The Class 2-A Volleyball Regional Tourney opened Wednesday Oct. 17, in New Sharon with the Pella Christian Eagles tangling with the North Mahaska Warhawks.
It was the Eagles who set the tone early in the match and romped to a three game win by scores of 25-10, 25-16 and 25-18.
The story of the game would have to be the dominance at the net by the lanky Pella Christian front line. With the passing and the sets going to the right place, the Eagles repeatedly peppered the floor with throbbing kills and the Warhawk defense could not answer.
“Our team has been working hard,” Eagle coach Cindy Nikkel said. “We brought additional size to our lineup and we have put in a lot of reps to bring them together. We want to control the net and tonight we were able to do that.”
Pella Christian also got a fine serving effort from the entire team headed by Briana Warden, Tessa Howerzyl, Madison Fopma, Lauren Jungling and Jora Vander Hart. The serving constantly kept the Warhawk offense off balance.
Game one opened with Jungling serving up the first four points and the Eagles quickly extended the lead to 13-6. Warden then stepped to the line and rifled in six serves for points. She had a pair of aces in that flurry and Becca Gritters and Hannah Beltman rattled down kills to pace the Eagles to a 20-6 lead. The Eagles coasted in with a 25-10 win as Gritters pounded down the final nail.
In game two the Warhawks began to show some signs of life as kills by Nicole Brand and Carissa McBirnie along with a block by Rachel Sherburne kept them in the game early. But midway through the game the Eagles size became a factor again. With Jungling and Fopma at the line Pella Christian built the lead to 18-10.
The Warhawks cut into the lead with a four point service run by McBirnie. McBirnie had an ace in the run and Jaylin DeJong added a back row kill. But a kill by Beltman gave the ball back to the Eagles and Vander Hart served up four points to bring up game point. It was Gritters that stuffed the ball down for the final point.
The Eagles took charge early in game three as Howerzyl racked up a nine point service run. That run featured two aces by Howerzyl, two blocks by Fopma and two kills by Vander Hart. North Mahaska tried to battle back and finally they cut the lead to 21-17 with McBirnie at the line. A kill by Beltman gave the ball back to the Eagles. Kills by Vander Hart and Beltman plus and ace by Vander Hart closed the game down.
“Our passing and setting was just a little off tonight,” Warhawk coach Alisha Briggs said. “We just didn’t get many opportunities to hit the ball. Our girls worked hard through the season and we have gotten better.”
The Warhawks finish with a 12-11 record while the Eagles (16-17) will advance to the next round where they took on Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont in Eddyville Tuesday.