INDIANOLA — In the regular season meeting it was Oskaloosa getting the sweep over Pella in three straight sets, but with the Little Hawkeye Conference title on the line, it was the Lady Dutch winning a pair of close sets to edge the Indians 2-0 (26-24, 25-23) and bring home their first conference tournament title since 2016.
It is championship season and there was a lot of good volleyball on the night with several close sets that could’ve went either way.
Oskaloosa was one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament and that didn’t stop in pool play. The Indians picked up 2-0 sweeps of Norwalk (21-12, 21-17), No. 10 Dallas Center-Grimes (21-17, 21-13) and Grinnell (21-16, 21-7).
Undefeated in poll play, the Indians were riding their 10-match winning streak into the conference tournament finals.
"I was impressed by our intensity, our competitiveness, and our execution in all our matches," Oskaloosa head coach Jennifer Comfort said. "We attacked teams from the service line with 31 aces as a team. We played smart volleyball and kept our errors to a minimum. Our defense was relentless and our attackers looked to terminate the ball each time. We had great energy and urgency against each opponent. We came in with a winning mindset and almost came out with the Championship. It was good to play Norwalk and DCG again since we lost to those teams in five during the regular season."
In the other pool, Pella was playing some really good volleyball. The Lady Dutch would 2-0 sweep Newton (21-10, 21-12) and Pella Christian (21-14, 21-10) before meeting Indianola for a spot in the title match.
Pella took the first set fairly easily, 21-13. But the Indians came back to take the second set 21-17 and force a third set. That third set would go the distance and more with Pella eventually taking it 16-14 to earn themselves a spot in the finals against Oskaloosa.
There were runs by both teams and great back and forth as Oskaloosa and Pella clashed for the Little Hawkeye Conference title.
This time, it was the Lady Dutch coming up with plays late in the set as they claimed both hard-fought sets 26-24 and 25-23 to defeat the Indians and capture their first conference tournament title since 2016.
"Playing Pella is always an energy-filled match up, so it was a perfect combo for the championship match," Comfort said. "I would have loved to win, but I'm so proud of how we played and that we are peaking at the right time of the season."
For Pella Christian, they would go 1-2 in pool play falling to Indianola 2-0 (21-10, 21-15) and Pella 2-0 (21-14, 21-10) while picking up a 2-1 (18-21, 21-12, 15-13) win against Newton.
The Eagles would meet Norwalk in the fifth place match. Pella Christian took the first set 25-21 but would be in a barn burner for the second set, eventually taking down the Warriors 28-26 to secure fifth place.
No. 13 (4A) Oskaloosa (20-7) gets a first round bye and will host the winner of Norwalk and Carlisle in the regional semifinals on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Pella (22-11) hosts Grinnell (3-21) in the regional quarterfinals on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Pella Christian (15-13) will host Pleasantville (9-12) in the regional quarterfinals on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
*Stats were not available at time of print