It wasn’t pretty at times, but Pella Christian was able to come away with a conference win over rival Knoxville on Monday night. The Eagles won game one, 25 – 19. In the second set, Pella Christian held an early 9 – 1 advantage, before the Panthers went on a 14 – 1 run, thanks to some masterful serving by Ashley Hawkshead, who collected four aces in the second game alone. Knoxville won 25 – 21 to even the match up. Pella Christian had another early lead in game three 14 – 6, before Knoxville came back and tied it up at 21 per side. Abby Pleima got the serve for the Eagles, and went on a 4 – 0 run with two aces to lead her team to a 25 – 21 win. The Eagles would dispense of Knoxville in game four, 25 – 18 to win the match three sets to one. Eagles’ coach, Cindy Nikkel said that the Panthers are a gritty team and didn’t let up throughout the match. Panthers’ coach, Liz Sanders concurred with Nikkel’s thoughts, and added that her girls just couldn’t finish out some rallies in the end. Hawkshead finished with four aces overall and nine kills and her teammate Cheyenne Jones had ten kills and 22 digs. For the Eagles, Hannah Beltman had eight blocks, Becca Gritters came up with 11 kills, and Lauren Jungling had four aces to lead the way. Knoxville falls to 17 – 16 overall and 3 – 3 in the conference. Pella Christian improves to 14 – 13 on the season and are now 3 – 3 in league play. The Eagles play Thursday at Grinnell to wrap up their conference schedule, and Knoxville hosts a tournament this Saturday.

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