Despite a valiant comeback to capture game three of the series, the Bethel Bees volleyball team struggled to keep the momentum going into game four, and they lost to Newton in a Cross County Conference game 3-1, losing 25-13, 25-17, 17-25, 25-6.

“I wish I could explain it, but I can’t,” said Bethel coach Lauren Siebenaller. “That’s something that we have been struggling with all year, the mental toughness. We have been struggling with starting and finishing games. I don’t know if it’s the culture that’s still residual, like we are not expected to win the game.”

Newton jumped out to a fast 6-1 lead in game one, as Elizabeth Carroll served the games’ first five points. Another run by the Indians pushed their lead out to 9-3 before Bethel fought back. Three consecutive service points from Alaina Hawthorn helped close the gap to 10-7 and solid net play from Kaitlyn Parker kept the Bees close.

Trailing 12-10, the Bees watched as Newton went on a run to take a 17-11 lead, then increased their lead out to 22-12 before the Indians put the game away.

Again in game two, Newton took the quick lead. They took a 9-3 lead before the Bees fought back, and following a kill from Tia Koewler, the Bees only trailed 11-10. They kept it close through the game, but fell short after a late run to fall behind two games to none.

The Bees came out fast to start game three, behind solid service points from Maggie Stratton, and five points from Hawthorn, as Bethel opened up a close lead before stretching out the lead late, and once Emily Berkshire recorded a big kill, the Bees led 20-14.

Then the fourth game hit, and the Bees didn’t know what hit them.

Newton came out fast and built a 9-2 lead. They pushed their lead out to 18-5 and the Indians finished off the match with the win.

Koewler led the way with 11 kills and 15 digs, while Sarah Swisher added four kills. Parker had 17 assists.

“We started off strong, and they made a lot of errors in the third set,” Siebenaller said. “We gave them tougher balls and they couldn’t run what they wanted to in the third set.”

Siebenaller touted lack of mental toughness and younger players for collapse.

Bethel falls to 4-6 overall.