This archived article was written by: Sam McGinnis
The sound of “Crazy In Love” blasted through out the gym while students and spectators filtered in to see the alumni volleyball game on Saturday. It’s the young against the old, the naive against the experienced, it’s the alumni game that every volleyball player has been looking forward to the first three weeks of practice.
“The team is a huge step ahead than last year. I personally think that they are better than last year’s group. That is because last year was mostly freshmen, so I definitely think that we are better than last year,” Coach Brent Martindale commented.
The alumni team, dressed in white uniforms, came into that game with a mission. A mission to show all of the new Lady Eagles who are the real dominate players in the game of volleyball. Even though the alumni team had the desire to win, the Lady Eagles had a mission of their own. To seek out and destroy any competition they came across. There was some first-game jitters, they stayed focused and made it apparent that they wanted this win more than their opponents.
“We take the alumni game very serious, because alumni wants to win just as bad as we do. There were also a few fresh players that played for the alumni team that has only been out of the game for the summer, so they were a hard team to play against this year,” Martindale said.
The first game started off even matched, one point after another for each team, but the alumni team showed that experience does make a huge bit of difference when it comes to the success to the team. They were ahead by one point when they called their first time-out to take a breather and to re-stratigize what needed to be done. While the alumni team thought that they had this game in the bag, the Lady Eagles took a little breather to get refocused and remember why they were out on the court.
After the time-out was over, the Lady Eagles started to play a more intense and aggressive game that showed many of their well rounded and improved on skills. Sophomore Jordan Fox, number one, set up many of the winning points that moved the Lady Eagles ahead of the alumni.
Coach Martindale said, “Jordan led the team in kills, along with Emilee Madsen. We have many strengths in all areas of the court, and I think it shows.”
An hour of playing and hard work payed off for the Lady Eagles in the first game, pulling off the win at 30-27. After the first game was won, the women’s faces literally lightened up and it looked as if they started to have a little bit more fun in this next few games than the alumni had anticipated.
Their new life and aggression that started off the second game pulled the Lady Eagles ahead right from the start. The alumni team didn’t have a chance to get the ball to stay over on the Lady Eagles side to score a point, thanks to Jordan Fox, number one, and Amy Fluckiger, number two. These two women were blocking machines in the second game scoring many of the Eagles points.
Experience showed through in the alumni team began to leak out more and more as they began to force the balls over the net and creating more rallies. In between points 26 and 21 in the second game, a great rally formed. This lasted five minutes while both teams were determined to make this point. In a last minute decision, the alumni team stepped up and spiked the ball over the net landing inches from the out of bounced line, giving them a well-deserved point.
When the Lady Eagles realized that the alumni team was beginning to step up in their performance in the second game, they decided that it was time to take them out again as they did in the first game. The Lady Eagles called a time out, took a minute breather, and began to focus to take over this game as they did in the first. Like the first game, they played a close game, but pulling off the second win of the game 30-26.
Coming into the third game, the alumni team began to do what they do best, and that’s play a great game of volleyball. They took the lead early and kept up this lead throughout the third game. This is where the Lady Eagles began to make errors with hitting and setting. It was small errors that allowed the alumni to stay ahead. But, the Lady Eagles didn’t go out without a fight, they played a close game losing by two points in the third game, 28-30.
Game four determined whether or not the Lady Eagles had it in them to step up and capture the win against the alumni. The Lady Eagles took the lead early, fighting for points, and delivering hard, solid shots over the net. They maintained this lead throughout the first of the fourth game, but the alumni wanted the win just as bad as they did.
The alumni team began scoring points and finally pulled ahead of the Lady Eagles. The Lady Eagles put up a good strong fight against the alumni, but again wasn’t able to regain the lead. They rest of the fourth game the alumni team gradually started scoring one point after another. They didn’t let their focus down, and basically thrashed the Lady Eagles, winning by 11 points in the fourth game. The final score in the fourth as 19-30, which made them even at two games to two.
This was it, the fifth game was the one game that stood between victory and losing. With the games being tied at two games to two, both teams looked more determined to win, and had the look of serious concentration across their faces. This was going to finish out the match and neither team wanted to walk away with a loss under their belts.
The fifth started out with a few quick points in the beginning, but the Lady Eagles then captured the lead throughout most of the fifth game. Jordan Fox again started to play a more intense game, literally pounding the balls over the net to score one point after another. It was because of this hard core playing by most of the team in that point of the game is why the Lady Eagles was able to pull the win off at 15 points to 12. This made it so the Eagles won the match three games to two.
They displayed a great deal of sportsmanship when they all shook hands and congratulated each other after the game. The next match that the Lady Eagles will come across is the Salt Lake Tournament to be held on August 28, 29, and 30. This is an extremely hard tournament to play in, because they will have to come across many top 10 and top 20 teams. It is said that this tournament is the toughest tournament in the nation, but the women plan to do the best that they can, and hopefully give them a chance to rank themselves in their very own division, said Martindale.