EDDYVILLE — The Pella Christian Eagles stepped out of Little Hawkeye Conference play to pay a visit to their neighbors to the south, the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rockets Thursday night. The Eagles spotted the Rockets game one and then came back to pull out a 3–1 victory (21-25, 25-17, 25-13, 25-20).
Game one was marred by numerous errors on both sides of the net and the Rockets used a series of Eagle errors capped by an ace serve by Brooke Shafer to take a 7–3 lead. But the Eagles surged back into a 9–8 lead behind a pair of kills by Avey Amelse and Kills by Kyah Chamberlin, Trinity Vos and Morgan Heinen. Then the game settled into a point trading affair until the Rockets took a 22–19 lead after an Eagle serving error and an ace serve by Sarah Schutt. A block by Paige Harter and a pair of Eagle hitting errors put the cap on a 25–21 Rocket victory.
Game two appeared to be destined to go to the Rockets as well as they used more Eagle misplays to build a 12–9 lead. But then the Eagles found what they had been looking for, a long service run. With Amelse at the service line the Eagles reeled off eight consecutive points to take a 17–12 lead. With improved serving, some thunder began to erupt at the net. A pair of kills by Elizabeth Brouwer, a kill by Sarah Gritters, a block by Chamberlin and a back row kill by Amelse fueled the run.
With the lead in their hands, the Eagles cruised to a 25–17 win behind a kill and a block by Brouwer, kills by Heinen, Chamberlin and Gritters and an ace serve by Heinen.
Pella Christian found pair of long service runs early in game three to take a commanding 17–4 lead. Larissa Pleima ripped off six straight points and a pair of aces and she was followed by a five point service run and an ace by Gritters. The Eagles became aggressive at the net and sent some vicious hits across the net that could result in dental problems. The Eagles closed out a 25–13 win with a double block by Gritters and Vos.
The Rockets made a valiant effort to take game four as they took a 4–2 lead with a sizzling kill by Whitney Klyn. But the Eagles battled back with an ace by Gritters, a kill by Vos and a block by Brouwer to take a 7–5 lead. That lead would not be surrendered even though the Rockets would get to within one point three different times before dropping a hard fought 25-20 decision.
“It was a struggle to get started,” PC coach Joanna Settles said. “We have to have better serving and better passing, but we will take the win. This match showed us that we have plenty to work on. We got some long service runs in the second and third games which really sparked us. We also had some big blocks and hard hits that made a difference.”
Amelse led the offense with 14 kills and Gritters chipped in with 13 kills and four ace serves while Pleima drilled three ace serves. Chamberlin recorded 38 assists and nine digs and Lydia Zylstra added 10 digs.
Rocket coach Gladys Genskow felt that her team used Eagle mistakes to gain a first game win, but then fell off in the final three games.
“They play at a different level in their league,” Genskow said. “I thought we played well for the first game and then they executed better. Their serving improved in game two and we didn’t adjust to it. We had our chances in game four, but didn’t execute at the end. We have to become a better blocking team and our front line defense must improve. We will use this game as it pointed out several things that we need to work on.”
Shafer led the Rockets with five kills and an ace, Klyn added four kills and two aces, Cooper Champoux had three kills and an ace and Harter contributed two kills and a block.
The Rockets are off now until the Ottumwa tourney on Sept. 19 while the Eagles host Grinnell next Tuesday.