The Garner Hayfield Ventura Cardinals entered into a Thursday night contest reeling from losses to the North Iowa Bison and the Forest City Indians. Now they faced their cross county rival West Hancock Eagles in Britt who were coming off a strong performance win against the Eagle Grove Eagles on Tuesday night.
The Cardinals knew they had to take control of the match early if they were to defeat the Eagles. They used a strong combination of net play and serves to do just that. Bailee Frayne and Ashley Markla continued to pepper the back middle of the Eagle defense with strong serves and an occasional near drop serve to keep the back line defense guessing. When the Eagles returned service, they were met with the net defense of Jayden Hughes and Morgan Ryerson.
The Eagles were not without their defensive prowness. Sidney Burgardt and Emily Ryerson continued to stalk the corners of the front line Burgardt would trade kills with Brigid Smith in the middle off of sets from Ryann Hagen. Hagen would option the pass the Ryerson usually playing the corners for decisive kills down the middle.
The Cardinals took advantage of Eagle miscues on the back line to take an early 2-0 lead in the first set. They continued to maintain the lead through to the end of the set winning 25-18.
The Eagles began to make a few adjustments in the second set using Kaitlyn Oort in combination with Sydney Hudspeth and Sydney Zamago who was the Libero for the Eagles. Zamago contained most of the serves by the Cardinals in the second set until the Eagles nearly tied the set at 10. Then Bretta Carolus of the Cardinals began a serving barrage totaling nine points for the Cardinals and decisively putting the Cardinals ahead for the win 25-11 in the second set.
In the third set, the Eagles began to take charge of the home court. They jumped out to a 2-0 early lead, only to see it tied repeatedly throughout. The Eagles had found an answer to Carolus’ serve, but still had to deal with Taylor Gerdes and Jacki VanOort of the Cardinals on the front line. Both attacked the net a combined 51 times throughout the match. The fourth set went to a 24-24 tie before the Eagles were able to get the Cardinals out of system and gain the 26-24 win.
The fourth set was not so easy for the Eagles. Just as in the first set, a series of back line defensive miscues led to an insurmountable 7 point lead thanks in part to the stellar serving of Bretta Carolus who was 29-of 29 in serve efficiency. She had a total of nine aces in the match which matched her entire teams performance in that category. The Eagles mounted a let set rally thanks to the service work of Brigid Smith who began to find holes in the Cardinal back line defense. The Eagles rallied for four unanswered points as the Cardinals teetered on match point, but could not continue the string and fell 25-17. The Cardinals won the match, 3 sets to 1.
The Cardinals now come home on Tuesday night to face the Belmond Klemme Broncos who are 0-4 having lost to Bishop Garrigan, Lake Mills, Eagle Grove, and South Central Calhoun. The Eagles will travel to Armstrong to take on the North Union Warriors before coming back home to face the North Iowa Bison next Thursday. Both of those games can be heard on B-103.
Both the Eagles and the Cardinals are 1-2 on the young season.