HUXLEY - The Ballard volleyball team will be heading into a week-long break with some needed momentum after sweeping Boone on senior night Oct. 1.
The Bombers entered the match having lost five in a row after suffering Raccoon River Conference losses to Adel-Desoto-Minburn and Carroll and going 0-3 at the Nevada Invitational. They had experimented with different lineups to turn the tide, but they experienced problems with consistency on the court.
But after a slow start against Boone the Bombers got clicking. They received key contributions from setter Kaylee Van Pelt and right-side hitter Cecilia Christensen to complement outside hitters Ava Ashworth and Carley Wilson, and Molly Houge also did a good job anchoring the back row.
“It’s really fun to see everybody come off the bench at any time and be able to perform,” Ballard head coach Morgan Bennett said. “I feel confident in my bench. I can put anybody in there and they will do their job.”
Ballard rallied from a 21-17 deficit to take the first set over Boone in a 27-25 thriller. They kept things rolling over the next two sets, coasting to 25-14 and 25-12 victories to pick up their second RRC win and third victory overall.
Van Pelt played a big role in settling Ballard down after their sluggish start.
Van Pelt was forced into action after starting setter Brynna Huen was injured last week. She responded very well against Boone.
“Brynna got hurt, Kaylee had to step in and she did really well, so we decided to keep rolling with it,” Bennett said. “She hustles hard and does a really good job so we stuck with it tonight and it worked out.”
Van Pelt finished the Boone match with 30 assists. She did a nice job spreading the ball around - Ashworth had 13 kills, Wilson and Natalie Maher six apiece, Christensen three and Aviah Taylor two.
“Kaylee just brings a positive attitude on the court,” Ashworth said. “It’s good to have her out there.”
Van Pelt credits her teammates for helping her adjustment to being a varsity setter go smoothly.
“It was definitely challenging at first because I didn’t really have much experience,” Van Pelt said. “But everyone was really helpful getting me comfortable with everybody.”
Christensen has also stepped up her game in recent weeks. She burned Boone with outstanding serving, going 17 of 18 with five aces.
“My serving today was on,” Christensen said. “Once I feel it I keep going.”
Christensen was in top form during the third set. She had three big aces to help Ballard go from up 12-7 to 20-7.
“Cecilia served a lot at practice and it really showed today,” Bennett said. “That run in the third set was huge.”
Houge led Ballard in digs with 17. Ashworth added 11 and Wilson seven.
Another big plus for Ballard in the match was getting all three seniors - Isabell Hobbs, Sydney Denger and Sidra Vespestad on the court in a victorious send off. Denger ended up with two kills.
“It was good to get the seniors in there on senior night,” Bennett said. “They all got to touch the ball and they all did good. That was exciting.”