This archived article was written by: Riley Spears
Looking to get a couple more wins after a successful Santa Anna Tourney in California two weeks ago, the Lady Eagles were ready for conference play to begin. They weren’t ready for two Idaho powerhouses to start a tough region conference from North Idaho and the No. 11- ranked College of Southern Idaho.
“Our pre-season has showed that at times we can be good, and other times we can look horrible. It’s a matter of learning how to win on a regular basis, and it may take a whole season to learn,” says Coach Brent Martindale. “We knew this weekend was going to be tough so we worked hard in practice, and came to the court confident in ourselves.” Captain Kindra Romney says.
The Eagles came out unimpressed with NI and it showed in the first round when they came out point for point with the women from Idaho. The first set ended 30-27 with a NI win, but showed promise that the Eagles had a chance. In the long run the hard-hitting team from Idaho came through, and after that first set it seemed like it really burst the women’s bubble as the CEU women lost the second set 30-20.
After a 10-point deficit, it’s hard to come back and it showed with a final 30-10 set and NI coming away with the sweep. CEU did not play that bad, but in all sports there is quicksand and after that first set loss, they just kept sinking deeper and deeper. “In the end we just made more mistakes than them,” says Romney.
“I feel the team gets along really well. It has also translated to some wins for us. However, one of the players actually made the observation that we may be so close that when one gets down, the rest follow in a sympathetic sort of way. And that may be true. We have discussed this and said we need to compete a little more each other and push each other so we can get better,” Martindale said.
The next day The Eagles hosted CSI from Twin Falls. Soon as the match started, CSI showed why they were ranked nationally. They came out hitting hard and the Eagles had no counter for it and it showed with a first set score of 30-21, The Eagles again played their best volleyball in the first set. In the second set CSI started to step it up and won the set 30-18. The women from Idaho went for the sweep and won the last set 30-18.
This was a tough weekend for the lady Eagles and it showed that this is arguably the toughest conference in the nation, with two teams in the top 20 and one just outside of that.
“I told the girls after the games this weekend that we should hold our heads up for playing some really good volleyball about 40% of the time. We just need to be patient, continue working really hard and learn to win on a regular basis. But we actually played decently against two really good top 20 ranked teams,” says Martindale. “Freshman Courtney Rognan has stepped up and played really well for the injured starter Nicole Norr. She had the best passing percentage in a conference game of any player from CEU in the last 10 years against both NI and CSI.”
“They’re a new team so we don’t know what to expect so we are going to prepare like we would any other team,” says Romney about the upcoming game against Colorado Northwestern. The women will travel to Colorado next weekend in hopes of getting their first conference win in three years.