Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Calvin Jensen – USU Eastern Athletics
For the third year in a row and against the same opponent, the 8th ranked Lady Eagles battled their way into the SWAC tournament championship. After an impressive win in the semis against the College of Southern Idaho, the Lady Eagles were unable to carry that momentum into the title game, falling to 10th ranked Snow College 0-3 to finish out another record-breaking season.
Recapping an amazing year for the Lady Eagles, they earned their first conference title in the Scenic West Athletic Conference with a record of 20-8 on the season. Intentional in their scheduling, USU Eastern competed against 19 nationally-ranked opponents, defeating the current No. 1 team in Florida Southwestern and No. 3 Butler. The Lady Eagles remained in the top ten nationally throughout their entire season with a program best 8-2 finish in Scenic West play.
Following the semi-final victory, All-Region honors were awarded and earning SWAC Defensive Player of the Year was sophomore libero Emma Ricks. Ricks also joined freshman outside hitter Sammy Perry on All-Region 1st team. Sophomore middle blocker Lindsey Otero and sophomore setter Ashlee McUne were awarded 2nd Team All-Region and sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Simmons received an Honorable Mention during the awards ceremony. Following the championship game, sophomore middle blocker Kamryn Wiese and Emma Ricks were both placed on the All-Tournament Team.
The Lady Eagles now await one of two at-large bids to the NJCAA D1 National Tournament held in Hutchinson, Kansas Nov. 18-20. With several championship upsets within the top ten teams in the country, the Lady Eagles hope their success throughout the season can earn them a spot on the tournament bracket. That decision will be handed down on Wednesday, Nov. 10.