By Calvin Jensen
There was no luck needed this St. Patrick’s Day as the 4th ranked USU Eastern women’s volleyball team once again found themselves in the national spotlight Wednesday night, taking on the 13th ranked Bruins of Salt Lake Community College.
The Lady Eagles set out to redeem themselves after suffering a 3-1 loss back on Feb. 26, which snapped their 14-game winning streak. Redemption was earned Wednesday night as they controlled the tempo throughout the majority of the three-set sweep of the Bruins, 25-17, 25-23 and 25-22.
When asked about the difference between their two matchups against Salt Lake, outside hitter Alyssa Simmons said, “Our previous loss to SLCC was a great opportunity to find things we needed to work on. In practices since that time, we focused on being aggressive during critical times and executing the ball quicker. It has been a lot of work in the gym but it definitely has paid off and I’m so proud of what we did tonight.”
Simmons scored a season high 11 kills and brought an early energy that helped propel the team to the dominating win against the Bruins. Right side hitter Sunny Perry and middle blocker Lindsey Otero each added seven of their own kills to help keep the offense moving in the game.
Rachel West was key in preventing any significant offensive runs from Salt Lake as she put up seven big blocks at the net. Camber Dodson’s 23 assists on the night allowed for the impressive offensive show put on by the Eagles, while also adding 11 digs. Emma Ricks was able to keep several plays alive with 16 digs as she adds to her significant national lead of 564.
“We pushed the girls hard in practice this week and their hard work paid off on the court tonight,” said head coach Danielle Jensen. “They made the adjustments and it worked. They played at the level we saw in the preseason and it felt good to know we’re going in the right direction as we finish out SWAC play in the next week and prepare for the conference tournament.”
The Lady Eagles are now tied for 2nd place with Salt Lake Community College in SWAC standings. Snow College holds the first place spot with their only loss coming from USU Eastern. Each game going forward by all teams within the conference will have a significant impact on conference standings, which the Lady Eagles are sure to watch closely.
The Golden Eagles of Southern Idaho (11-8, 3-4) will be in town this Friday, March 19 and a win will be crucial for the Lady Eagles (20-4, 6-2) as they battle for a first round bye in the Region 18 tournament. Tickets will be sold at the door and those unable to attend can catch the action on the Scenic West Digital Network.
Photos by Jeff Barrett