By ANDY HEINTZ
Courier sports writer
---- — EDDYVILLE — The ultra-athletic Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont volleyball team swept a feisty BGM team (25-19, 25-10, 25-16) to advance to regional finals in the Class 2A, region 4 tournament.
A volley in the middle of the third game served as a perfect microcosm of how the match went. The volley, which was brimming with clutch shots by the Bears to keep play going, seemed destined to render BGM a hard-earned point. But, somehow, the uber-talented Rockets continued to return the ball over the net time and time again. Finally, the volley ended with E-B-F scoring on a double block by Tasha Alexander and McKinley Moore.
"Sometimes they were there at the right spot at the right time and didn't want it to drop," Rocket coach Gladys Genskow said. "I thought our aggression was good on those type of plays."
E-B-F did a laudable job on serves throughout the match as well.
"I think we served really well and went on good runs," Karlie Taylor said. "Sadie Baugher went on a really long run serving."
E-B-F's offense as a whole also enjoyed an abundance of success.
"I thought we had a lot of good hits," Taylor Leffler said.
The Rockets played with their usual blend of flair, eclat and unalloyed enthusiasm on their way to picking up the victory. The BGM volleyball put up a fight in game one, but E-B-F still was able to secure a 25-19 victory. The Rockets led 23-19 when a Tasha Alexander spike grew E-B-F's lead to 24-19. The successful kill was followed by an ace by Paige Shafer that gave the Rockets the win.
The second game wasn't near as difficult for E-B-F. Building on her game-winning ace in game one, Shafer delivered an ace at the genesis of game two, giving the Rockets a 1-0 lead. Leffler complemented Shafer's ace by drilling consecutive kills that upped E-B-F's lead to 3-0. Later in the game, an impressive double block by Taylor Leffler grew the Rockets' lead to 9-2. From there, E-B-F's offensive juggernaut continued to pour it on. E-B-F's lead ballooned to 16-5 after consecutive aces by Baugher and a kill by Leffler.
Even when the Bears' were playing at a high caliber, they struggled to come up with any points. For example, two nice saves allowed BGM to keep playing going during a volley, but the Bears hopes were torpedoed when Taylor scored on a kill. E-B-F went on to cruise to a 25-10 victory in game two.
BGM really battled in game three, but the Bears just couldn't overcome the Rockets' explosive offense.
"They didn't give up," Genskow said about BGM, "and sometimes I felt like we kind of gave up after we hit — got a little bit lax and her it comes back at us and we're not being really aggressive to the ball."
Ottumwa built a 22-15 lead late in the game after another vicious spike by Taylor. A couple minutes later, a thunderous kill by Taylor gave E-B-F a 25-16 win.
"I thought our serving was stronger tonight than what we had against Pella Christian in terms of we didn't miss as many serves," Genskow said. "I thought our serving was a lot better."Our intensity level was where we needed it to be. Our passing wasn't quite where we needed it to be most successful, but we made up for it with getting some good hits off the ball."
The Rockets will face Des Moines Christian at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pella Christian.