HUXLEY - A strong finish to the regular season carried over into the Class 4A regional quarterfinals for the Ballard volleyball team Oct. 18 in Huxley as the Bombers swept Des Moines Hoover.
Ballard won seven of its final nine matches of the regular season and was determined not to relieve last season when Dallas Center-Grimes knocked off the Bombers to open regional play. Ballard crushed Hoover in the first two sets before rallying in the third set to advance to a rematch with DCG in the regional semifinals.
“It definitely feels better to go farther than last year,” Ballard senior outside hitter Olivia Vier said. “Last year was really sad to lose in the first round.”
The Bombers jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first set. An Ana Vier kill and Hoover error finished off a 25-8 Ballard victory.
Two Carley Wilson aces and a Taylor Aviah block capped an 11-1 Bomber spurt to start the second set. Ana Vier completed a 25-9 win in the set with a block and a kill.
Ballard started getting several reserves playing time in the second set. That enabled Hoover to find some momentum in the third set as the Huskies built a 19-16 lead.
But the Bombers regrouped just in time, rallying to take a 23-22 lead, then finishing a 25-23 victory after an Ana Vier ace and Hoover error.
The win put Ballard at 19-11 on the season. Ana Vier said a tougher mindset due to dealing with adversity this season helped Ballard avoid last year’s postseason fate.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year and a lot of players not being able to play,” Ana Vier said. “We’ve worked harder for it.”
Ana ended up with seven kills, four digs, two blocks and one ace. Olivia added eight digs and four kills.
As a team, Ballard had 19 kills and 13 attack errors. The Bombers finished with 60 digs, four blocks and an impressive 16 aces.
Ballard ended the match with 10 players getting to serve, nine recording at least one dig and seven picking up a kill.
“It was good to get our younger players in just so they have experience going into next year,” Ballard head volleyball coach Bethany Vier said. “Especially with it being a regional match. It was good to get everybody in because they work hard and everybody doesn’t get to see the hard work they put in.”
Mykelann Gray led Ballard’s outstanding serving effort with seven aces and she also had 20 digs and two kills. Hannah Elliott finished with 15 assists, nine digs, one ace and one kill; Cassie Smith put up three kills and Wilson registered three aces, one kill and one dig.
Aviah finished with two blocks, Karlee Ahrenholtz eight digs, Allison Vetter one kill and Sarah Stolte three digs off the bench for Ballard. Brandelle McGinn tacked on five digs and one ace, Molly Houge two digs and Grace Hill one assist.
Des Moines Hoover finished the season at 3-18.