PELLA — The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont volleyball team defeated Des Moines Christian 3-2 (19-25, 25-17, 25-18, 20-25, 15-9) in the Class 2A, Region 4 finals Wednesday in a phenomenal match that featured excellent play by both teams.
With the victory, the Rockets (34-5) earned a berth to the state tournament. Emotionally, for both teams, the match was tantamount to a roller-coaster ride, as the momentum continuously seesawed back and forth.
"When the momentum wasn't going our way we kept telling each other to 'keep believing' and 'we got this,'" Rocket Haegen Boyer said.
The electric atmosphere in the Pella Christian High School gym was palpable, as fans for both clubs roared exhuberantly for their respective teams throughout the match. Good-natured cheers were lobbed back and forth between the opposing fans, with each side trying to outdo the other in team spirit.
Things didn't start swimmingly for E-B-F — it was clear the Lions had dilligently studied the Rockets' style of play.
"They came out and played tremendous against us," E-B-F coach Gladys Genskow said. "They blocked really well, they knew what we were going to do so we just had to go back and make some adjustments. That first game we were so nerved up and really scared and it was one of those where now we need to make adjustments."
Even when Tasha Alexander and Karlie Taylor would deliver one of their trademark spikes in game one, the ball was often blocked right back at them.
"There in the first game we were hitting too much into the block," Genskow said.
Despite the Lions' exceptional play, E-B-F still managed to take an 8-6 lead early in the first game after a successful spike by Alexander. A few moments later, however, a perfectly placed shot by Des Moines Christian's Brynn Reichardt locked the two teams in an 8-8 tie. Later, the Lions' Sidnee Phillips and Erika Veurink scored on a double-block on an Alexander kill attempt. Affronted, Alexander answered the Lions with a swift riposte on the next volley. Having learned from past experience, this time Alexander re-directed her spike away from her would-be blockers and scored.