Pella Christian overcame a lackluster first game by claiming the next three and defeating Newton 3-1 in volleyball Tuesday night – notching their first Little Hawkeye Conference victory of the season. The Cardinals took the first set 25-18, with the Lady Eagles responding by winning the next three 25-19, 25-22 and 25-20.
Pella Christian made shift in their offense over the weekend, shifting from having two setters and moving some players around on the court; something head coach Cindy Nikkel says seems to be working well.
“We ran a 5-1 this weekend and tonight with [setter] Lauren Jungling, and that made a big difference. We also moved a sophomore outside – Rebecca Gritters – and that’s huge because she has a heavy hand. She hits the ball well and does a good job out there,” said Nikkel.
“Then we moved Logan De Graaf from right-side [hitter] to middle [blocker] – she’s played middle several years already – so it wasn’t a big change for her. I think overall, our rhythm’s just a little bit better offensively; and that’s made a big difference.”
Pella Christian had three players register double-digit kills on offense, led by Rebecca Gritters’ 17 successful attacks. Lauren Jungling spread around 35 assists, and Tessa Howerzyl paced the defense with 28 digs. Newton came in to the match as the No. 15-ranked team in Class 4A.
The Pella Christian volleyball team is now 4-8 overall and 1-0 in the Little Hawkeye Conference. They’ll return to competition Saturday, in a tournament at North Mahaska.