The North Iowa Bison came prepared in an excellent contest between they and the West Hancock Eagles. Though the score doesn’t reflect the content of the game, the two teams battled through the first two sets where either team could have won them. The Bison and Eagles never let each other out of their sights in the first set with either team not trailing by more than 2 points before roaring back to take a slim one or two point lead.
The Eagles were led by strong outside hitting from Brigid Smith and Emily Ryerson who were continually set up well by Ryann Hagen. On the other side of the net, Rachel Schutter continued to feed the ball to Katlin Adams and MacKenzie Bengston who shot kills down the middle back of the Eagles. The Eagles had the opportunity to take the set, leading 24-23 and serving. However, the Bison were equal to the task and found seams along the edges to get points and tie the set twice before winning 28-26.
The second set saw the Bison fall back early but return strong. Bekah Jensvold of the Bison took a lead roll as a middle hitter finding small holes in the Eagle defense. She flared out as an outside hitter on occasion striking down the line for points. Sydney Burgardt stepped in for the Eagles along with Kaitlyn Ohrt to polish up the back corners of the Bison. Burgardt got three kills in those zones and Ohrt found space for points on three other occasions to make the match another even heat up to a 19-19 tie. Jensvold took command in the late stages of the set lacing three of her six kills to cinch the victory 25-20.
The third set saw the Eagles unable to answer the strong service of the Bisons’ Jordan Ostrander who rattled off eleven successful serves which the Eagles could not return. The Eagles found themselves down 12-1 before starting to mount a comeback. In the process, they began to get a little out of system leaving gaps where the Bison would attack with kills. Adams, Jensvold, and Bengston repeatedly hammered away at the open spaces while the Eagles were only able to muster a small comeback before falling 25-10 and losing the match 3-0.
The Eagles are now 1-4 and will face Belmond-Klemme on Saturday as they begin a five match road trip that takes them to Forest City, Newman Catholic in Mason City, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, and eventually to Algona to face Bishop Garrigan. The Eagles will return home on September 26th for Senior Night against Belmond Klemme. That will be their final home match before they embark on three matches on the road in October.
For the Bison, it’s on to Spirit Lake for a tournament there before returning home on Tuesday to face the Belmond-Klemme Broncos at 7pm. The Bison are now 2-2 and move ahead of the Eagles in the Western Division of the Top Of Iowa Conference.