This archived article was written by: Riley Spears
College of Eastern Utah’s women continued their pre-season games against the Utah County All-Stars this past weekend gaining experience and momentum for the upcoming conference games.
Coming out, the women knew it was going to be a tough match which proved to be the case as the match went five games with CEU squeaking out the win.
“We played well in games one and two and luckily, good enough in game five to pull it out at the end,” Coach Brent Martindale said.
Whenever the team needed a score, it seemed like they got it just when it was needed. The women showed a lot of heart this game never giving up and getting the job done when it was needed.
A big contributor to that was top hitter Niki Griffiths with nine kills and only two errors. Sophomore Emily Doxey also had a big game, playing the role of Libero and part-time hitter ending with seven kills and only one error.
“The all-star team we played had some former four-year university players on it and we played tough,” said Martindale. The freshmen stepped up again with Karissa Law contributing with five kills and two blocks. Nicole Norr also had five kills and sophomore Olivia Fowler had six.
The women head to the Santa Ana Invitational in California for a chance to get everything they need to practice on Sept. 15. “Even though we played with a lot of different line-ups, we still need to gain more consistency and toughness through the whole match,” Martindale added.
He likes to play in the Santa Ana Tournament because up to 16 teams play at it. It is one of the biggest pre-season California JC tournaments of the year, he said.
“We are at a shortage of tournaments locally. We went to the SLCC tournament two weeks ago, and we’ve only been invited to a tournament in Arizona and Washington. We try to alternate locations each season.
It is to our advantage to see as many different types of teams as possible in the pre-season. Out-of-state tournaments have been the most successful matches we play in. Our out-of-conference winning percentage is probably .650, and that is because the teams in our conference are so loaded with money and talent, they (SLCC, NIC, CSI) are ranked in the top 10 in the nation each season.
We will play probably a total of six matches at the tournament. We also play a non-conference match against another Southern California School on Thursday night that is not a part of the tournament, just to get more games in,” Martindale added.