WATERLOO — Bellmont served notice early on the DeKalb Barons there was a reason the last time Bellmont lost a NHC volleyball match came when most of Thursday night's players were back in elementary school.
They're that good.
Bellmont pounded home a 25-6 victory in the opening game and then toyed with the Barons to score 25-18, 25-14 wins in the next two games for the three-game sweep. The win moved the third-ranked (class 3A) and defending state champion Squaws to 21-5 on the season and 5-0 in NHC play (all conference wins coming in three-game contests).
Only road matches at Homestead next Tuesday and Columbia City next Thursday stand in the way of the Squaws earning yet another undefeated sweep of conference teams.
Eight different Squaws recorded kills for Coach Craig Krull's elite group led by a strong performance by senior Payton Schultz who converted 10-14 kill attempts on the night. Holly Hankenson put down seven on the floor with Janaya Wilder getting six kills and Bailee Hankenson added five.
Opposing NHC teams can take some consolation in the fact the Schultz will graduate this year along with setter Steph Shoup, libero standout Allison Gutierrez, and ace server Erin Hunter, but that good news for them is short lived knowing that Wilder is just a freshman and the Hankenson twins are sophomores. And the BHS junior varsity team is undefeated this season as well showing Bellmont volleyball fortunes should continue on pace.
Both Bailee Hankenson and Gutierrez dropped in four service aces against the Barons' defense while Hunter had one. Bailee added 10 digs to lead the Squaws in that category to go with an assisted and solo block. Sister Holly contributed four digs while Hunter had eight and a pair of kills.
Melissa Mailand, a strong front row player for Bellmont who is in her first year of volleyball action for the Squaws despite being a senior, powered home three kills and had two solo blocks and two assisted blocks. Sarah Norder was 2-2 in kills.
The 19-0 Bellmont junior varsity pushed the Barons to a 25-20, 25-13 victory with Olivia Fuelling getting five kills, three assists, two digs and an ace. Madalyn Mann finished with five kills, four assists and an ace, Autumn Konkle passed for six assists along with two kills and a dig, Audrey Schultz had three kills and an assist, Emily Roman had three digs, Carley Williams ended up with four digs, Jordan Rumschlag and Natalie Busse both tallied three kills, Taylor Rhymer had five kills, Jessah Okoniewski had two digs, and Madison Glancy had an assist and kill.
The freshman game was somewhat of a surprise as Bellmont went through the first game in 25-13 fashion but that score was nearly reversed in the second contest as DeKalb posted a 25-12 decision to force a third game. That session didn't last long as the Squaws polished off a 15-4 victory.
Sadie Alberson topped the Squaws with eight digs, seven kills, five aces, and a blocked shot. Amanda Hunter handed out 18 assists and had six digs, two blocks, and one kill, Kenzi Funk put up four kills, six digs, and three blocks, Rachel Salerno scored seven kills and digs along with one ace, Ali Shaffer had five kills and aces and two digs, and Dana Garcia had one dig and assist.
Following conference action next week, Bellmont will host Senior Night on Tuesday, October 11 against Wayne and then finish on the road at Jay County on the 13th. Right before the sectional, the Squaws will host the Bellmont Quad, featuring two teams ranked higher than Bellmont this week, although both teams are in lower classes. Wes-Del is seeded second in class 1A while Wapahani is second in class 2A. Adams Central will join the Squaws in the four-team field.
To date, the Squaws have won 56 individual games while they have lost only 14.
In other NHC action Thursday night, second place Carroll (4-1 in the NHC) handed Homestead a 25-17, 25-22, 25-16 setback. Bellmont administered the lone setback to Carroll in three straight games a week ago.