Ballard pushes Nevada to the limit in 3A regional volleyball quarterfinals: C-M falls to BCLUW in 1A

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Ballard's Ally Baker starts a serve during the Bombers' Class 3A regional quarterfinal volleyball match with Nevada Oct. 18 at Nevada. The Bombers fell in five sets.

The Ballard volleyball team gave a strong Nevada team all it could handle in the Class 3A regional quarterfinals Oct. 18 at the Nevada High School Field House in Nevada.

The Bombers pushed the match to the full five sets before dropping the rally game to fall just short of pulling off the upset to advance to the semifinals.

Ballard won the first set in convincing fashion, 25-16. Nevada rebounded to even things up with a 25-17 win over the Bombers in the second set.

The third set was the tightest of the night. It was a back-and-forth battle won by Ballard, 26-24. The Bombers then took a 22-20 lead in the fourth set, but Nevada ended it on a 5-0 run to pull off a 25-22 victory and force a rally game. 

In the rally game Nevada took charge and prevailed, 15-9. With the loss Ballard ended its season with an 11-18 record.

"We kept with them the whole time," Ballard head coach Morgan Bennett said. "We knew it was do or die, so the girls gave all they had. They gave them a run for their money and came up just a little short at the end there."

Collins-Maxwell also saw its season end Oct. 18. The Spartans were swept by BCLUW in the first round of 1A regional play, losing by scores of 25-7, 25-8 and 25-11 to finish 2-31.

Here's what we learned from Ballard's gutsy effort and Collins-Maxwell's loss:

Bombers had Cubs on the ropes

Ballard was so close to upsetting Nevada.

The Bombers took a lot of momentum into the fourth set and after a long Ava Ashworth kill and Nevada error had a 22-20 lead late. Then they were whistled for a violation and Nevada followed with four more unanswered points to steal a 25-22 victory.

The Cubs followed it up with the rally-game victory to end the match.

Ballard's Memphis Inglett goes for a spike against Nevada's Emma Strottman during the Bombers' 3A regional quarterfinal loss to the Cubs Oct. 18 in Nevada.

"They knew it was do or die and the girls gave them a run for their money," Bennett said. "We just came up a little short at the end."

Neither team could mount an efficient attack on offense. Ballard had 33 kills on 2.8 % efficiency and Nevada was at 9.8 % with 45 kills.

The two teams also had similar success serving the ball.

Both teams were successful on 89 % of their serves. Ballard finished with 11 aces and Nevada tallied 13.

Baumgardner dominates

Sophomore middle blocker Brooklyn Baumgardner was a dominant force at the net for Ballard.

Baumgardner was a huge reason Ballard was able to hang tough for five sets. She took advantage of her 6-2 frame to record five kills and dominate the net defensively with nine blocks.

"She's always a force," Bennett said. "A lot of teams can't match up to her."

Memphis Inglett also came up big at the net with five kills. Rylee Scherder had four digs and three aces, Kate Miller three kills and one block, Hailey Battani nine digs and Kerrigan Boock six digs.

Rylie Askelsen and Ally Baker both did great at setter for Ballard. Askelsen finished with 18 assists, 13 digs and three aces and Baker 11 assists, seven digs and three aces.

Ashworth bows out with strong match

Senior outside hitter Ava Ashworth has been the go-to player on offense all season for Ballard.

Even with a tough Nevada block led by Shelbi Hazlitt and Lily Goos, Ashworth still had a tremendous performance in her final match.

Ashworth hammered down 15 kills on 44 attacks. She also recorded nine digs, three blocks and one ace.

Spartans struggle

An inexperienced Collins-Maxwell team has been overmatched for most of the season in a rebuilding year under new head coach Casady Myers. 

It was no different for the Spartans against BCLUW. Collins-Maxwell only had nine kills on 8.2 % efficiency compared to BCLUW's 40 on 42.3 % efficiency.

Both teams were successful on 96 % of their serves, but the Spartans went without an ace and the Comets had 14.

Tori Bienfang had seven digs, three kills and two blocks for Collins-Maxwell. Marissa Boege had seven digs and three assists, Kenzi Wierson five assists and digs apiece, Chloe Wierson seven digs and two kills, Isabelle Hill four digs, Vivian Kahler three digs, Sofie Wattonville two digs and Hannah Kimberley one dig.