3-0: 25-9, 25-7, 25-12 blowout.
Newcastle looked strong and confident as both the Junior Varsity and Varsity went uncontested through the Bisons lineup.
"We did a lot of things really good. They made things happen, and we got to work on bump, set, spike," assistant coach Dana Chambers said.
In the first varsity game of the night the Lady Racers took no mercy scoring 25 points before Centennial could even reach the double digits.
In the second game of the night, the girls did not relent scoring 25 and holding the Bisons to 7. In the final game of the night, at first it looked like Centennial might form a comeback, but then the Lady Racers pulled away once again to win 25-12.
"I think the biggest thing is we are still figuring out all of our athletes and where to put them," Chambers said. "Volleyball is a sport where you have to have confidence. There are not very many sports where every mistake is a point. That's what is most different for our athletes to understand. We understand it is emotional, but you have to move on so you aren’t living in that moment behind it."
Next week the Lady Racers will host Clinton on Monday. Then they will travel to Centennial on Tuesday for their rematch. Thursday night Newcastle will host Chickasha for their First Annual Seniors’ Night that will take place between the junior varsity and varsity matches. All lineups next week will begin with ninth grade at 4:30 p.m. with junior varsity and varsity following.
"We are excited everyone is coming out and supporting them," Chambers said.
By Cody Johnson
The Lady Racers Volleyball team played their third match of the 2014 season at Crossing Christian on Monday losing in the fifth game.
"We play the best three out of five and went to the fifth game and lost," Head Coach Melissa Johnson said.
The Lady Racers lost the first two games by several points but came back to win the third game 25-6 and 25-17 fourth game. This took the match into the fifth and final game.
The score was 14-15 with the Lady Racers serving the final point. Newcastle's server was called stepping over the line during her serve. This penalty gave Crossing Christian the final point they needed to win 14-16.
"In the third and fourth game we played fantastic. In the fifth game we played pretty good to win, but you know," Johnson said, "It was bitter."
After a School Board decision last year, this is the first year Newcastle offers volleyball as a sport. This is part of Superintendent Tony O'Brien's vision to grow the school district academically and athletically according to Johnson. "He has really been a big supporter of having volleyball here."
"We are playing against teams that have played for ten years," Johnson said. "Our team 7-12 grade, we have been spending hours and hours in the summer time getting ready for volleyball because it’s the first time ever. If you went into the gym, they are doing fantastic. We have tremendous girl athletes here at Newcastle."
Each volleyball match consists of either best two out of three games or best three out of five games. Each game consists of the first team to obtain 25 points and to be ahead of their opponents by at least two points. If the match goes into the final game, the game is the first to obtain 15 points and win by two or more points ahead of their opponents.
The Lady Racers hit the road on Thursday returning to action at Community Christian with ninth grade, junior varsity, and varsity starting at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. respectively. They will also return to Community Christian on Saturday for a tournament.