By Sam Parsons
Anticipation was through the roof for Tuesday night’s volleyball matchup between Little Hawkeye Conference rivals Oskaloosa and Pella. Not only were you looking at a big rivalry matchup; it was also Oskaloosa’s home opener, as well as their homecoming week game.
The Indians were able to channel that emotion early into highly effective volleyball. They dominated the Dutch in the opening set 25-13; after Pella led early 5-4, Oskaloosa scored 20 out of the next 26 points and cruised to a 1-0 set advantage.
The second set was substantially more competitive. Pella again staked an early lead, this time 12-7; the Indians rallied and 11 of the next 13 points to go up 18-14, but Pella wouldn’t let this stretch last as they battled back to tie it at 20-20. From there, the two teams dueled closely and the set went into extra points, with each team facing a set point multiple times. Ultimately it was the Indians who were able to string together 3 points after trailing 29-28 to win 31-29 and take a 2-0 lead.
Oskaloosa looked to finish the sweep in the third set, but Pella wouldn’t simply give this go-round of the rivalry away, and they battled back and forth with Osky. The score was 16-15 late in the set with neither team ever establishing a firm advantage until the Indians rattled off 5 points in a row and staved off any comeback efforts from the Dutch to finish them off with a 25-20 win and the 3-0 sweep.
The Indians got excellent performances out of seniors Maleah Walker, Pressley Blommers, and Lucy Roach; sophomore Gracie DeRonde also had one of her best performances of the year. Sophomore Hannah Nelson saw extended playing time stepping in for injured junior Hayley Van Arkel and filled those shoes well.
Oskaloosa (11-7) will be in action next at 11th ranked Indianola on Tuesday, September 20, with coverage available on 104.9 KBOE and on this website. Pella (6-7) heads to Ballard for a tournament on Saturday.