HUXLEY – The Ballard volleyball team claimed a convincing victory over Saydel in the opening round of Class 4A regional competition Monday.

The Bombers swept the winless Eagles by scores of 25-18, 25-12 and 25-18 to improve to 6-19 on the season. It was Ballard’s second victory over Saydel as the Bombers took down the Eagles in two sets Oct. 15 during a tournament at Perry.

On Monday Ballard started off a little sluggish in two sets, but it didn’t matter. The Bombers eventually found their groove in each set to win comfortably against an overmatched Saydel team that finished the season at 0-24.

"Everyone felt good this match, but it also showed us what we needed to work on," Ballard right-side hitter Rachel Bruns said. "We needed to realize we’re in the postseason and set the tone. We’re going to have to step up our game to compete."

In the opening set Ballard fell behind 5-1 at the start. But a block by Meredith Ossian and kill from Hannah Larsen evened the score at 6-6 and the Bombers eventually moved in front, 10-9, on a Saydel error.

Saydel hung around for awhile after that, getting within 21-18 late. But Alex Petersen came up with a kill, Charcey Petersen followed with an ace and Abby Carlin tacked on a kill to put Ballard up 24-18 and the Bombers won on a Saydel error.

The second set saw Ballard in control from start to finish. The Bombers jumped out to a 12-5 lead and gradually pulled away for a 25-12 victory.

With things firmly in control, Ballard relaxed a bit in the third set. Saydel capitalized by jumping out to a 6-3 lead, but Ballard followed with a 7-1 run, capped by a Larsen kill.

Saydel kept things close for awhile, as Ballard was clinging to an 18-17 lead later in the set. But back-to-back blocks from Bruns and a pair of Saydel errors pushed Ballard’s lead to 23-17.

Ossian came up with a big block defensively to increase Ballard’s lead to 24-17 and Bruns finished off the Eagles with a kill.

Bruns – a senior playing in her final game on the Bombers’ home court – had a big night against Saydel. She totaled seven kills with no errors in 13 attacks and added three blocks, one ace and one assist.

"I did OK," Bruns modestly said. "Our team did well and that helped me."

Carlin dished out 10 assists at setter and she also had four kills, three digs, blocks and aces apiece in a solid all-around match. Charcey tallied nine assists, went 18 of 19 serving with one ace and finished with two kills.

Alex had four digs and Ashley Davis totaled three for the Bombers. Brooke Mallon came through with five kills, three blocks and two digs and aces apiece; Ossian delivered three kills, three blocks and an ace and Larsen finished with three kills and two blocks.

As a team Ballard had 25 kills against 13 errors for a .174 kill-efficiency rate. The Bombers finished with five solo blocks and 16 overall, and they had nine aces on a 68 of 77 serving performance.

Up next for Ballard is fourth-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock (44-6) in the regional semifinals. The game will take place tonight in Waverly at 7 p.m.

NORWALK – Ballard finished up the regular season with a loss at Norwalk Oct. 21 as early struggles hurt the Bombers in a four-set loss.

Ballard dug itself in a hole by dropping the first two sets. The Bombers fell 25-15 in the first set and 25-20 in the second.

With its back against the wall, Ballard won a tough 25-23 decision in the third set to stay alive. The Bombers also played tough in set four, but this time they couldn’t finish the job, falling 25-22 to lose the match.

Ballard finished with 32 kills against 17 attack errors and the Bombers had six solo blocks and 11 aces on a 61 of 69 serving night.

Rachel Bruns, Alanna Dubberke and Hannah Larsen each had six kills and Brooke Mallon and Meredith Ossian chipped in five apiece. Dubberke also had three solo blocks and Larsen, Mallon and Abby Carlin each tacked on one.

Carlin handed out seven assists and she also had four aces. Charcey Petersen produced 12 assists and two aces and Emily Jurgensen totaled three digs for Ballard.