This archived article was written by: Sam McGinnis
Confidence is low for College of Eastern Utah volleyball players after losses the past two weekends in the Salt Lake City Invitational and against Western Wyoming Community College. All the games were close, but far away, as every error counted for a win or a loss.
Two weeks ago the Lady Eagles competed at “one of the hardest tournaments in the country,” said Coach Brent Martindale, about the Salt Lake Invitational. The women played against seven teams in this tournament, four of which were in the top-seven nationally. Scenic West Athletic Conference team’s Dixie State College, Snow College, and SLCC attended the two-day tournament, and all met the Lady Eagles in the competition.
Many factors contributed to the women losing in this tournament. They had defense problems that definitely showed through the tournament. Hitting was decent, but it was not up the level that the girls would have liked it to be at, Martindale said.
In the games against Dixie, which was CEU’s first series in the tournament, the Lady Eagles basically out-played the Rebels in the first game. The Lady Eagles led 28 to 24, and with a six-point lead the game, felt it was “in the bag.” But, errors got the best of the Eagles, and the Dixie Rebels came up with the win 33-31. The Rebels took the momentum of the first game into the second, beating the Eagles 30-25.
Jordan Fox and Amy Collette led CEU’s attack with five kills each against the Rebels.
With the first-series loss against the Rebels, it made the women lose their confidence throughout the rest of the tournament, Martindale said.
“Against the top teams in the tournament, we played better. We really played at the level of our competition, just one step behind, you know. It was like when we played the top teams, we played excellent, only losing by a few points, but when we played the team in our conference, we went down to their level, and again just one step behind,” Martindale continued.
During the Salt Lake Invitational, the Eagles also met inter-conference rivals Salt Lake Community College and Snow College.
Amy Collette led the Eagles offensive attack against Salt Lake Community College with seven kills. Emily Bowles again contributed greatly, chipping six kills of her own. But, in the end, SLCC came out on top 30-20, 30-20.
CEU found a similar fate against Snow College later in the tournament, falling 30-21, 30-25, and 30-20. Jordan Fox, Sandra Sorenson and Amy Collette all helped the Eagles attack with eight kills apiece.
At the Salt Lake Invitational, CEU also played Lake Land losing 30-23 and 30-16, WNCC losing 30-28 and 30-25, and SMU losing 30-21 and 30-16. Fox and Collette were CEU’s most consistent scorers throughout these games.
When the women returned home to practice after the tournament, they worked mainly on their defensive skills, trying to fix any errors that they had in their game. Their next match had them matched against Western Wyoming Community College.
Coming into that game, the women looked like a new team. The Eagles played an excellent first game and beat WWCC 30-25 . Their athletic ability was much better than WWCC, and “it felt like the team had improved their overall game,” Martindale said.
With WWCC being ranked number-three in their division, the Lady Eagles had to keep their competitive nature alive as they came into the last few games. But, WWCC proved to them that they have really good players, and began to take over the match, one game at a time. The women looked like “another team” after the first game, Martindale added.
Fox stepped up during this game to lead the team with 15 kills and nine blocks. Bowles wasn’t too far behind her with 13 kills and four blocks, and Sorenson with 10 kills and five blocks.
Despite their efforts, the Eagles lost the next three games straight to their out-of-state rivals 30-27, 30-28 and 30-28.
Martindale said, “The only reason why we lost that game was because of hitting errors. The balls were either too long, out, or hit the net. We left that game feeling like we gave the game away to them, rather than going away feeling beat.”
The Lady Eagles next games are at home against Dixie on Friday at 7 p.m. and Snow College on Saturday at 3 p.m. Both games will be played at the BDAC. The women are working hard to improve on their defense and hitting skills. Dixie and Snow are must-win games in order to keep the confidence of the team alive to feel like they can win throughout the rest of the season, Martindale said.