Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Calvin Jensen
The eighth ranked USU Eastern women’s volleyball team picked up their second straight loss Thursday night as they battle in the toughest conference in the nation. The Lady Eagles fell in three straight sets to third ranked Salt Lake Community College with set scores of 15-25, 20-25 and 19-25.
Then, on Saturday afternoon, the BDAC was energized as USUE cooled off a red hot Southern Idaho squad that had recently entered the national rankings at #19. The Lady Eagles were able to not only celebrate their three sophomores, but they came away with a 3-1 victory with set scores of 25-23, 25-17, 23-25 and 25-23.
Sophomore right side hitter Sophia Anderson led the way on offense, picking up a career high 14 kills with a remarkable .387 hitting percentage. Freshman middle blocker Casidy Fried pounded down seven kills and dominated defensively with nine blocks. Freshman setter Katie Compas had great ball placement with 24 assists and Paige Shumway covered the court with 22 digs, followed close behind by Kennedi Knudsen with 20.
“The team was able to reset following a tough loss on Thursday night,” said head coach Danielle Jensen. “They made the adjustments that were needed and when they are coachable and play together as a team, they are hard beat. I am so proud of what they have accomplished this season. They have went up against the best teams in the nation and if they use the tools they have been given, they are going to be happy with their results in the upcoming conference tournament.”
Three sophomores for USU Eastern played their final game inside the BDAC. Outside hitter Emma Christensen and right side hitter Sophie Anderson competed in every game during the season as they helped lead the Eagles to their best start in program history. Poised to lead the Eagles was setter Makenna Blanc, who suffered a heartbreaking, season-ending shoulder injury just days before the team’s first preseason matchup.
“I dread this day every year,” said Jensen. “These three girls have been so coachable and developed into amazing athletes that are capable of playing at the next level if they choose to do so. I am going to miss them so much, not only because of their contribution to the team, but because they are truly part of our family and that void will be felt.”
USU Eastern secured second place in the Scenic West Athletic Conference as they prepare for the Region 18 Tournament. Conference champion Salt Lake Community College will host this year’s tournament in Taylorsville, Utah on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 3-4. Tournament details will be announced when the official bracket is released.