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Lady Cats pick up first win of the year after slow start

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HARTINGTON — A year ago, a Hartington-Newcastle volleyball squad that was led by some savvy veterans supporting the cause of a young roster, battled to an upand-down start.

Now, the youth is a little older, but the veterans are fewer so growing pains may be in store as indicated by the Lady Wildcats 1-3 start to the new campaign. Hartington-Newcastle fell 3-0 (25-10, 25-17. 25-19) to Crofton Thursday before hosting a quad Saturday that saw them lose to Randolph 2-0 (25-16, 25-11), beat Winside, (25-20, 25-19) and fall to Howells-Dodge 2-0 (28-26, 25- 13).

“The beginning of the season is always about finding the right rotations,” HNHS head coach Leigh Haselhorst said. “From game one to game four we have drastically improved. It is motivating to see when it all clicked in the match with Howells-Dodge. It made the girls hungry to always play like that together as a team.

“We still need to worry about our side of the net only.”

The Lady Wildcats were led by the performances of Zoey Gratzfeld and Lauren Howell, according to Haselhorst.

“They have played very smart at the net for the opening week,” the coach said. “They made plays in the front row to keep the ball in play and knew when to swing hard. I am excited to see them grow in confidence this year.”

Howell had six kills against Crofton, while Alivia Morten and Mani Lange had eight and seven digs while the former had 10 assists.

Howell came away with a large sense of optimism as the Lady Wildcats continued to get better as the course of the week shaped up.

“We are starting out with better attitudes a lot faster than last year, and we are very young,” Howell said. “We are starting to come together and realize we can win games that way. We have a freshman coming in that has been playing some minutes and is looking really good. We have all been working together a lot more and finally realizing we have to play together so we don’t crash.

“We are trying to get off of our rollercoaster because we are one of those types of teams that can get on a rollercoaster. But I think we are starting to get better at (not doing) that. It’s just frustration that causes that.”

The freshman that has raised Howell’s eye is McKenzie Bruning.

Howell says the younger roster just has to go through the process of the highs and lows to get the experience to know how to handle things.

“As the year goes on, we will learn to play better together and not be the rollercoaster team anymore,” she said.

The Lady Wildcats travel to the Wynot Quad on Thursday before hitting the road to take on Winnebago on Tuesday.

Hartington-Newcastle 16 11

Randolph 25 25


HNS - Alivia Morten, 2; Zoey Gratzfeld, 2; Lauren Howell, 2; Erin Meisenheimer, 2; McKenzie Bruning, 1. Randolph - Bailey Beal, 11; Jacey Bartels, 6; Ella Scott, 4; Emma Munter, 3; Brianna Sporleder, 3; Erin Engel, 2;


HNS - Alivia Morten, 7; Olivia Grutsch, 2. Randolph - Erin Engel, 25; Grace Nordhues, 2; Jacey Bartels, 1.


Randolph - Bailey Beal, 4; Brianna Sporleder, 2; Erin Engel, 1; Jacey Bartels, 1; Emma Munter, 1.

ACE SERVES HNS - Mani Lange, 1; Kennadi Peitz, Erin

HNS - Mani Lange, 1; Kennadi Peitz, Erin Meisenheimer, 1. Randolph - Erin Engel, 6; Ariel Fye, 3; Emma Munter, 2; Bailey Beal, 1.


HNS - Mani Lange, 6; Kennadi Peitz, 6; Erin Meisenheimer, 2; Olivia Grutsch, 1; Maya Knutson, 1; Alivia Morten, 1; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1. Randolph, Ella Scott, 6; Grace Nordhues, 6; Ariel Fye, 3; Ryanne Winkelbauer, 1.

Hartington-Newcastle 25 25

Winside 20 19


HNS - Lauren Howell, 5; Alivia Morten, 3; Kennadi Peitz, 3; Erin Meisenheimer, 2; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1. SET ASSISTS

HNS - Olivia Grutsch, 7; Alivia Morten, 6.


HNS - Olivia Grutsch, 2; Lauren Howell, 1; Erin Meisenheimer, 1; Alivia Morten, 1; Kennadi Peitz, 1. BLOCKS

BLOCKS HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 2; McKenzie Brun

HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 2; McKenzie Bruning, 1.


HNS - Mani Lange, 16; Kennadi Peitz, 7; Olivia Grutsch, 5; Alivia Morten, 5; Lauren Howell, 3; Zoey Gratzfeld, 2; Erin Meisenheimer, 1.

Hartington-Newcastle 26 13

Howells-Dodge 28 25


HNS - Lauren Howell, 4; Zoey Gratzfeld, 3; Erin Meisenheimer, 2; Olivia Grutsch, 1; McKenzie Bruning, 1; Kennadi Peitz, 1; Alivia Morten, 1.

SET ASSISTS HNS - Alivia Morten, 7; Olivia Grutsch, 4;

HNS - Alivia Morten, 7; Olivia Grutsch, 4; Lauren Howell, 1.


HNS - Erin Meisenheimer, 1. DIGS

DIGS HNS - Alivia Morten, 6; Kennadi Peitz,

HNS - Alivia Morten, 6; Kennadi Peitz, 5; Mani Lange, 3; Olivia Grutsch, 3; Erin Meisenheimer, 2; Anya Pick, 1.

Hartington-Newcastle 10 17 19

Crofton 25 25 25


HNS - Erin Folkers, 8; Lauren Howell, 6; Zoey Gratzfeld, 3; Alivia Morten, 1; Erin Meisenheimer, 1.


HNS - Alivia Morten, 10; Olivia Grutsch, 5.

BLOCKS HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 4; Erin Meisen

HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 4; Erin Meisenheimer, 1.


HNS - Alivia Morten, 1; Kennadi Peitz, 1; Lauren Howell, 1.


HNS - Alivia Morten, 8; Mani Lange, 7; Olivia Grutsch, 5; Lauren Howell, 5; Erin Folkers, 5; Kennadi Peitz, 3.

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