HUXLEY — North Polk withstood Ballard’s second-set surge to knock off the Bombers and finish off a 2-0 day at a triangular volleyball meet in Huxley Aug. 28.
The Comets came out in complete control, winning the first set by a 25-12 score. But in the second set, Ballard refused to go down, fighting back to claim an exciting 29-27 victory in front of the home crowd.
The win gave the Bombers the momentum going into the rally game. But North Polk showed why it is a program that has won at least 20 matches in each of the last six years, by regrouping to claim a 15-7 victory and take the match.
“If everyone just does their job and does it well, we’re pretty good as a team,” North Polk senior libero Katie Scott said. “If we all work together, communicate and all the extra things like that, we can be pretty good.”
North Polk had a .309 kill-efficiency rate against Ballard with 29 kills and 12 errors in 55 attacks.
Nora Aschoff led a balanced Comet offense with seven kills. After spending the first three years of her career in the back row, Aschoff moved to outside hitter this year and has responded well, also picking up eight digs and one block against Ballard.
“My team’s been helping me out a lot,” Aschoff said. “The setters are really consistent and they’re helping me get adjusted to what I need to do and how I need to do it.”
Veteran outside hitter Carolyn Steffen, who has to sit out the year with an ACL injury, has also helped with the transition.
“Carolyn has been helping me out a lot — telling me what I need to work on,” Aschoff said.
Liz Turk, Sydney Anderson and Jaedon Murphy each chipped in five kills and two digs apiece. Turk also came up with two blocks, emerging as a valuable asset in her senior year to help make up for the loss of Steffen, Rebecca Ley, Leah Cam and Emily Larson off last year’s team.
“It was a lot of pressure, but I was ready for it,” Turk said. “I’m ready to be a leader and help the team get to state. That’s our goal this year.”
Bella Rademacher was another valuable weapon for North Polk against Ballard, picking up four kills and two blocks.
Elli Mandernach chipped in two kills and digs apiece.
Scott had 12 digs, three assists and one kill in the win. Jalen Heintz tacked on six digs and an ace and Chloe Dougherty five digs.
Hailey Steffen produced 13 assists and six digs and Emily Byrd 10 assists and four digs at setter for the Comets.
Scrappy defense helped Ballard overcome a sluggish attack to hang with North Polk. The Bombers only had 21 kills against 28 attack errors.
“I think the girls did a good job of making adjustments after that first set,” Ballard head volleyball coach Shannon Wilhelm said. “North Polk was doing some things that we hadn’t seen in practice, like swinging line a lot. We really made adjustments that second set, having our block take that shot away and making it a lot easier on our defensive girls.”
Carley Wilson came up with eight kills and one ace, Ava Ashworth and Taiylor Wright tallied three kills apiece and Sarah Stolte and Aviah Taylor chipped in two kills each for Ballard. Hannah Elliott, Allison Vetter and Molly Houge all chipped in a kill.
North Polk and Ballard also faced off against Webster City.
The Comets swept the Lynx, 25-14 and 25-21. North Polk concluded the day with a 5-3 overall record.
Aschoff, Murphy and Turk each had five kills in the victory over Webster City. Aschoff also delivered seven digs and an ace and Murphy one block and dig apiece.
Rademacher came through with three kills and one block, Anderson two kills and three aces and Mandernach two kills and digs apiece. Scott added six digs and three aces, Steffen eight assists and four digs and Byrd six assists and two digs.
Heintz and Dougherty tacked on four digs apiece versus the Lynx.
The Bombers suffered 25-22 and 25-14 setbacks against Webster City. Ballard saw its record go to 0-4 at the conclusion of the triangular.
Ashworth had four kills, Wilson three kills and two digs, Houge six digs and Elliott two digs and one ace versus the Lynx. Stolte and Karlee Ahrenholtz each added three digs.