By Calvin Jensen, Utah State Eastern, Sports Information Director
The USU Eastern women’s volleyball team continues to break records, concluding its preseason schedule on a 13-game winning streak. The 7th ranked Lady Eagles swept the competition in their Southern Nevada tournament, going undefeated for a third straight weekend. Eastern fell to only two opponents during their five-week schedule, losing two contests to No. 6 Miami Dade and falling to the No. 1 team in the country, Florida Southwestern.
In their final tournament of non-conference competition, the Lady Eagles downed Eastern Arizona 25-20, 25-20 and 25-11. Freshman setter Haley McUne led the team offensively, putting up 10 kills and 18 digs defensively in the contest. Freshman middle blocker Casidy Fried hit an impressive .778 hitting percentage on seven kills with three blocks on the net. Freshman setter Jenna Thorkelson had 18 assists and 11 digs in the game.
Next up for USU Eastern was Yavapai College out of Prescott, Arizona. The Lady Eagles dominated the Roughriders in the first two sets of the contest with scores of 25-16 and 25-15. In the third set, contentment would be the downfall of the Lady Eagles and a surge of momentum fell in favor of Yavapai picking up a third set win of 25-19. Refusing to go into a fifth set, Eastern opened the fourth set full throttle and defeated the Roughriders with a dominating 25-11 score.
McUne chalked up another 14 kills against the Gila Monsters. Freshman setter Katie Compas helped organize the offense with 25 assists. Freshman libero Paige Shumway picked up 22 digs on defense and freshman middle blocker Ajah Rajvong put up six blocks in the game.
“The progress this team has made in such a short period of time is remarkable,” said head coach Danielle Jensen. “We knew this was going to be the toughest schedule yet for our program and their experience and success has prepared them to enter conference play as we go up against some of the best teams in the nation.”
USU Eastern has several athletes that rank in the NJCAA Top 10 statistically. Casidy Fried is first in the nation with 68 block assists and second in the nation with 86 total blocks. Kennedi Knudsen takes the fourth spot with 242 total kills and teammate Haley McUne in sixth placed with 233 total kills. Paige Shumway takes the eighth spot defensively with 305 digs.