Ballard volleyball came into the opening district round at home against Perry with every expectation to run the evening. The Bombers had already beaten the Jayettes twice this season and it had been two weeks since their guests had won, so a third win wasn’t a stretch. A rejuvenated Perry team showed up to push the game to four sets, only for Ballard to hold on to a 3-1 win Wednesday to advance to the second round.
After cruising to a 25-12 win in the first set, Perry looked defeated in the next effort down with the first six points going to Ballard. Following a pair of kills from Kacy Nevitt and runs at the service line from Jenisis Cerna and Magley Orellana, Perry bounced to a 14-9 lead to threaten an upset.
Ballard’s Carley Wilson wasn’t having any of that, though.
The junior got the Bombers back on track with a kill that bounced off Perry’s diving defender to dampen the momentum.
“Carly’s pretty much our go-to. She’s our powerhouse hitter,” Ballard head coach Morgan Bennett said. “Carly was on tonight hitting spots.”
Perry head coach John Fulton was also complimentary of Wilson’s performance, particularly her role as a server with strong topspin, he said.
Wilson, along with Cecilia Christensen and Natalie Maher, were crucial in taking it back 25-20, the closest Perry had come to taking down Ballard all season.
That is, until the next set when Perry rallied late to extend the night to a fourth set after a 25-23 win. Wilson continued her timely work to keep Ballard up late 21-17. Between a kill shot from Nevitt an inch away from going out, another powerful kill at the net from Lanie Fish, and the closing ace from Jayna Kenney, the Jayettes could finally smile against Ballard.
“We just needed to pick up some things defensively,” Fulton said. “They weren’t swinging hard. At practice, all week, working on taking those hard-hit balls and they did not come out and hit hard. We just needed to fix some things defensively to clean up those tips.”
Ballard chased down the first nine points in the final set of the evening after reconfiguring the setups that Perry was countering. Not even three consecutive aces from Ashley Cerna were enough to pull Perry out of trouble as Ballard took the 25-18 decision.
The Jayettes’ season comes to a close with an 11-24 record, a four-win improvement over the 2018 campaign.
“I told the girls, you lived up to what we expected,” Fulton said. “We wanted you to compete and there’s no way that you can leave that court saying you didn’t. We have something to build on and we’re ready to go.”
After logging the 11th win of the season over the five from last year, Ballard travels to Dallas Center-Grimes on Tuesday, Oct. 29 to take on the No. 9 ranked Fillies. Bennett said she just wants to see her team show up “looking sharp.”