Preseason is a time for a team to find its strengths and weaknesses. According to CEU Coach Brent Martindale that is exactly what the CEU volleyball team has done.
"Over the past two weeks we have gone the extreme on the emotional roller coaster. We have gone from playing well enough against the number two ranked team in the country, beating them in a game, to having the wind taken out from us from injuries and frustrations.
But this weekend at the Santa Ana Tournament, we seemed to overcome the injuries and won the tournament! We won our pool and then beat Saddleback College (last year's tournament winner) in the finals."
In the Santa Ana Tournament CEU beat Allan Hancock College 25-17 and 25-15. Next up was Saddleback College and they split the match 20-25, 25-20.
The Lady Eagles were given the win on percentage points. Continuing in pool play CEU beat LA Technical College 25-11, 25-12 and then beat Antelope Valley College 25-17, 25-14, to win their pool.
The Eagles then began tournament play with a one game to 25 points format. CEU took on Chaffey College and beat them 25-17. In the semi finals the Eagles challenged Mt. San Antonio College and took them 25-20. In the finals they had to again play Saddleback College and the Eagles were victorious,25-23.
In that final game CEU was down 13-18 and had to call a time out.
They then went on a run led by Julia Potts who served six in a row to tie at 20. Saddleback tied it again at 23, but then the Eagles grabbed the next two points.
The final point for the Eagles was on a kill by Garvin. CEU made a clean sweep and went 7-0 for the weekend tournament.
This was just what the coach ordered before heading into conference play. He had praise for the team as a whole: "Although we did have several standout players, this tournament win was a 'team thing!' We had to have everyone do their part, and everyone contributed.
What was most satisfying to me was seeing how far we've come from the first time this year, I watched the team learn to play together for an extended period of time, rather than just showing flashes of it. They created a "haka" cheer and did it before each game, and it may seem like a small thing on the outside, but it is just the thing we needed as a TEAM."
Alexis Adams led the team with 36 kills, ten in the first game alone. Barbara Jardim had 34 kills, with seven in the final against Saddleback. Megan Garvin smashed 31 kills and also hit an average of over 400 for the tournament. Garvin led the team in passing with a 2.2 average. Chloe Wilson took charge on the net with 17 blocks.
Martindale also was pleased with the play from his setters, Julia Potts and Katie Palmer. Potts led the team with eight service aces, and Palmer contributed four of her own. Britni Greenwood came off the bench 19 kills and three blocks.
CEU's record is 10-10 going into conference play.
Salt Lake will start things off with a trip into Eagle territory this Friday night with game time at 7:00 p.m. Snow will also venture in for a match on Saturday with game time at 3:30 p.m.