Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Calvin Jensen, USU Eastern Sports Information Contributor
Traveling to ninth ranked Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), the USU Eastern women’s volleyball team knew the competition that awaited them. With both teams coming off losses to Western Wyoming Community College, the stakes were high. The Lady Eagles came out energized in the first set, taking a significant lead, which they maintained throughout, ending in a score of 25-21.
SLCC rebounded from the loss and jumped out with their own commanding lead in the second set with the Lady Eagles unable to navigate past the Bruins block on the net. Halfway through the set, with a score of 19-10, the Lady Eagles began a fierce comeback, narrowing a nine-point lead to just two at 23-21. A couple Eagle errors would end the set with reciprocated loss of 25-21.
Both teams battled point for point during the first half of the third set until the Lady Eagles gained momentum and shot out with a 14-7 lead. With a score of 20-15, the Lady Eagles were five points away from a 2-1 lead in the contests. However, allowing eight unanswered points, the Lady Eagles let down their guard and allowed the Bruins to take control of the set. They defeated USU Eastern 25-22 in a stunning comeback win.
The fourth set played out just like the first three sets with leads and comebacks. Points bounced back and forth for both programs until SLCC pulled away from the Eagles halfway through. The Lady Eagles couldn’t overcome the point deficit despite an impressive run late in the set. With frustrated Lady Eagle pin hitters, SLCC won the game with a 25-19 score, handing USU Eastern their third loss in a row and first loss in conference play.
Middle blockers kept the offense moving during the contest. Both middle blockers had career high kills with Kahea Nihipali at 14 kills and Alyssa Simmons with 10 kills. Ashlee McUne led in offense and defense throughout the game with 37 assists and 13 digs. Emma Ricks and Avery Best also contributed defensively with 12 digs each.
With little time between games, the Lady Eagles will shake off the loss and focus on their next game this Saturday against national defending champions College of Southern Idaho. The Lady Eagles will take the court at 1 p.m. in Twin Falls, Idaho and can be viewed LIVE on the SWAC digital network homepage.