PELLA — The Grinnell Tigers visited Eagle Lane Tuesday night for a Little Hawkeye Volleyball tussle and fell before the Pella Christian Eagles in overtime. The match was deadlocked at two games each and the fifth frame was needed to declare a winner.
Avey Amelse opened the frame with a powerful ace serve and then the two teams traded points with Grinnell taking a 7–6 lead. At that point the Eagles found a four point surge with Lydia Zylstra at the service line. Amelse put down a kill to gain the serve and after a Tiger hitting error, Amelse smashed another jaw rattling kill. Ellie Brouwer drove a kill through the Grinnell defense to finish the run and put the Eagles up 10–7.
The Eagles used their power at the net to finish the set. Blocks by Kyah Chamberlin and Brouwer along with a hitting error by the Tigers gave PC a 13–9 lead. A hitting error gave the serve back to the Tigers, but a throbbing kill by Sarah Gritters and a Tiger hitting error brought the match to a close. Pella Christian took the five-game win by scores of 20-25, 25-11, 25-18, 23-25 and 15-9.
Both teams struggled with consistency throughout the match as hitting and service errors mounted, but the Eagles seemed to find the better points of their game in sets two and three.
A bushel of errors in game one pretty much gave the game to the Tigers, but the worm turned in game two. Improved passing and setting allowed the PC hitters to do their thing and that improvement carried over to the serving game. Ace serves would be the name of the game for PC in game two Larissa Pleima and Brouwer each nailed a pair of aces and Zylstra and Amelse each had an ace as the Eagles pounded the Tigers 25–11 in game two.
The Tigers regrouped and roared out to a 10–7 lead in game three. But serving came to the rescue for the Eagles in the name of Natalie Harrill. Harrill ripped off a six serve run that featured a pair of ace serves and a kill by Brouwer to give PC a 15–11 lead.
The Tigers fought back and closed the gap to 20–18 before a resounding kill by Gritters gave the serve to the Eagles. Pleima stepped to the line and served up the next four points to secure a 25–18 Eagle win. Trinity Vos three kills in the run and Morgan Heinen delivered the final kill to end the game.
Game four was a step backwards for the Eagles as they were unable to find the long service runs that were keys to the previous wins. The Tigers used the net power of Daysi Harris and Makenna Smith along with a slew of PC errors gave the Tigers a 25–23 win. The stage was set for a thrilling overtime game five.
“I’m glad that we were able to pull this one out,” Eagle coach Joanna Settles said. “We had so many errors, but the team battled hard to overcome the errors. Our passing improved as the game went on and the serving got us into a good flow. Avey and Sarah had some big hits and Kyah put up 33 assists.”
Gritters led the team in kills with 14 and Amelse was close behind with 13. Amelse and Brouwer each recorded three ace serves and Harill and Gritters each had two. Pleima was the leading server with 21-of-23.
Next up for the Eagles will be the Des Moines Christian tourney on Thursday where they will square off against Newton, Van Meter, Grinnell and DMC.
Grinnell 25 11 18 25 9
Pella Christian 20 25 25 23 15
Pella Christian Stats
Serving: Larissa Pleima 21/23, 2 Aces, Natalie Harrill 14/15, 2 Aces, Ellie Brouwer 17/19, 3 Aces, Sarah Gritters 8/10, 2 Aces, Avey Amelse 3 Aces.
Kills: Gritters 14, Amelse 13, Trinity Vos, 6.
Blocks: Vos 2, Amelse 2, Kyah Chamberlin 2, Brouwer 2, Morgan Heinen 1.