USU-CEU volleyball drops two games as conference play begins
SWAC volleyball action began as Eastern Utah hit the road for a match with Salt Lake Community College on Friday and then down to Ephraim for a match with Snow on Saturday. The outcome was the same in both locations as the Lady Eagles came home 0-2 after losing their matches 3-1 both days.
Against SLCC in EU (.269) outhit SLCC (.250) in the first set but just couldn't close it out. SLCC surged late to take the three point win. The Eagle's outside hitter Miranda Parkinson was hot early with three kills and Joy Malone caught fire with three kills. Malone smashed a kill that tied the score at 18. Barbara Jardin and Sabrina Simas recorded a pair of kills each to add to a good offensive effort.
Cold, actually icy, would be the word to describe the performance of EU in the second set. The Eagles only recorded three points on three service errors from nationally ranked SLCC. The Bruins finished the set with nine straight points to win 25-3. As bad as it was, Coach Grant Barraclough said it wasn't even the worst loss in EU volleyball history.
The team went to the locker room, laughed it off, and looked ahead to the next set. The fans may have had some doubt if the team could come back after such a lop-sided loss, but the team did not. SLCC started it off with a 10-5 lead and it looked like they were on their way to a match sweep. The Bruins maintained the lead to 15-10.
The Eagles made up their mind they were not going down without a fight and multiple kills from Jardin, Parkinson, Simas and Malone tie the score up at 20-20. It was all out war from there on out as neither team could make a run. A service ace by Abigale Ericson ended the marathon with a 28- 26 win for the Eagles. The team finished the set with 12 kills. Jardin and Parkinson led the way with four each. Simas ended with three.
The battle continued into set four as neither team can get more than a one point advantage. But, just as in set one SLCC made a late surge for the 26-24 win. Parkinson added four kills to her team leading 11. Julia Potts dished 28 assists in the match.
Down at Snow on Saturday, set two was Eastern Utah's best of the match. They were down 15-12 when Parkinson stepped up and served seven straight points as the Eagles took control for the 25-20 win. Jardin led the way with four kills.
But the bad news was that the first, third, and fourth sets were identical. The Eagles struggled to find offense from the beginning and were plagued with service errors. They played from behind in the three sets showing only spurts of the intensity from the day before. The Badgers played more consistently to get the match win.
Kylie Cordon hit .222 and led the team in the match attacks percentage. Parkinson ended with nine kills and two aces. Jardin smashed eight while Simas added six. Potts dished another 23 assists . Ericson and Parkinson each had 10 digs.
"Out team played hard against Salt Lake. They are ranked number two and we gave them a fight. It was a good loss. The second game I made a rotation change and I don't know if that threw them. We even played well, but everything went the other team's way and all we could do is laugh it off and we came back the next set and beat them,"coach Barraclough said.
He went on to say, "We were excited and ready for Snow, but we were a little tired from the trip. We played well and had moments of greatness and then the exhaustion showed."
The team will be at home this weekend with a Friday night match with Northern Idaho at 7 p.m. and a Saturday match with Southern Idaho at 3 p.m. in the B-DAC. Coach Barraclough and the team invite everyone to come early Friday night to meet the team. The event begins at 5 p.m. and there will be games and a chance for autographs.