The USU Eastern womens volleyball team completed their 2011 season trading a win and a loss against top ranked teams from North Idaho College and College of Southern Idaho.
On Friday, Eastern faced off with NIC, the fifth ranked team in the NJCAA national Division I poll, and came away with a three-set sweep (25-19, 27-25, 25-22).
Looking past the ranking, Eastern jumped out to an early first set lead 7-2. NIC battled back closing the gap to 9-8 before Eastern built another lead that grew to 17-11 thanks to a kill from Kylie Cordon and two attack errors from NIC. Eastern eventually closed out the first set with a 25-19 win.
In the second set, Eastern played from behind as NIC struck early and often building a large lead at 10-1. Eastern began trading points with NIC, until breaking through late in the set with three straight points to tie the set at 22-22.
The teams again traded points with each other until Eastern's Miranda Parkinson scored on a kill to tie the set at 25-25. Eastern won the set 27-25 after back-to-back attack errors by NIC.
In the third set, NIC took another early lead at 10-5. Eastern was able to close the deficit and tie the set at 12-12 with kills coming from Parkinson, Joy Malone and Lindzey Bair.
Eastern eventually took the lead at 20-19 and never relinquished it again, taking the set 25-22 and finishing the sweep on a kill by Whitney Fieldstead.
Parkinson led the team in kills with 10 and Malone, Cordon and Fieldstead each finished with seven kills.
Danee Merrell finished with a team-high 33 assists.
Abigale Ericson had 13 digs. Parkinson chipped in eight and Cordon and Fieldstead each had six digs.
The next day Eastern squared off with the ninth ranked College of Southern Idaho but fell short in a four-set loss (25-20, 14-25, 20-25, 13-25).
Eastern trailed early in the first set before scoring six points to take a 6-4 lead. CSI and Eastern would trade leads until Eastern took the lead for good at 17-16 on a kill by Malone. They eventually took the first set 25-20.
In the second set, CSI began to take control thanks to errors from Eastern. CSI took an early 9-2 lead and built on it leading 18-8 before closing out the set 25-14.
With the game tied at one set apiece, Eastern took leads in the third set at 7-3 on a kill by Cordon. They again traded points until the game was tied by Eastern at 18-18. CSI would not give up the lead as they took control of the game with a 25-20 win.
In the fourth set, CSI ran out to an early lead at 4-0 and 9-2. They would continue to build on the lead and took the set 25-13 to complete the win.
USU Eastern (6-20 overall, 3-7 in Scenic West Athletic Conference play) still has one final shot to make some noise and play the role of spoiler during the SWAC Conference Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
USU Eastern, who finished fourth in the conference, will play Snow College on Friday at 1 p.m. If Eastern wins, they would advance to play the top seed NIC later that day at 4 p.m.